Thursday, July 03, 2008

What does it take to be a heroine?

Definition heroine:
1 a: a mythological or legendary woman having the qualities of a hero b: a woman admired and emulated for her achievements and qualities
2 a: the principal female character in a literary or dramatic work b: the central female figure in an event or period

I have thought about the idea of who I consider to be heroines to me following the sad news of the death of Tasha Tudor on June 18 of this year at the age of 92. What a special woman she was! I went to the family's online register as I wanted to add my condolenses. It was time to put into words what she meant to me in my heart. I wanted to express how her lifestyle gave me a peace that will always stay with me.

She was a soul who walked life to her own pace. She followed her heart in making the old ways all new again.

Her stories and illustrations are now an everlasting testimony of her life left here with generations to come.

The loss of this gentle soul is a loss for all of us!

I then started thinking about other woman who I think of as heroines and why...

There is the amazing Edith Holden who wrote The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. I admire her keen observation of the natural countryside around her. She not only recorded things in words but also in her beautiful drawings.

Who are some of my literary heroines? Well, first would be the Bronte Sisters. I find them so definition intriging. Their life on the Yorkshire Moors seeped into their very beings to influence them in their writing.

I not only love the intense novels they left for us but also learning about their lives in Haworth. There is something so magical about Haworth which draws me back there over and over. I never tire of visiting the steep street of this little Yorkshire village or going through the rooms of the Parsonage which seem filled with the sisters' spirits.

Then there is Jane Austen who comical whit and romance cannot help but inspire. We can all identify with Elizabeth Bennett, Emma, Anne Elliot or Eleanor. There is perhaps a little of them in each woman...

Beatrix Potter is someone who you seem to admire the more you learn about her. She was a complex woman far beyond her time and yet very much of her time.

As a child, you cannot help but be amused by her stories and illustrations but viewing her as an adult you discover a woman who strived to conserve the beauty of the countryside of her beloved Lake District.

She passed away, like most of these women, doing what she was destined to do in life and leaving a legacy behind.

Now when I started thinking about this post, I decided that I had to include one fictional heroine who I think is very real to many of us. Who else but Mary Poppins...practically perfect in every way!

What little girl did not want to be that wonderful nanny who flies through the sky with her talking umbrella, can sit on a cloud, jumps into an animated picture or goes up the chimney to 'step in time' with the chimney sweeps.

She taught us that a spoonful of sugar is good for anything!

And finally, a modern heroine for me is Susan Branch.

I discovered her when she brought out her first cookbook and will never forget sitting on my sister's couch reading each and every word out loud to her.

Since then she has branched out to have shops and design quilt fabrics. I love her sense of vintage style mixed with homespun charms. If you are not familiar with her, you can check out her website here.

I can think of more woman that are heroines but this is already a very long post. If you hang around a while, you can hear many of the Mary Poppins tunes. Do you have any woman who you admire who have influenced you in your thinking and lifestyle?


Nancy said...

Wow, you are a very DEEP girl to think of all that. I think my main herione would have to be my Mother. She taught me so much and I very much admired her. Wish I had her back to say so much more to her.
Love you, Mom

Nancy said...

Ok, I love the music AND, you are practically perfect in everyway.
I forgot to say that on my comment.
Hugs and Kisses, Mom

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Wonderful choices! We shall all miss Tasha!

Mary said...

I have to agree with your choice of heroines Heidi - they were all wonderful women who were so creative and talented, each one in her own way.

Lovely post, great words and pictures - thank you for taking the time to share all this with us, I can tell you put a lot of time and love into it.

Hope life is good - do you miss being here for Independence Day celebrations? Ours will be quiet, grill some veggie burgers, toast with a good bottle of wine, and perhaps watch the fireworks in the evening - to celebrate Bob's Birthday the following day, ha! ha!

Enjoy your weekend Heidi.

BittersweetPunkin said...

I adore Mary Poppins...I was unable to find anything on Tasha Tudor at the library.....I even looked in the Children's section...maybe they are all just checked out right now!
Have a great day!

