Thursday, August 19, 2010

DeeDee of Green Gables

One of the seminal books of my youth was Anne of Green Gables-- the story of an orphan who is sent to live with an elderly aunt on Prince Edward Island.  I read it avidly and gobbled up the forthcoming sequels-- Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, etc.  It was after reading Little Women and the  Little House on the Prairie series, but just as influential. I must have been nine or ten, cause it was way before we moved to Cuba when I was 12, where I discovered the salacious passages in Frank Yerby and Thomas B. Costain at the library of the American Club in Nicaro.

But Anne was my heroine in a more innocent period. She was a great role model-- spunky, adventurous and willing to confront the staid society of the conservative farming community.  I didn't read Pippi Longstocking until I read it to my kids in the 1970s, but Pippi was a similar girl with chutzpah.

This house, owned by author Lucy Maud Montgomery's cousins, was the inspiration for the setting of the story.

This month I visited PEI where the Anne industry is in full tilt. In fact the whole island is almost a theme park.

There were lots of Japanese tourists there. Anne is one of the most popular books in Japan and couples come from Tokyo to have their weddings where Gilbert and Anne got hitched.

Visiting the museum, I was struck by how similar the rooms and furnishing were to my own taste! Certainly my house in Willow looks more like the rooms in Green Gables  than it does my own parent's environment of 40s-50s high moderne style.

The hooked rugs and embroidered sheets are things I always look for at yard sales...


Even the geraniums in the window are just like what I now have on Claremont Avenue. Even the same shades of red and pink.

The kitchen looks a lot like the kitchen in Willow-- even a wood cookstove.

The 19th century genre print on the wall is exactly like two that I have in Willow. Likewise the simple still life and antique electric chime clock.  My great grandmother was the source of my electric chime clock. To her it was the height of up-to-date fashion, to have an ELECTRIC clock.  My mother kept it in a closet because she found it too old fashioned.


Anne's handmade quilt is similar to the ones I have in the bedrooms in Willow, and this spindle bed is like the one I bought at a yard sale and has been Molly's bed for 28 years.

All these furnishings, the spindle bed, the quilts, the corny genre prints, the hooked rugs and embroidered sheets were things my mother absolutely HATED. To her they were backward, uncouth, pathetic. She especially hated geraniums. Her house plants were Ficus and African Violets.

I guess she never read Anne of Green Gables.

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Anonymous Amina said...

lovely! we have similar taste... I will have to come for a visit!

5:47 AM  

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