Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tanya Writes About Concord Where She Lived and Died
Louisa May Alcott.
The Christmas I was eight years old, I received a life-changing book. No, not some Dummy how-to or Chicken Soup. Little Women.
Thank God there were two sequels so I didn't have to say good-bye. Little Men and Joy's Boys. And she penned other favorites like Jack and Jill, Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom.
When Ned died in Jack and Jill, I sobbed my brains out. Still tightens my chest when I recall that scene.
But it was meeting Jo that let me know I wanted to be a writer. Amy burning Jo's handwritten manuscript in a fit of rage was a true tragedy. Especially in those days with no hard drive, flash drive, e-mail storage or writable CD's.
(Okay, Tanya. It was just a story. But it was based on real events of Louisa's life.)
So visiting Orchard House in Concord and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and (wait for it) Walden Pond were so on our list of things to do a year ago. Louisa was a teen when Henry David spend his landmark 22 months at the pond. They all hung out with Emerson and Hawthorne. Gosh, I'd have loved to have been a fly on a wall of the old Manse.
Or better yet, a real life person hanging out with that group.
So Louisa inspired me, still does. Thoreau taught me not to get to the end of my life and not have lived. Emerson reminded me to be selfish when the muse hits. (Although my sweet hero doesn't get that LOL.) Hawthorne, dang, he was nothing but a 19th century X-File writer.
And it was memories of that perfect autumn day at Henry David's leftover homestead that brought me through that darkest hour during my hero's ordeal. When the chemo almost killed him and he lay in an ER bed, gray and drawn and I thought he had died.
Concord rocks for another grand reason. On the rude bridge that arched the flood...was fired the shot heard 'round the world. Thank you, Ralph Waldo.
I got to say my own good-bye to all of them at Authors Ridge.
I've got some books to re-read. (Yes, I did buy another copy if Little Women at the Orchard House bookstore...as well as a LMA pen and ruler! It was a gift set.)
What a time it was. A time blazed in my memory. My heart.
Hopefully, my words.