I knew an elderly widow lady when I was growing up, and she borrowed just about all of my L.M. Montgomery books. I would bring one or more to church and give them to her. After she was done reading them, she gave them back with her initials, “LC” written lightly in pencil, in the back cover of the books.
She had snow white hair, the picture-perfect little old lady, and lived all alone in a big, quiet farmhouse, using just a few of the rooms.
Can you imagine her quietly reading? Maybe sitting in a “dressed” heavy rocking chair, the kind that has a thick afghan over the back, and a nice comfortable cushion in the seat? Or maybe it was a recliner by a sunny window, or the kitchen table, or her bed. Wherever the place, she did read them, and sat alone in her house, passing the hours away with some of the best fiction books anyone could enjoy. . . .
You are never too old for Anne, or any other of L.M. Montgomery’s girls.
I found my first Montgomery book in the library. It was Anne of Avonlea, and once I read it, I was hooked for life. It became one of my childhood and teenager-hood passions~getting my hands on every L.M.Montgomery book I could find. The more famous ones were easy, but it took years to collect them all.
Anne’s House of Dreams has some wavy yellow pages from me dropping it into a bowl of chicken noodle soup.
It was always a thrill to meet a kindred spirit. My High School English teacher turned out to be one. She got excited one day when she saw me reading A Tangled Web, and asked to borrow it. I had found another Montgomery fan! Now that I’m older, I realize that I am by no means unusual in my interest, there are thousands and thousands of devoted fans. Are you one?
My latest purchase has been the Norton Critical Edition of Anne of Green Gables, and a used copy of one of Montgomery’s journals, which covers the years in which Anne was first published.
In it I found this wonderful quote:
“When I am asked if Anne herself is a ‘real person’ I always answer ‘no’ with an odd reluctance and an uncomfortable feeling of not telling the truth. For she is and always has been, from the moment I first thought of her, so real to me that I feel I am doing violence to something when I deny her an existence anywhere save in Dreamland. Does she not stand at my elbow even now–if I turned my head quickly should I not see her–with her eager, starry eyes and her long braids of red hair and her little pointed chin? To tell that haunting elf that she is not real, because, forsooth, I never met her in the flesh! No, I cannot do it! She is so real that, although I’ve never met her, I feel quite sure I shall do so someday–perhaps in a stroll through Lover’s Lane in the twilight–or in the moonlit Birch Path–I shall lift my eyes and find her, child or maiden, by my side. I shall not be in the least surprised because I have always known she was somewhere.” ~from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s journal
The story of that little old lady does stop there. . . . .When I was a teenager, I went to her house one day to help her clean. The upstairs was full of boxes and old things. In one of the first boxes of books we opened, there on the top of them all, was an old 1911 edition of Anne of Green Gables. I gasped, snatched it from the box, and hugged it to my chest. (or, bosom, as Anne would say) I could not believe my eyes!
She gave me the book, and it remains one of my prized possessions. It’s ironic that I don’t even know where it is right now. I just tore my room apart, looking for it. I think that I was so afraid of something happening to it that I packed it away. Yes, it will bug me to no end until I find it. When I do, I’ll be sure to take some pictures.
L.M. Montgomery’s books are all perfectly delightful, full of the beautiful (and not so beautiful) parts of life that we all enjoy~God’s creation, relationships (who can forget Mrs. Lynde, Marilla and Matthew, or Diana Barry?), great humor, food, kitty-cats, quiet moments, childhood mischief, love, community spirit, and the fascinating times of a bygone era.
I’ll be revisiting them all again this summer.
; (some for probably the 20th time!) It will be good for me, like visiting an old tried and truly trusted old friend~or cuddling in a favorite blanket with a mug of steaming tea. Calmness for my mind.
They are the ideal books to take with you to your hammock under the trees . . . .
And, if you have a Grandma who loves to read, I would suggest giving her one (or more) as a gift!