Carolien said...

Lovely post, Heidi! Maybe I will come with my heroines after the vacation, it's a nice idea. I will also read more about your ladies later.

Good night! Hugs, Carolien

the homely year said...

Hello Heidi, you've chosen some very special women to admire. I read a biography of Elizabeth Fry, the prison reformer, that has always stuck in my mind. Love MAry Poppins too of course.
Margaret and Noreen

Deborah said...

A wonderful post, Heidi! I am in agreement about your choices. Many of them I cannot get enough of. Each, so inspiring in her own way.


Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

Oh Heidi, this post is so thought provoking. You so beautifully arranged your thoughts and feelings and I enjoyed reading of each woman. I will have to read up more on Tasha Tudor as I don't really know much about her. Susan Branch lives about 4 hours south of my town and I hear she has a wonderful shop there as well as a lovely California home. Aren't her cookbooks delightful?

Oh and Ms. her, love her, love her! She is by far the sweetest of all. Wouldn't you have loved to have been able to be a fly on the wall or, better yet, be invited over to her home for tea and conversation into what her next sketch or book would have been about? What FUN that would have been. Love the latest movie on her as well.

love you,

Anonymous said...

Great choices, Heidi! We shall all miss Tasha Tudor ... she was a very special woman.

ps - come visit me at my new blog!

carolr said...

Heidi, You're a good thinker!( I say that to sertain kids in my class when they share something thoughtful). I agree with your choices. Very much.
Have a really nice day today.
Carol :)

carolr said...

Oops. Typing error! Certain!!

suzann said...

what a wonderful thought provoking post. You've really got me thinking. I've never thought about who I see as a heroine, but at first thought ~ my mom comes to mind, just for all she has done, dealt with and endures. I loved Mary Poppins as a girl, so I appreciated your reference to her most definitely. The Bronte sisters, Ms. Potter, and Jane Austen are all amazing women for sure.

Ragged Roses said...

Good old Mary Poppins, I love her! Wonderful choices Heidi, so good to see the Brontes and Jane Austen in there. I would perhaps include the suffragetes who changed for ever the fundamental rights of women.

Heidi said...

Good Morning Heidi....How are you?...Have you been spending much time at Cranberry Cottage?...I read half of this post a few days ago & then somehow got pulled away?...Well I finished reading it this morning,,,This post of yours, may be one of my "all-time favorites"!!! I am familiar with all these talented women & have so enjoyed all they have given us!!! I too was so sorry to see that Tasha Tudor died...I have collected so many of her exquisite books & what an amazing life she lead!...And of course I have heard of the Bronte sisters, but have never read their books?...I may have to now! You described them so beautifully! Well, I am off to sew making all the nursery bedding for a friend's daughter who will be having a baby in the next few weeks! Everything is turning out so sweet! You have a wonderful Sunday & week ahead!....Your friend, Heidi XO

Anonymous said...

Hi Heidie,
Wat een mooie post; de namen van de vrouwen daarin voorkomen, komen bij ons thuis ook vaak voorbij ! Momenteel staat bij ons op de wc-deur weer een tekst van Edith Holden (over juli) Het boek met het levensverhaal van Beatrix Potter ligt op de koffietafel en onze dochter leest net weer een boek van de Bronte-sisters. Verder hebben we alle verfilmingen van de Jane Austen boeken.
Mooi hoor, die bijzondere vrouwen.
Fijne week alvast.... Janneke.

Mia said...

What a lovely post! But I was not aware that Tasha Tudor had in fact passed away. She certainly is my gardening heroine. I have a lovely book of her garden, and it is one of the prettiest gardens I know. I get so much inspiration and pleasure form the book.

I am sorry I have not visited your blog for a while; I have family from overseas visiting, so these past summer days have been been spent enjoying their visit and the lovely summer weather we have had lately. But I have so enjoyed visiting you again, and hopefully I will be able to make a new entry in my blog soon too. Do enjoy summer and I do hope it has not been too hot in your neck of the woods (it has been pretty hot here, but I am enjoying it).

