My first recollection of Tasha Tudor was from 4th grade reading hour. My teacher, bless her heart, took time each day to read a book aloud to us. One of the books she read was A Secret Garden which was illustrated by artist Tasha Tudor. My life was changed forever!
I remember that I loved the illustrations, and many years later when I had children, I read this same book to them during our evening reading time. I was fascinated by Tasha, who I heard led an idyllic life, living her life like she was in the 1830’s, gardening in her vintage Vermont home, surrounded by her herd of corgis. I felt a kinship with her because I, too, always felt that I was living in the wrong century.
One day during a family outing to Deep River, Connecticut, a few towns away from where I lived at the time, we were rummaging through the shops. We happened upon a small bookstore which seemed to have only the best hand-picked titles. A book caught my eye called Drawn From New England by Bethany Tudor. I had to buy the book, which was written by one of Tasha’s daughters. What a treasure! It chronicled their lives through family photos. I reread this book many times, thinking about how Tasha lived only a few hours from where I lived, somewhere tucked away from civilization.
A year or so later I was visiting one of my favorite haunts, an 1830’s replica town called Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. There I could go back in time to a place that felt familiar to me. This day I saw 2 women walking on the center commons who were dressed in the garb of the era. At first I thought that they were docents. Then I looked again and decided that one of them was Tasha. But I was not sure of it. I could not let this opportunity go by. It took a lot of courage for me as I approached the ladies.
I was not quite sure what to say, so I said, You look a lot like Tasha Tudor.
To which the woman said, People are always telling me so.
Well, I felt embarrassed at what I perceived was my obvious mistake and told her that I was sorry.
At that point the other woman said to her, Fess up now.
Well you could have knocked me over with a feather! Now I felt even more embarrassed that I had missed out on her dry humor!
Tasha was gracious and we exchanged some conversation. But how I wished that it could have played out differently, as I surely did not have anything useful to say. That one in a million chance happened to me, but I was in another dimension altogether in the presence of this mischievous goddess! I wanted to tell her all about how she inspired me and how akin I felt to her. So my glorious moment left me feeling wanting.
Several years ago Tasha finally passed on. She is quoted as saying that she was not afraid of death, and that she thought that it was quite exciting. And that when she died she would go right back to the 1830’s.
Yes— you DO look a lot like her!