October 11, 2014

Tasha Tudor and Old School House Remembrances!

Old Sturbridge Village School Attended by Izannah and Hitty!
Emma and her doll "Little Dear One" are seated on a bench in the district school at Old Sturbridge Village.
Emma and "Little Dear One" are Izannah Walker inspired dolls.

As we continue "Hitty's Journey and Adventures at Old Sturbridge Village", we go to the old district school.

My daughter Sarah was the model for the illustrations of the little girl Kathy in "The Real Pretend" written by Joan Donaldson and illustrated by Tasha Tudor.

Hitty and Ima are sitting in front of the book "The Real Pretend". In the painting of the old school room the children are sitting at the desks and benches with their slates, there is a portrait of George Washington on the wall, a blackboard, and a stove. The schoolmistress looks to be discussing lessons with the older children, as the boy in the back is standing and has his hand raised. Sarah is the little girl wearing the dark blue frock and white pinafore in the front row of the desks on the right. The schoolroom reminds us of the old school at Old Sturbridge Village.

Hitty stands in the doorway of the school.

Ima and Hitty attend school.
Hitty is thrilled to have her friends Ima, Emma, and "Little  Dear One" attend school with her!

Ima and Hitty were made by talented dollcarver Judy Brown. Hitty's frock and pinafore were made by Gail Wilson. Ima's outfit was made by Tillie Tinkham.

Emma brought her tin lunch pail from home.
Emma and her lovely clothing were made by talented dollmaker Margaret Flavin.

"Little Dear One"

Ima and Hitty

The schoolmistress hangs her bonnet over her desk.
Tillie Tinkham, the seamstress mouse at Corgyncombe, makes lovely little hats and bonnets for Hittys in her shoppe "Tillie Tinkham's Frocks & Fashions" with Millinery and Tea Room.

Approaching the old school house at Old Sturbridge Village.

Walking to and from school one can see little lambs at pasture with their Mamas!

Emma sits down beside the wheelbarrow and the "Little Dear One" looks from inside the wheelbarrow.
Emma is hugging the little lamb!
Beside Emma is her tin lunch pail.

"Little Dear One" looks absolutely delighted with the little lamb!
"Little Dear One" gives the lamb a hug! Awww!!!

Diane hugging a sweet little lamb!
I truly like the smell of the unwashed fleece. I love spinning wool in the grease. Spinning in the grease is not for everyone but I do not mind the smell of the fleece, in fact I find the smell comforting as it reminds me of when I was a little girl going into the old barn with the beautiful stone foundation and seeing all the lambs with their mamas.

How I just loved the little lambs!

I have loved old fashioned things since I was a little girl, even before I discovered Tasha Tudor!
The first Tasha Tudor illustrations I saw was when I was a child after the above photograph was taken and the illustrations were in "Childcraft Poems of Early Childhood". In the poem "Mary's Lamb" Tasha illustrated an old fashioned schoolhouse with the children working on their slates at their desks when Mary's little lamb appears and tries to enter the schoolhouse. Tasha's illustration also shows the old schoolhouse with the lovely rolling hills in the background. I have always and forever loved rolling hills! The last illustration shows Mary tenderly giving her lamb a hug!

The photograph of me hugging the lamb reminds us of Tasha Tudor's Mary hugging her lamb and of other Tasha Tudor illustrations, as well!
What Tasha has drawn in her illustrations are the same old ways that I grew up with. I find them familiar, comforting, and I am drawn to them.

Some of the photographs and some of the writings on this post are from previous Corgyncombe Courant posts that can be found here on the Corgyncombe Courant and from our previous writings elsewhere on the internet.

The "Childcraft Poems of Early Childhood" book with Tasha Tudor's illustration of Mary's Lamb on display on the art stand. In the illustration, Mary is hugging the little lamb. The art stand made by Seth Tudor is a replica of the art stand that Tasha Tudor had. Underneath are some old cloth covered school books, a slate and slate pencil.

From "Mary's Lamb"
by Sarah Josepha Hale:

"And then he ran to her and laid
His head upon her arm,
As if he said, "I'm not afraid-
You'll keep me from all harm."

"What makes the lamb love Mary so?"
The eager children cry.
"Oh, Mary loves the lamb, you know,"
The teacher did reply.

And you each gentle animal
In confidence may bind,
And make them follow at your call
If you are always kind."

~ Sarah Josepha Hale

The box above features a Tasha Tudor print on the lid. The print is from the book "The Real Pretend", written by Joan Donaldson and illustrated by Tasha Tudor. Tasha's borders are always so wonderful and such a treat to look over again and again. The border of this illustration contains autumnal foliage, school items, and a little red squirrel up top. Sarah was Tasha's model for the illustrations of Kathy in "The Real Pretend". Sarah is seated on the front bench, third from the right, the little girl with the corgi red braids done up, wearing a dark blue frock. Within the box are some of the letters that Tasha Tudor sent to us.

In one of her letters, Tasha wrote: "The illustrations are coming so well for 'The Real Pretend' thanks to having so charming a model. So Sarah, you are with me all the hours that I paint and I find you the very best companion."

Hitty and Ima look like they are attending class along with the children in the painting in "The Real Pretend". In the illustration Sarah and another girl look like they are sharing some amusing secret as Sarah is drawing on her slate! The slate that the little boy is holding up looks as if it could have a drawing of a kitten. This is interesting because I gave Tasha a photograph of Sarah drawing her kitten on a blackboard.