Anonymous said...

what a lovely list....and so similar to my own. I have loved Tasha since my childhood, and thought she would be with us forever. Beatrix Potter has added such magic to my life and I frequent Susan Branch's shop for the sheer joy of walking in the atmosphere of a kindred spirit. And Mary Poppins...well, I leave your blog on just to listen to her sing (G)!!!! Hugs, Annie from San Diego


Ms. Potter hands down...I love her illustrations and enjoyed the movie about her! great post Heidi! I hope all is well!

Crazee4books said...

Hi Heidi,

I had to leave a comment after
seeing your tribute to Tasha
Tudor. I was so sorry to read
of her passing when I made a
stop at the family website a
few weeks ago. She lived a
life to be proud of, on her
own terms and with creativity
and joy.

I have a number of
her books and I love to browse
through them. Just seeing her
lovely face framed in a lacy
bonnet, or walking barefoot
through her garden made me

Thanks for sharing your list
of heroines and for remembering
Tasha Tudor.


patchwitch said...

Ah Heidi, I enjoyed this post very much, and yes, you chose THE heroines I think....
And adding Mary Poppins tunes, yes, you are so kind and clever in practical things as well. Thank you for that...
Once I was in B. Potter's house, it was amazing to see the pics of her book in the house (she used the original background...)

Susan Branch said...

Dear Heidi, what a doll you are -- I can tell because of all the amazing heroes you have chosen. I can hardly believe you included me in this group!!! You are too much.
I've also thought about this subject as I am so inspired every day. One of my favorites is Helen Keller. In case you don't know her story, this is it in a nutshell: Because of an illness when she was just a baby, she lost the ability to hear or see. It wasn't until she was around 7 and had a wonderful teacher, that she was able to understand what was going on around her, but always in the dark and quiet. She ended up graduating from Radcliffe, wrote beautiful books, used beautiful words and said (among many wonderful things), "I seldom think of my limitations and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times, but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers." From her my inspirtation is to count my blessings every day! She dedicated the autobiography of her life to Alexander Graham Bell. That's my heroine story. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for including me in yours!!! Have a wonderful day, with love, Susan

Rhondi said...

Hi Heidi
I am glad to be back. I've missed talking with you!! I agree with all the women you chose and loved Tasha Tudor too and admired her choice of lifestyle. What a nice surprise that Susan Branch commented! My mother is one of my heroines for sure and Helen Keller, perhaps Margaret Thatcher who was prime minister of England. A very thought provoking post. Thanks.
Hugs, Rhondi

Andylynne said...

Well you have captured the spirit of these woman very well. I absolutly adored Tasha Tudor ,had the deepest love and respect for her life. The spirit of it and the way she lived . Would I have the courage to live that way I don't know. But I would love to give it a try to some degree. I"m glad I discovered her years and years ago. I also love the other ladies you wrote of. I have books or infomaiton on each of them. Some from way back and some recently discovered. I have many of Susan Branch's cook books. I have enjoyed them imensley. And of course there is Mary Poppins where magic is possible.

Susan in SC said...

Heidi - you are a heroine to me. You struggle with illness yet you are productive, encouraging, talented, and you keep on going without complaining. You strive to bring beauty into the world. What does it take to be a heroine? It takes and ordinary person doing extraordinary things. You are such a person. YOU are an inspiration to me each time I read your blog or emails!!

Wild Rose said...

Oh Heidi, I could have written this post myself! I share many of your heroines ~ Edith Holden and Mary Poppins amongst them. I used to imagine how wonderful it would be to have a nanny like her when I was little.

How sweet of Susan Branch to stop by and leave a comment ~ I love her books too and have many of them at home. They are such a joy to dip into whenever I feel the need of home and family.

Marie x

Clare said...

Heidi - a lovely post which resulted in me spending a delightful time on Susan Branch's website - thank you. I live just over the Pennines from the lake District and Beatrix Potter's home, so will be planning another visit soon, as it is quite a while (10 years in fact) since I was last there.