I just found out Louisa May Alcott‘s home is in Concord, Massachusetts. This is it.
I’ve been reading a book, “House Thinking: A Room by Room Look at How We Live“, by Winifred Gallagher. In this book, Gallagher says that a child’s room should be a “place of their own.” She does not mean that all children should have their own rooms, but that parents should consider some intentional design for children’s rooms. Even if it’s just a section of a shared room. A desk of their own, a divider for privacy. What do they like? Drawing? Supply a sketch pad and pencils and a place to draw. Gallagher says it fosters a sense of identity and confidence in children. A child’s room need not be adorned with canopies or straight out of Extreme Home Makeover. It just needs to say, “Hey, this is clearly Charlie’s room, not mine.”
Those progressive Alcotts did not have much money, but they encouraged their four daughters to be “confident, expressive and altruistic individuals.” (Gallagher) I’d say they succeeded.
Louisa (love that name) and her sisters also grew up in the same town as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. In fact, according to Gallagher, the Alcotts used to borrow books from Emerson and take nature walks with Thoreau.
My friend’s family owns this beautiful, historic home in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. My family had to privilege to spend the weekend here last summer. When I saw Louisa May Alcott’s house, it made me think of this house. They feel the same to me.
Ok, maybe they don’t look alike, but they share something. Similar angle of the each home. Lots of lush trees and flowers. Both are historic, too. “Little Women“ was written in one; a confederate soldier, whom I believe was actually a pacifist, occupied the other.
I cannot remember the entire story behind this framed picture of his great, great-grandfather, but I do believe that’s an original letter from the Confederate States of America‘s War Department officially declaring him a member of the Army. And yes, that’s a Playmobil (Confederate?) soldier on top of the frame. All kinds of quirky reminders of the that life goes on and “boys will be boys.”
I have to admit, this little guy creeped me out when I first saw his face. And then I just burst into laughter. Because that’s Vardell’s personality to place curious things in odd places.
I love this old bookshelf, too. You have to lift the glass cabinet up and slide it into the back of the shelf.
I don’t know if Louisa May had any creepy dolls inside a bookshelf, but I do know she wrote “Little Women” at the half-moon desk her father specifically built and designed for her. He knew she was rather emotionally-driven and loved to write so he chose a big sunny room in the front of the house with the shelf desk built between both windows so she could get a marvelous view of the sun and get lost in her writing. It was a very small desk, but it was her desk.
When we give a our children a place to call their own, we honor their spirit. I try to remember that when I step into my 13-year old’s room and there are clothes all over the floor. It’s her space. Just like my friend’s room above. I see no one stopped him from putting a cat and creepy doll in the bookcase.
Kids will be kids.
Road trip to Concord, Mass. It is now on the bucket list.