Saturday, December 17, 2022

Calling Gladys Taber Fans (A book by her daughter and some Christmas at my house)


There was another side to our dear Connecticut countrywoman. For a time she lived in the biggest city of all, New York City where she taught at Columbia University. Oh, to have been a student of Creative Writing with Gladys Taber for a teacher!

Her only child, daughter Constance Taber Colby, despite growing up in Southbury, Connecticut, raised her two daughters in Manhattan.

 The View from Morningside, One Family's New York, published in 1978, is the story of the riches that the City That Never Sleeps offers for children. For Constance's girls, who early on fell in love with the subject of Tudor England the way some children fall in love with a sport, New York was rich with resources for their passion. 

 Interested in the Tudor period? For Colby's daughters there was the Metropolitan Museum, the Morgan Library, the New York Public Library, the Cloisters, Renaissance concerts all over town, Renaissance dance at Lincoln Center, Elizabethan cookery at Riverside Church, and the New York City Ballet.


As Colby's daughter Anne says in the book, "living in New York was the next best thing to living in London."


For fans of Gladys Taber, her daughter's book is not to be missed. For those who love New York this book should be fascinating, including those who like me have never been there. 

I'm definitely more of a Country Mouse than a City Mouse. I live in a 1935 cottage in what was once farmland outside of Nashville, Tennessee.

Before that I lived for twenty-six years in a 1920 farmhouse where sausage once hung in the smokehouse. I love the country!

In this house I'm enveloped by old board paneling that calls for country style.

But the older I get the more I lean toward what goes with the first true antique RH and I purchased as newlyweds.

 An 1800s Staffordshire Blue Willow ironstone platter.



There's not anything more country than Blue Willow and it's just as comfortable in a humble cottage as in a Georgetown townhome dressed to the nines with Chinoiserie.

Speaking of Chinoiserie, I think a touch of it looks well on our eighteen year old Ethan Allen red leather sofa. So does BreeBree, don't you think?


Here is a Christmas pillow I found on Etsy with a red amaryllis in a blue and white cachepot. The front is like a hooked wool rug, the back a velvety fabric, with zipper and quality insert. 

It's fancy but is perfect with an old wool tartan throw from Canada.

I will keep it out through winter and must get a picture of it with our Black Pearl amaryllis from White Flower Farm, which won't bloom until after Christmas anyway, as it did last year when I could not get the lighting in this picture to accurately show the rich dark red. 

If you're interested in Constance Taber Colby's book on raising a family in Manhattan, you can find copies of The View from Morningside, One Family's New York for under $10 online, unless you'd rather pay $43 for it on Amazon. I wouldn't!

Any thoughts on whether you would be up for raising a family in a big city? Cons and pros?

Are you ready for Christmas? I need at least another month!

[I do appreciate every comment you leave! For some reason I can no longer publish comments from my phone even though I've signed in and out from Google over and over trying to. I have to go to my laptop in order to publish them so sometime I'm delayed in getting to it. And emails about new posts from me are no longer being sent out and sometime after Christmas I will try to figure out what to do instead. Thanks for your patience!] 



  1. The View from Morningside sounds like a wonderful book. I am a great fan of Gladys Taber's writings. We raised our three children in both the jungle and a very large city, both in South America. Each had their pros and cons, but I myself was always happier in the country/jungle. Now my grandchildren are being raised in a small city that is close to all kinds of wild landscapes, which they do take advantage of, along with visiting the museum and other cultural city pursuits.
    I'm plugging along with Christmas, too.

    1. Lorrie, I've always been fascinated by your life in South America as well as by the beautiful place you and your family live in now. I'm always struck by the beauty of the wild life and their habitats near you now. It sounds like such a great mixture of city and country.

  2. I'm afraid I'm only vaguely familiar with Gladys Taber. I only have one of her books and don't know much about her. Raising children in a city? There are pros and cons, just like there are raising children in the country. The one good thing about raising children in the city is the advantage of all the cultural activity and events.

    Your home looks so elegant and beautiful and cozy for Christmas!

    1. Thank you so much, Melanie! And I know that you appreciate the art museum in your nearby big city. I remember as a child that our class each year would board a bus and go to Nashville for so many things like the Children's Theater and the State Museum. I wonder if elementary school children still go on field trips like that? I hope so.

  3. The View from Morningside sounds like an excellent read, Dewena. Having access to so many wonderful cultural events and exhibits is a definite plus to living in the city, and it goes without saying that a city like the Big Apple must have an endless list of such activities.

    But having been born and brought up in a big city, then residing in a small one for 25 years, and finally living in the country for the last 10, I can honestly say that living in nature appeals to me the most.

