I hope everyone is doing well and has plenty to read. I really miss Mondays at the library when our new books would be delivered. It was like a little bit of Christmas as the box was opened and the new books unwrapped.
Having finished my stack of library books, I thought I’d revisit one of my favorite “comfort” books.
The book I have in mind is Onions in the Stew by Betty MacDonald, published in the 1950’s. (A short excerpt below). It’s a nonfiction memoir of life on Vashon Island in Puget Sound off Seattle in the 1940’s. Ms. MacDonald lived there with her husband and two teenage daughters.
One of the main characters is the island itself. There are detailed descriptions of the lush vegetation, the weather (good and bad),and the challenges of living on an island, such as depending on the ferry to get to the mainland.
Other difficulties were the constant hunt for firewood, guests who stayed forever, an over-amorous dinner guest, and two girls entering their teens. Despite all of this, Ms. MacDonald retains an unfailing sense of humor.
The author had also written children’s books, the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series. These were some of my favorites growing up—and even now.
So if you’d like a break from fiction, give this book a try. Our library does have it.
Stay sane and look forward to better time soon!
Excerpt from “Onions in the Stew” by Betty McDonald:
We looked at houses at the bottom of cliffs. We looked at crumbling houses furnished in sagging wicker and discarded pottery. We discovered that beach houses, no matter how attractive they are on the outside, are usually the catch-alls for things not quite up to snuff or down to St. Vincent de Paul. With unrelieved regularity we saw lamp shades of pleated black chiffon over pink, black iron spears supporting faded brocade draperies, mahjong sets, large wicker trays with tassels, framed Maxfield Parrishes, frayed faded American oriental rugs, bulging Morris chairs, mostly with broken back controls, and wine jugs made into lamps. To say nothing of the entire sets of clear green glass dishes—the plates divided into stalls to keep three items of food from touching—the wooden candelabra with imitation gold wax dripped down the sides and the bunches and bunches of gilded cattails mixed with magenta everlasting flowers. Don and I got so that we could tell by the kind of fern in the abalone-shell hanging basket whether the rugs would be ragged Wilton or faded oriental.