Orchard House Holiday
|My friend Susanna visits the Alcotts|
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Louisa May Alcott at her home in Concord, Massachusetts. The year was 1870 and Louisa was celebrating the republication of her first book Flower Fables. Flower Fables is a book of fairy stories dedicated to Ellen Emerson, who Louisa babysat. Louisa has decided to give her book, her "first born" to her Marmee for Christmas, for "grandmothers are always kind." Louisa feels that Little Women gets more attention and it's not fair. She handed the book and a stocking to some young visitors to carry around the house and collect gifts for Marmee. The house was decorated for Christmas with greenery and small trees with homemade ornaments. We were shown around the house by a Miss Hawthorne, two Miss Emersons and Louisa's youngest sister May. May is the model for Amy in Little Women and like her fictional counterpart, she is an artist. She has designed a beautiful angel clothespin ornament to honor her sister Lizzie (Beth), "the angel in the house," who died young. We saw Louisa's bedroom with her special writing desk her father made for her (unusual for a woman to have a desk in her room) and May's room with all her drawings on the walls. Then we were escorted down into the parlor where we met Mrs. Alcott and learned about her family. The little visitors gave Marmee her stocking and she delighted in the gifts from her family. Finally, we saw a play based on one of the stories in Flower Fables which was put on by some local girls. It was a lovely tour and a fun way to see Orchard House!