Sparkling Vintage Fiction. Among other things.

A tribute to Tasha Tudor, and a challenge to myself

tasha tudorI’ve always been intrigued by the late Tasha Tudor. While raising a family and pursuing a successful career as an illustrator, this remarkable woman somehow managed to arrange her life as if she were living in the 1830s. Here’s how her children describe her life:

“Her Vermont home, though only 30 years old, feels as though it was built in the 1830’s, her favorite time period. Seth Tudor, one of Tasha’s four children, built her home using hand tools when Tasha moved to Vermont in the 1970’s. Tasha Tudor lived among period antiques, using them in her daily life.  She was quite adept at ‘Heirloom Crafts’, though she detested the term, including candle dipping, weaving, soap making, doll making and knitting. She lived without running water until her youngest child was five years old.

“From a young age Tasha Tudor was interested in the home arts. She excelled in cooking, canning, cheese-making, ice cream making and many other home skills. As anyone who has eaten at Tasha Tudor’s would know, her cooking skills were unsurpassed. She collected eggs from her chickens in the evenings, cooked and baked with fresh goats milk, and used only fresh or dried herbs from her garden. Tasha Tudor was renowned for her Afternoon Tea parties.”

Now, just to clarify, I’m no Tasha Tudor.  I appreciate modern conveniences including, but certainly not limited to, indoor plumbing, antibiotics, and the Internet. And my favorite time period skews less toward the 1830s and more toward the 1930s. Still, I admire Tasha Tudor’s willingness to “buck the system” and create a life that celebrated the values that she cherished most, no matter what others may have thought.

We don’t always have control over the circumstances and the people God places in our lives. Even so, each of us makes innumerable tiny choices every day that affect our quality of life. If you are drawn to elements of the past, why not incorporate them into your busy modern life?

That’s what “A Sparkling Vintage Life” is all about. I’m writing it to encourage myself, as well as you, to live a Sparkling Vintage Life . . . to design our lives on our own terms, insofar as it is in our power to do so. If you love vintage clothing, wear vintage clothing. If an entire outfit of vintage looks too theatrical, then pin an antique brooch to your business suit, or sling a lacy scarf over your no-nonsense winter coat. Pass up the chipped, stained, trade-show-freebie mug and pour your morning coffee into a pretty porcelain cup. Choose to surprise and delight a friend with a chatty handwritten letter, stamped and mailed, instead of an e-mail.

See what I mean?

I’m not just talking about material objects, either. A Sparkling Vintage Life includes practicing good old-fashioned manners and habits. Like gathering the family around the dinner table, instead of grabbing fast food before everyone heads off in a different direction.   Taking time to help a neighbor. Reading to a child instead of handing him the TV remote. Growing your own vegetable patch, or supporting local farmers, instead of settling for the anemic produce available at the supermarket. Developing old-fashioned skills of self-reliance: cooking, baking, canning, gardening, sewing, carpentry, just because they’re interesting and you never know when they might come in handy.

In other words, a Sparkling Vintage Life means not settling for mundane modern mediocrity, if your heart is yearning for something different. That’s what a Sparkling Vintage Life is all about. Won’t you join me?

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