Welcome to Week Four of A Vintage Kidlit Summer, hosted by me and Anna Rose Johnson! For more info, including recommendations for each week's theme, see this previous post.
This week's theme was a Book in a Series, which pretty much left me…staring at all my favorite vintage books. :) But I chose one that I remember loving as a child and yet somehow which I'd completely forgotten all the details about by the time I reached adulthood: Friendly Gables, by Hilda Van Stockum.
Friendly Gables is the third book in The Mitchells series—one thing I loved as a kid was watching the family grow from five children, to six children, to eight in this final installment. As you may know, I have eight children myself, so reading this book felt like holding a mirror up to my life.
Friendly Gables is a perfect little family story (or, little big family story), taking place over Mrs. Mitchell's three weeks postpartum after the birth of twins. SO MUCH in this story reminded me of my life, that it often seemed uncanny. Reading now, I remember vividly my impression of Mrs. Mitchell… I remember thinking, "Wow, she is such a great mother. Someday I am going to be a mother like that." I wish I could say I have succeeded! I am afraid that on my bad days I look more like the villain of the story, stuffy nurse Mrs. Thorne, with her constant heckling about keeping the house tidy and looking out for one another. Still… it's good to have a model to look up to, no? Maybe someday…someday I can be as good a mother as Mrs. Mitchell is! I wish Hilda Van Stockum was still alive so I could find out if her perfection was inspired by reality or by wishful thinking!
Another high point of the story was the way the Mitchells' Catholic faith is an everyday part of their life—more so than in the first book of the series, probably because this (and the middle book) takes place in Canada, where Catholicism was more strongly a part of communal life as well as personal life. A line at the end choked me up: "The guests were all grouped around as Monsieur le Curé poured water on the two little heads and solemnly baptized them James Michael and John William. Mother had tears in her eyes. It was part of the joy of giving birth, to bring her babies back to God afterward. Daddy shared her feelings. He had put his arm through hers and she leaned against him." Such a perfect snapshot of a moment and feeling I know so well...
Hi! I'm Faith. I blog about books and creativity, family and faith. Welcome!