Sarah sitting on a stile writing on her slate.
Her tin lunch pail is beside her.


At Old Sturbridge Village School Hitty finds quills to write with!
In the book "Hitty, Her First Hundred Years" by Rachel Field, Hitty uses a quill to write her memoirs. At Corgyncombe, Hitty writes with Phidelia Finch's very small quills.

 My father's Uncle Ford when he was a little boy.
Does he not look sweet in his fancy clothes and curls?

My father's dear Uncle Ford, with my brother, in front of the one room schoolhouse that he called home. The tar paper along the bottom of the schoolhouse was to help keep out drafts.
When Uncle Ford and my Grandfather were children they lived near the school house and attended. Their family kept sheep as I am from a long line of Shepherds/Shepards.

Uncle Ford was very eccentric, as the Shepard's were known to be.
My Mum, when she would become particularly vexed with me as a child, would say "You're ALL Shepard!"
 I would say "I know it!"

Uncle Ford lived in a one room schoolhouse, well actually he lived in the small front room of the schoolhouse, the area where the children would have hung their coats. The actual schoolroom part was his storage area.
In the small area that he lived in he had a bed, an old desk, a wood stove, a table covered with oil cloth, and a couple chairs. He always lived with no electric, no plumbing, and no modern conveniences. Instead of a modern bathroom, he had an outhouse. He was a hunter, trapper, fisherman, and he kept bees.

A report in the newspaper about my father's Uncle Ford said that he "recently had a large swarm of bees light in the top of a tall elm tree, out of reach of a ladder. He took his rifle and cut the limb off with three shots. Limb and bees dropped to the ground. He then proceeded to hive them and they proved a fine swarm."

Often my father would take us children to visit Uncle Ford and we would bring him vegetables from our garden.

In the Corgyncombe Library is the desk that Uncle Ford had in the small room of the schoolhouse that he lived in. It is an old family desk, handed down in my Jones family who were from Connecticut and Vermont.

Whenever we visited Uncle Ford he would always go to his old desk to get peppermint candy for my brother and me. For Christmas Uncle Ford was very kind and always gave us each five dollars and a jar of honey.
The old wooden box below the desk was Uncle Ford's too and held what was referred to in the family as the "honey kit".

Above the desk are Sarah's frock, pinafore, hat, and shoes that she wore in my photograph that Tasha Tudor drew from when she painted the Sarah card. The distaff is dressed for spinning flax.

Emma and The Little Dolls
 of Pumpkin House.
A couple of their favorite books are "Hitty, Her First Hundred Years" by Rachel Field and "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott.
My 5th great grandfather Eliakim May was 1st cousin to Louisa May Alcott's great grandfather Samuel May.

After school, on their way home the girls meet at a favorite spot. They talk about their favorite books, bonnets, fashions, and lambs.

When I was a child I met my girlfriend after school. We would both fix a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich then ride our bikes to a special place in the journey between our houses and meet on a rock to discuss secrets of the day!

Sarah walking home from school.

 We were delighted to see warm plaids added to the autumnal, cold-weather-coming display in the Asa Knight Store at Old Sturbridge Village! Hitty says "Ima's Princess cousins love plaids!"

  Tasha Tudor also illustrated several school scenes in "Around the Year", readying for school in "First Delights", and walking to school picking pussy willows in the poem "Pussy Willow" in "First Poems of Childhood".

Be sure to check in again as the series of
"Hitty's Journey and Adventures
at Old Sturbridge Village"
will continue with more posts to come at the
Corgyncombe Courant!!!

Here are links to our previous posts:

Hitty Visits Old Sturbridge Village, Freeman Farm!

At Old Sturbridge Village Hitty Finds George Washington!

Here is a link to:
Old Sturbridge Village

Here is a link to:

copyright © 2014 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson


peggy flavin said...

I loved this post, Diane! So beautiful as always, with wonderful stories and information . I especially love Uncle Ford! How great that you knew him. He lived a very interesting and good life I think. I am very interested in genealogy and also the way people lived their lives. So full and rich! Thank you again for this post!
Peggy Flavin

Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson said...

Dear Peggy,

Thank you so much, Peggy! We are so glad that you enjoyed the post! I do feel so blessed to have known my Uncle Ford! I was so grateful to have inherited Ford's old desk that I have memories of from when visiting him. It was so interesting sitting in the old schoolhouse, listening to him!

Emma just loves old schoolhouses, too and had a delightful time!

Your friends,
Diane and daughter Sarah, and Emma and Tillie Tinkham the seamstress mouse at Corgyncombe

The BUTT'RY and BOOK'RY said...

Hello to all the Dolls of Corgyncomb and Diane nd Sarah :-)
Such a lovely post with such nice tales of your Uncle Ford.
I enjoyed every detail and all the images fell together to make such a nice story.
Many Blessings and warmth Linnie

Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson said...

Thanks Linnie, Uncle Ford was from Old New England Yankee stock and very unique and interesting! We are drawn to many of Uncle Ford's old ways, which I feel privileged to have shared with him as I did with Tasha Tudor!

Take care,
Diane and daughter Sarah, and the dolls and Tillie Tinkham the seamstress mouse at Corgyncombe

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