Guest Post: I still dream of “perching” on a stone wall in the moonlight

Sometimes, you have to be in the right mindset, the right place in your life, for a book to connect with you. For our guest writer, Judy, and Emilie Loring books, that time was in her twenties:

Anne of Green Gables
“I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I am going to believe that the best does.” Anne of Green Gables

I was in my teens back in the late 1960’s, and my older sister, 13 years older than me, often came home on weekends from her teaching job in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  She knew I was an avid reader and often suggested books she thought I might like. It was she who introduced me to the Anne of Green Gables books when I was eleven.

When she gave me some of her Emilie Loring books to read, I didn’t care for the rather stilted dialog and thought the descriptions were too flowery and not realistic.  You see, I was only sixteen, and Emilie Loring’s style of writing was not really in vogue.

My sister told me that she liked them because most are set in the New England states and my sister had traveled there and was familiar with the region.  She told me about the lovely descriptions of flower gardens and stately old family homes and beautiful young heiresses, handsome men, mysterious happenings, etc.

Groovy 1960sWell, to my 16 year old mind, they were way too flowery and feminine.  After all, this was the era of the Beatles, political upheaval, rioting, hippies, mini skirts, bellbottoms, beads, LSD, etc.
 home decorating
By the time I was twenty and married, my tastes had changed, and my interests were more on things that were noble, dignified…and yes, flower gardens and interior design. So, I picked up an Emilie Loring book and began to read.
Version 2
I love the old, worn hardbacks.
Soon, one after the other, I read all that I could get my hands on, thanks to the public library which still carried them and also thanks to various used-book stores I frequented. For the longest time, I kept a list in my handbag of the books I still needed to read, so I would have it handy should I pop into a used book store. I think it was probably about five years ago when I crossed the final title off my list.
hilltops-clear-wprI love the old, worn hardbacks.  I especially love when there is a name and a year they were received inside the front cover. My copy of Hilltops Clear was originally owned by an Anna Haffey, evidenced by that name in faded, thin, spidery writing.
Keystone Hotel McCook Nebraska
Keystone Hotel, McCook, Nebraska

In the years since, it ended up in McCook, Nebraska at a place called The Book Shop in the Keystone Hotel Building.  From there it somehow ended up in central Pennsylvania where I picked it up for ninety-five cents at a thrift store owned by the Mennonite church, called “Abundant Blessings.”

Over the years, when life becomes a bit much, I will often go to my bookshelves and pull out an Emilie Loring book to read.  There is something so comforting about reading of young women who are of noble character and are joyful, optimistic, feminine and loyal.
tea in the gardenAnd I can say that Loring’s books definitely influenced me in a very positive way–from my desire to dress in a feminine way to my love for flowers to having afternoon tea.
“Le Grand Charlie” in Beyond the Sound of Guns

Oh yes–back in the 1990’s, my husband even gifted me with a lively Airedale terrior.  Did I name him Charlie, you ask?  No, but it would have been a great name for him.

I am now a widow and a grandma, but I still dream of “perching” on a stone wall in the moonlight with the scent of flowers wafting through the air, the faint sound of dance music and tinkling china and the strong, comforting arm of a handsome gentleman at my side!
EL parapet
Emilie Loring on the stone wall at her summer home
I can hear it, can’t you? – “the faint sound of dance music and tinkling china.” We become Emilie Loring’s characters as we read, see the world through their eyes, hear what they hear, feel what they feel. Their beauty, character, and optimism enters our daily lives, and whenever we need a fresh infusion, we know where to find it. Three generations, and now, a fourth, have that in common. Thank you, Emilie Loring.
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” Anne of Green Gables

3 thoughts on “Guest Post: I still dream of “perching” on a stone wall in the moonlight

  1. Enjoyed reading this post. Now I want to find a stone wall to sit on in the moonlight with my hubby! I hope my girls will someday read my Emilie Loring books. They’re 9 and 12, and the 12 yo is not an avid reader at the moment, but we’ll see. Must be patient. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The moonlight photo was one I took with my husband in the French Riviera–yes, by a low, stone wall–and that’s the Mediterranean shimmering below. Emilie knew her stuff! 😊


  2. How lovely to read your journey in discovering Emilie. Several years ago, Handsome asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said all her books in hardback with the dustjacket. I got them. Perching on a stone wall truly is delightful. I remember sitting on one in Santorini, the only shady spot we found, and people watching and discovering this delightful city.

    Liked by 1 person

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