Monday, April 6, 2020

Book Review: Stillmeadow Daybook by Gladys Taber

Stillmeadow Daybook
Author:  Gladys Taber
Publisher:  J. P. Lippincott (1955)
274 pages
Genre:  Non-fiction, memoir

"Early morning is like a pink pearl now that April's here.  The first lilacs are budding over the white picket fence in the Quiet Garden; crocus, daffodils, white and purple grape hyacinths repeat the magic of spring.  Surely never was spring so wonderful, such a miracle!"

Stillmeadow Daybook takes us month by month through a year of living at Stillmeadow.  Located on forty acres in the countryside of Connecticut, it served as an escape from the city for Mrs. Taber and her family as well as the family of her good friend Jill.  Now it is home to Gladys and Jill, as they are both widows with grown children.  They spend their days keeping their home, gardening, raising and showing Cocker Spaniels, cooking, visiting with friends and family and enjoying the beauty that surrounds them. 

"And when we lost our husbands, the farm was a refuge and a haven, something to hold fast to.  And something we had to work for, which was a blessing.  By then we were raising all our vegetables, and we had thirty-six cockers.  We were raising puppies, doing a little showing, and were really very busy.  After all, I reflected, Stillmeadow isn't a house and land, it is a way of living."

Each chapter is a month which reads like a letter from an old friend.  This book begins in April and ends in March.  I began the book in September and my intention was to read a chapter per month.  I didn't do it perfectly, but stayed pretty close to the month we were in.  As I have mentioned before, I love details of daily life included in stories.  Well, this is an entire book of the details of daily life!  So, you won't be surprised to find that the Stillmeadow books are some of my favorites.  I have learned much about running my own home, gleaned ideas for meals and laughed out loud as I read about life at Stillmeadow. 

Gladys Taber lived with her husband and daughter in an apartment in New York.  Her husband was a teacher and she was working at Columbia, hoping to get a degree.  Mrs. Taber wrote stories and articles for Redbook, The Saturday Evening Post and Ladies Home Journal.  She wrote several books, many with Stillmeadow in the title.

If you enjoy the details of daily life in writing, are interested in country life or life in the 1950's in Connecticut, I recommend this book or any in the Stillmeadow series. 

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