Sunday, December 23, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I had the pleasure of attending The Friends of Gladys Taber Reunion on the Saturday afternoon (June 23, 2007). What a treat to see pages of a journal written in Gladys' own handwriting.
**For anyone wishing a high resolution copy of this photo, please email me. I'll be happy to share this with you.
Posted by Shelley at 5:36 PM
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Looking back over my career in journalism, which started not long after I hosted the first Taber Reunion in Lynchburg in the 1980s, I would have to say that the model for much of my writing is Gladys Taber.
It was Gladys that literally drew me into my current position as lifestyle editor of The Farmville Herald.
When I decided to host the Taber Reunion I wanted to research the Tabers’ stay in Lynchburg, not an easy task since they had not lived there since the 1920’s. The Lynchburg newspaper referred me to their former social editor, then retired, Lib Wiley.
As writers go, Lib was a real pioneer and another wonderful role model, She was a woman in the newsroom in the days before women were really welcome there. During her tenure at the paper she had interviewed such celebrities as Pearl Buck, Bess Truman, and Eleanor Roosevelt, not to mention Gladys Taber.
Lib and I spent several delightful months digging through old files and records, and she helped me locate several women living in nursing homes in Lynchburg who actually knew the Tabers when they were in Lynchburg.
Lib added fuel to a spark Gladys Taber’s columns had started many years before — a desire to share experiences by writing about them.
Encouraged by these two role models, I started writing a column for The Herald in the mid-1980s. After several weeks of reporting the community news, I decided to add stories about our farm, the dogs and cats, and, of course, my goats. Local readers seemed to love my stories about life in the country, and I’ve been writing “Down the Back Road” ever since.
When The Herald’s lifestyle editor (who had a Ph.D. in English) left the paper in 1992, I applied for the job. My credentials were not nearly as impressive as hers were, but The Herald hired me anyway.
I really love my job and writing for a small town newspaper. There are many opportunities to help both individuals and organizations with the stories we write. Just a few months ago I wrote about a local doctor, originally from Ghana, who is raising money to build clinics in his home country where there is no health care. He subsequently held a benefit auction and dinner and raised $23,000.
Since I became the lifestyle editor (which if really a fancy title for my one-woman department) I have been learning on the job in the areas of writing and photography. Considering the fact that I had no formal training in journalism, I was especially proud to win the sweepstakes award in the statewide communication contest held by the Virginia Press Women for the past two years.
I know Lib Wiley, who passed away in 1994, would be proud, and I like to think that Gladys Taber, who influenced my early years so profoundly, would be as well.
Posted by Shelley at 10:42 PM
Sunday, February 18, 2007
THE LEGACY OF GLADYS TABER AND STILLMEADOW FARM
When I was growing up, my mother always bought FAMILY CIRCLE, and at the first opportunity, the magazine and I would disappear for an hour or so. My first priority was to read Gladys Taber’s* column about Stillmeadow Farm, since I also lived in the country and shared her enthusiasm for animals and nature.
After graduation from high school, I married a Navy man, and over the past 20 years we have transferred back and forth across the United States several times. But I always kept my dream of someday finding a place in the country like Gladys Taber’s Stillmeadow, since we wanted a simpler way of life for ourselves and our two children.
Six years ago, we finally realized my dream when we bought a farm nestled in the gently rolling foothills of western Virginia. We continued to live in Norfolk, where my husband was stationed, but every weekend we headed for our farm. Three years ago, we sold our suburban home with all its modern conveniences and moved into the 30' X 40' barn without any conveniences but with a breathtaking view in every direction. In the evenings, we would sit on the porch, which we had added to the hay loft, and enjoy watching herds of wild deer, wild turkeys and occasionally, a bobcat or gray fox pass by.
When our house was finally completed, and it was time to name our farm, there was no hesitation on my part. It had to become Stillmeadow Farm. We don’t raise cocker spaniels or Irish Setters as did Mrs. Taber, but we have a fine herd of registered dairy goats that carry the Stillmeadow name. I don’t have a pet skunk, but I do have a possum that comes to the porch every evening to share a dish of food with my cats.
Also, unlike Mrs. Taber, I’ve never written a cookbook, but I’ve won three recipe contests, and I enjoy inventing new recipes, often with the inspiration of FC food articles. So you can see, your magazine has been a great influence in my life. As a little girl, I dreamed over your pages of a farm named Stillmeadow, and today, 20 years later, it is a reality. I like to think that Gladys Taber would be pleased.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: Gladys Taber wrote several articles and columns for FAMILY CIRCLE from the 1950s through the 1970s, about her thoughts on life and her experiences at her country homes, Stillmeadow and Still Cove. She died on March 11, 1980, of heart disease in Cape Cod at age 81. She had a prolific career, and it is evident from the thousands of letters we have received over the years from her fans that she brought them much joy.
Reprints of Gladys Taber’s Book of Stillmeadow and Stillmeadow Road are currently available from the publisher along with her last work, Still Cove Journal. From more information on her works, write to: Harper & Row, Mail Order Dept., 10 East 53 St., New York, NY 10022. To order any of her books, call toll-free: 1-800-242-7737.
Posted by Shelley at 1:32 PM