Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Everything I Know I Learned From Anne Shirley

Yesterday Google was telling me that it was Lucy Maud Montgomery's 141st birthday.  For a brief second, on reading this, I wondered what on earth what sort of state she was in at 141 years old!  Stupid me.  I obviously didn't sleep well the night before.

Lucy Maud Montgomery was, of course, the author of 'Anne of Green Gables', and the subsequent novels that followed in the 'Anne' series and a whole lot of other books besides.  She was born in the year 1874, exactly 100 years before me (!), and there are elements of her life that weave their way through her story about Anne, the orphan that went to live in 'Green Gables', the beautiful farm house on Prince Edward Island. 

I won't go into details about the book, because it is highly likely that you've either read it, or at least seen the movies, but there are so many lovely things about it that actually define who I am as a person; such as desperately wanting to see Prince Edward Island, (and there really are only a handful of places around the world that I actually want to see), to wanting to be a writer myself, and ridiculously, going through my teenage years having the biggest crush ever on Gilbert Blythe. 
I mean could you not?
It was devastating to learn that the actor that played Gilbert Blythe, (who was the object of my affections) Canadian Jonathan Crombie, passed away in April this year.  He was only 48. 
I suppose we all can find characters that we can identify with, but for me it is definitely Anne.  For example:

1.  I don't have red hair, but my Mum does, and as a result mine is very auburn, particularly when I'm in the sun.  Actually auburn is the preferred colour of choice by Anne, "so much nicer than just plain old red", so I'm actually one up here on her.  The red hair runs in my family too, so I'm surrounded by rangas.  My sister's second daughter, my brother's second daughter, my six year old son and my two year old daughter is decidedly ginger, and even my husband (whose hair is fairly non-descript) sports a ginger beard when he can't be bothered shaving.  Which is always.

2.  I'm a writer.  I actually identified myself as a writer really early on, about in my early teens, so I really didn't have any choice.  It's something that is just in me, something I can't ignore, and Anne most certainly had it too.

3.  I read.  Anne liked to read.  She was reading 'The Lady of Shalott' in the opening of the movie, a poem I always find particularly moving, and when she is caught reading 'Ben Hur' in Geometry class, this is the sort of thing I would have done.  Actually I did.  I got caught reading a novel during a maths class at the end of finishing a maths exam.
4.  Yeah, this would have been me too.  Cracking it at some boy teasing me and then cracking my slate over his head.  I've got a pretty quick temper and if anyone was ever to take a whack at me I'm liable to punch them in the nose.  I do, however, simmer down fairly quickly, once the initial explosion is out of the way.
5.  Yes Diana, I do.

6.  Green Gables.  Ok so I don't live on a farm yet.  And I stress the 'yet' bit.  But I do own a lot of sheep so I'm kind of part of the way there!  Green Gables is my dream farm house, although I am going to have to possibly settle for a farm house with a red tin roof because my husband is kind of set on it, so just think 'Red Gables' and you're just about right.  Doesn't quite have the same ring to it but I think I'll cope.

7.  Prince Edward Island.  No I haven't been there, and yes I hope I do get there one day, but this is the sort of country side I love.  Parts of where I live here in Gippsland are quite similar, except perhaps the gum trees, and the wombats, and the venomous snakes and spiders.

8.  A knack for embarrassing myself.  Yeah, I was one of those types.  Saying something stupid or doing something dumb.  I would drown a mouse in the pudding sauce, while imagining I was a nun about to take the vow of poverty or whatever it was, and I probably would have dyed my hair green.  I did dye it blonde once, which was pretty hilarious.  Oh, and I did spend most of my teenage years being ridiculed by other teenage girls (probably the result of spending my weekends at the farm breaking in cattle to take to shows), so picture a 1980s version of Josie Pye and you've got my life just about right.  I still do embarrass myself actually.  However I'm yet to sink my best friend's father's dory in the lake and be rescued by my future husband and claim that I'm "fishing for lake trout".  Maybe next time.

9.  I'm good at English.  I possibly would have won The Avery too, if I'd had the inclination to study harder than Anne.  Do note, however, that I'm pretty ordinary at maths. (For ordinary read extraordinarily bad)

10.  Imaginary friends.  Anne had Katie, her window friend.  I used to have a dog called Katie.  Except she ran away.  Anyway, so have a laugh at my expense but I'm a great one for imaginary friends.  Not that I have one now.  I'm not that weird.  Not yet anyway, although there is still time, but a great deal of my time is spent talking to myself.  I just know I'm destined to be one of those crazy cat ladies!   But really, who else have I got to talk to?  The kids are pretty busy doing their own thing and when my husband gets home he's either on the phone for hours or he falls asleep straight after dinner, so I'm my own best friend.  I'm fabulous company!  Do you know my eldest son was telling me last night that you can actually buy your own imaginary friend on eBay?  Thought this was pretty funny.  I'm tempted to make a fortune selling a few of my own.

Happy 141st birthday Lucy Maud Montgomery.  Thank you for your wonderful stories and characters that helped shaped the lives of so many.  And thank you so much for Anne.  And Gilbert.




  1. Isn't it funny how we can feel so connected to fictional characters. Perhaps I've been living under a rock, but I've never heard of these movies, or books. Was this what you mentioned in our email a while back? Hm... I shall scour Netflix to see if I can watch it! Totally interested after this high talk-up.

    ps... redheads are the best. (;

    1. Yes, redheads rule! I think you'd like it, it's very innocent and lovely, and yes, Gilbert is gorgeous. It was on television here (it's a tv series) when I was in my teens so it is from the 1980s. I guess this is why you wouldn't be familiar with it...I'm just so old!! lol

  2. I love Anne of Green Gables! I remember watching re-runs of the tv show as a kid (as well as the Emily of New Moon tv series) and visiting the museum in PEI on holiday one summer. I remember thinking it odd that a fictional character had a real home (the house located on the site was thought to have been the inspiration for Green Gables, but most people there thought it was "Anne's real house"). I had to re-read the original Anne of Green Gables book for a course in University a few years ago and fell in love with the story all over again. And yes, Gilbert sure was a cutie!

    1. Wow you've been there?! So jealous! Bit odd that people forget that Anne is just a fictional character but then I guess, like me, people do tend to identify with certain characters and when you read a book many times or watch the movie often they can almost become real!

  3. LOL. Yes, quite the record if she were still alive and kicking. Sorry to hear about your crush, although truly that is a very young and sad age to die! Your comment about math, LOOOOOOL. Yeah, we can be "ordinary" together ;)
    I never read the books or watched the series, my Mom has... And because of this I've seen snipets of the series and heard references to the Anne of Green Gables novels. It's nice to see you love something so much!! Happy Birthday Lucy!! ;)

    MUCH LOVE!!!

    1. I think you are about the first person I know around your age that knows of the series! Both Kiki and Bianca hadn't heard of it, which means that I am getting old and it was definitely a late 80s early 90s thing!

  4. I've never heard of or watched this series, but I want to after hearing you speak of it with such praise.

    1. Kiki hadn't heard of it either. Different generation obviously! It was nice because it was all so innocent. A refreshing change from some of the things you see today.