    Your cozy cottage is filled with beautiful touches of Christmas. I love all the different textures; that seasonal cushion is so cute and the label on the wool throw looks very familiar to me. Did I ever tell you that I worked at Eaton's for a few months, in the jewellery department, right after I graduated university? I was hired as a cashier, but within weeks they had me doing displays.

    I love blue and white and your Staffordshire Blue Willow ironstone pieces and sofa cushions look so fresh, mixed in with the touches of red and green, from the furniture to festive flowers!

    Merry Christmas, sweet friend!

    1. Poppy, what a coincidence that you worked for the same company my wool throw is from! I does not surprise me one bit that the department store quickly put you to doing displays for them. I bought this on eBay many years ago or otherwise I would have thought to ask you about it, as I usually do anything that is either from Canada or Crete. I'm glad you like the amaryllis pillow against the throw.

      And I know that while you love your times in the big city that your heart belongs on the beautiful hills that overlook it where you're surrounded by olive groves.
      Merry Christmas to you, my dear friend!

  4. Your house at Christmastime... it is the coziest, loveliest of any I've seen. How much time do you propose we get, to prepare for and celebrate Christmas? How about eight weeks? I don't know... but I do know that the saying, "If you want to get something done, give it to a busy woman," is true. If I had more time, I'd just fill it fuller and *still* be pressed!

    1. Thank you so much, Gretchen! I've been thinking that I may extend Christmas through January and continue on with those things I didn't have time for--more Christmas books and movies, more baking, more visiting. I think that last year I enjoyed it all until Candlemas Day and thoroughly enjoyed it. I know that you have some good visits ahead for you so Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    2. Thank you, Dewena, I just came back here, two weeks later, and it seems we are thinking alike... are you indeed baking and visiting, etc., on this 9th Day of Christmas?

      I've had a big church feast day today, so tomorrow is the day for me to continue with my Christmas activities. I think the solution for me to not having enough time, is to start Christmas on the regular calendar, as I did, but **re-start** when the Old Calendar Orthodox celebrate, on Jan 7.

      If I count 12 days from there, I can bake cookies, visit around and give the cookies, and send my Christmas cards until January 19. Does that sound clever?? Merry Christmas, Dear Dewena!

  5. The month of December seems to have flown by, but we are almost ready for Christmas, just a few more presents to wrap.

    Sending my good wishes for a Merry Christmas.

    All the best Jan

  6. Merry Christmas!! Susan Branch introduced me to Gladys Taber.
    Your home makes me smile. It is a true Home Sweet Home.
    xx oo

  7. It was lovely to see a little of Christmas around your house, Dewena. You have a lot of antique looking things, which I appreciate as well. Your book case is filled with books, and I think it's great that you enjoy reading so much. I love the Blue Willow dish and platter, and the ornaments look vintage and pretty. Your red sofa adds a slash of color, and is perfect for Christmas. I've been wanting to get a new sofa....hopefully sometime in the near future. I really like your tartan throw too. It all looks very nice, and your home say "welcome" to me.

    Merry Christmas to you, dear friend.


  8. Your Christmas home looks lovely, Dewena! It's so warm and charming and the more I poke around, the more I want to paint all my bookcases green!! Just lovely! I've never heard of Gladys Taber, but now you've peaked my interest. As for raising kids in a big city, especially NYC? I'm a country (beach) dweller myself, but I've spent my entire life in the "country" about 45 minutes outside of NYC. I've worked there and traveled there often. My husband worked there for over 25 years, day in and day out and I have to say that maybe in other decades it would've been a charming, exciting place to raise kids, but not today. There are too many rules and just getting around is tough. I love watching movies of the city from the 30s, 40s and 50s, it looks like a fun place to grow up, but now, I think the hurdle rate is just too high...of course those are just my humble thoughts! Merry Christmas!!

  9. Count me in! Hope you're enjoying the holiday season and staying nice and warm, dear Dewena. All the best for the new year!

  10. Enjoyed seeing your home and decorations. Love that red sofa! I wish the there was a way to send emails about new posts. I need to research and see if there is a way. Happy New Year!

  11. Dewena here, testing to see what happens if I leave a comment here because I can't sign in here. When I click on Sign In it takes me to my other blog only. Not able to create a new post here, only at Across the Way.

    1. Heavens to Betsy, it worked! I don't understand how or why but leaving a comment here signed me in! Will try to work on a new post soon!

    2. I've figured out that every time I shut down my computer, which my son told me to do every other day since this laptop is ancient, it signs me out of my blogs and the only way I can make it "sign me back in" is to comment here on this blog. So here goes and if it works I'll try to publish a short new post here.

    3. Once again, this seems to be the only way I can "sign in" on my account so here goes.