Saturday, June 4, 2011

All about Anne - or actually, L.M. Montgomery

For those of you who like sweet stories and stepping back into that proverbial "simpler time," if you haven't yet seen "Anne of Green Gables" and "Anne of Avonlea," you need to!!!! The books are classics, and the movies may be even better (a rare event, to be sure!)! But much of this story is actually based on the author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, because while the plot and characters are fictional, much of it comes from Maud's own experiences, her difficulties and wishes and her wants. So the landmarks one would visit when on an Anne pilgrimage in PEI are actually places Maud spent time in/grew up in, spots that she most likely modeled the Anne locations after.

This is the house Maud was born in. It's in New London (used to be called Clifton). One of the sad parts of Maud's life, and one of the correlations with Anne's, is that Maud's mom died when Maud was only 2 years old (of tuberculosis). Her father left to go explore and live out in the west, and Maud was left with her maternal grandparents, who took care of her but were strict and distant emotionally. There are many other parallels between Maud and Anne woven into the story. She wrote both about what she knew and what she wished to be true, and it stole all of our hearts. To find out more about Maud (and Anne), read this:

One of the other spots I visited was the house that Maud's father and grandfather lived in. The Montgomery family still owns it although it exists as a museum now. This house served as the model for Anne and Gil's (Anne's husband) home.

A photo of Lucy Maud as a young girl.

A portrait of when she was older, the accomplished L. M. Montgomery.

Just love the look of these old clothes.

And I just had to include this! Most of my PEI wanderings were solo, as usual, but Bill did go with me to see the most famous house in Cavendish, which is now a National Park and used to be her relatives' home. First, however, was the Sandbox. And how convenient to have the photo op all set up for me outside!

I wish I'd had more time to read these bits about Lucy's life, lined up on these stands on the way to the house, but we arrived at the park kind of late, so we were a bit rushed. I love all the old photos too.

I too believe in kindred spirits - although they are few and far between. Guess that's what makes them so very special and cherished!

THE house! This is not a house that Maud herself lived in (it was inhabited by her grandfather's cousins), although, as a child, she lived nearby and visited the area frequently. But according to Maud, this is the house that Green Gables was modeled after (and she ought to know!).

The barns.

Rooms inside.

Green Gables, from the other side. Pretty idyllic, yes? Lover's Lane and the Haunted Woods were real areas nearby that Maud used to explore.

And now we come to the part that made me quite sad - seeing what was left of the home she grew up in (raised by her mother's parents). To have the contrast before me - of Anne, the lovable characters and a sweet and wonderful story so alive in my mind still, and of Maud, who had created it all and lived much of it herself but is now gone - was jarring. The fiction and Maud's past still seemed so real, and yet there I was looking at the graveyard, essentially, of what was. Realizing and remembering the temporary nature of things, esp. of loved ones, always puts me in a strange, sad place. I don't like that reality and have a hard time with it. It's amazing how we can go through practically every day never giving such things a second thought, but then occasionally something gets triggered, and suddenly that one reality is just too intense, too threatening. Being here and yet knowing others have been right here before too but are no just too weird. Knowing none of us, and none of this, is forever.

Apparently, although her grandparents were NOT a Matthew and Marilla, and although it sounds like she was very lonely growing up, she was also very attached to her early home, the town, and held fond memories of her childhood. And even now, she has not parted with it - she is buried in the cemetary only a few yards away...

Part of her walk, perhaps part of her Haunted Woods. Perhaps she herself haunts it now...

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