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This charming book is made up of letters from an admirable and resourceful woman who homesteaded in Wyoming in 1909. Her accounts of the people and the landscapes and adventures she encountered were so interesting and well-written that they were serialized in Atlantic Monthly. Mrs. Stewart's daughter was named Jerrine, and I picked up this link today from her granddaughter Jerrine's Facebook post. I had read this book and loved it in the 1970s, and when I came across the link to it this morning I couldn't stop reading through the book again, until I was done. Jerrine of the present day just happens to be my ex-husband's first ex-wife; we were acquainted before I met him. But that's another story.
This quote from the book pretty much sums Elinore Pruitt Stewart's personna up for me, "[A]ll my own efforts have always been just to make the best of everything and to take things as they come." I never met anyone like her for her ability to pitch in and make something charming and picturesque out of circumstances that could have been dreary and dull. In one of the letters, she wrote about how she created a memorable setting for a impromptu wedding reception in a pantry that was under construction in a boarding house. She made tables by covering wood trestles left by the work crew, swept up the sawdust, cleaned a big window that let onto a fine view of the mountains and put some wild flowers in a cracked jar on the window sill, and somehow pulled together a feast from what was at hand. And I'm guessing that the bride was more thrilled than any modern bride who has a $30,000 wedding could ever be.
I enjoyed this book, it was optimistic and realistic. Not all struggle like most stories. It made me wish I could be woman homesteadeer!