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 really....how 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.
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.
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.