Happy Birthday, Evelina


Evelina Gilmore Ames

Today, June 14, 2016, is Evelina Gilmore Ames’s 207th birthday.

While Evelina herself wouldn’t approve of any friends or relatives lifting an alcoholic toast in her honor, she would surely indulge in some cake.  She might even bake it herself, if that big old brick oven were still standing.

Please feel free to celebrate!

November 3, 2014: We interrupt this service!

No Evelina for a few days, folks. So sorry! A windy,wintry storm has knocked out many power lines in our coastal town,meaning that we have no electricity, one fireplace and no ready access to the internet. This quick message is being typed out on a laptop in a crowded internet cafe two towns away from our cold house.  It took us thirty minutes to drive here and another fifteen minutes to cadge a table where we now sit in short-lived communication with the cloud. We can watch other patient folks in wool caps standing in line waiting for their mochas and cafe lattes, eyeing the occupied wooden tables – including ours – hoping one will become available just as they pick up their steaming mugs.

So, quickly, look for Evelina again on November 6, when we hope our internet will be back up.

While we wait for our normal life to resume, we contemplate and discuss how accustomed we are to 21st century life, even though I, for one, spend everyday thinking and writing about life in the 19th. I think about what it must have been like to live without electricity, or electronic communication, or cappuccino on demand. I think how unaccustomed we are to acknowledging nature’s power over us. We played backgammon by candlelight last night – that wasn’t all bad!

I think Evelina was smarter than we are in many ways.  She and all the 19th century Ameses were much closer to the weather, and certainly lacked the 21st hubris that wants to control it. If she were to come back today, I wager she’d be one of the first to notice climate change. I imagine how she would cope with a stormy day and its inconveniences, and suspect she’d just pick up her sewing and get on with her work.