Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Little Women

As a child, our family would travel the two and a half hours to Burley to visit Granny and Papa, my paternal grandparents, on a regular basis. Their place felt as much like home to me as my parents’ home in Boise. I didn’t have any cousins my age, so I spent my time just hanging out with Granny, going on Papa’s gas route with him, or spending time on my own. With time on my hands, I spent most of it doing one of my favorite things, reading. Granny had a large collection of books as reading was one of her life-long passions.

I still remember finding Little Women on the shelf at Granny’s house. I devoured it in a weekend, stopping only for meals. I fell in love with Laurie, idolized Jo, and cried for Beth. Like most of my favorite books, I hated that it had to end. Granny didn’t have any of the sequels, so it was years before I even knew they existed.

Fast forward twenty years. In my early 30’s, I had to travel quite a bit for my job. The biggest perk was that I got all the sky miles and my manager let me have Fridays off on occasion because I had to travel on most Sunday evenings. With a built in three-day weekend, I flew to places other than home on some of the weekends using my free tickets purchased only with the sky miles. I got to go see Ann while she was working in Washington DC and I got to go with my friend Camille to visit our old roommate and friend Catherine in Boston. We had a great adventure there, but my favorite part of the trip was going to Concord. We saw Walden Pond and the home of Henry David Thoreau, but the best part was going to Orchard House, the home of Louisa May Alcott when she wrote Little Women. The setting was beautiful and I felt like I knew Miss Alcott even better after that lovely visit.

Last week, I watched a PBS program on Louisa May Alcott. I was surprised to find out that she sold more books and earned much more money in her lifetime than both Henry James and Herman Melville combined. She did quite a good job of turning her talent into gold for her family, which was a good thing since her father had never done well at providing for the family. I enjoyed hearing about her clever wit and abundant personality. It made me like her even more.


LizzyP said...

She is a great example of industry. I haven't been to Orchard house and I think I need to fit in Little Women again before I do.

Anonymous said...

There is a bio out by the same folks who did the PBS bio. I think the author's name is Rieser or Riesen. The book is "Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women." Very, very good and a great companion to the bio. I would love to see Orchard House, too!