Thursday, August 2, 2007

Peaches and The Velvet Room

I finally got around to putting up all the peaches I brought home last week. After countless romps around the yard and to the porch with peach-in-hand, it came time to either stuff down the rest or freeze them.

I went with the freezer. After all, nothing beats a warm taste of peachy summer in January. Nothing.

Last year I put away a few peaches. I took extra care to buy a large container of Fruit Fresh - that powdered preservative that's supposed to keep fruit and vegetables from browning and going bad. This year I did a little digging and found that Fresh Fruit's primary ingredient is plain old Vitamin C. Huh. I opted to save money and skip the Fruit Fresh, deciding instead to grind up a few Vitamin C tablets and let 'er rip. Worked like a charm, I think.

Anyway, as I was slicing up peach after peach, I thought suddenly of my favorite book as a girl: The Velvet Room. Oh, how I loved that book! It was published in 1965, but the story revolves around a Depression-era girl named Robin and her migrant-worker family. As Robin quietly struggles to belong, her family's financial need sends Robin and her sister to work in a peach pit. As I peeled and sliced my own juicy fruits, pieces of Robin's precious story - and my eleven-year-old life - came flitting back.

After the peaches were tucked in the deep-freeze, I found my old copy of The Velvet Room. It's creased and stained and banged up. (No telling how many times I climbed our enormous crepe myrtle and read from these pages.) I smiled when I noticed my name and our family's old phone number - 903-796-9389 - written inside the cover in my childish hand. So here, now, as a woman still sometimes struggling to belong, I sat quietly in the library with my beloved book becoming reacquainted with Robin and the velvet room and its old, found journal just as I first did some 17 years ago.

If you're a mother, grandmother, aunt, or friend to a young girl, buy her this book. Seventeen years from now she will thank you. If, like me, you enjoy quiet, beautiful, smut-free stories of girls learning to belong, buy yourself this book. You'll still be thanking yourself seventeen years later. (It's been out of print for awhile. New and used copies are available at the Freeman House Book Store by clicking here.)

So okay. Guess that wraps up my peaches and summer read recommendations for the year. Can't wait for winter. I saved the end of Robin's incredible story - and a small, separate bag of fruit - for sometime in January. Sometime then, on a raw, gray day, we'll get The Velvet Room down and make a peach crisp, and above the winter wind the only sounds we'll hear is a soft bubbling from the oven and the patient turn of pages....

And things will come full circle once again. This beautiful life with all its peaches and books has a way of doing that, doesn't it?


Lindy said...

Love the peach pics! And the book sounds charming.

I made your Blueberry Breakfast Bars this morning. Yummy! Can't wait to try your Chump Chicken. Thanks for all the recipes and an all-around delightful blog.

Lindy :)

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Brin, I just had a wonderful peach in my cereal this a.m. You're making me hungry seeing all those beautiful peaches you've got. You are smart to freeze these for use in the winter. I don't usually think that far ahead. And, those blueberries earlier this week...oh my, those I love too. I usually get my fill of those every summer since my parents grow them, but this year the frost got them & we don't have any. :(

I've never read that book. It sounds wonderful. Enjoy your weekend.


Poiema said...

My 14 year old dgtr is an avid reader, and says this is her all time favorite book, too.

betty r said...

Vitamin C huh? I will try that next time instead of fruit fresh. I love those 'homemade ideas'.
I need to put some peaches in my freezer, I love peaches! Then again I love all fruits!

Mary said...

Brin - I must get this book for my 10 y.o. granddaughter - it sounds great! Thanks for the peach freezing tips - today I made a blueberry cobbler (will be posting pics later) and a peach cobbler is next on the list of Summertime baking.

As always, you are an inspiration and a great read.

Penless Thoughts said...

You are a wonderful writer!!

Cherry Menlove said...

Life does have a way of coming full circle. If we are lucky enough to notice it!

Wonderful post, Brin.

Love Cherry xx

Sue said...

I've never heard of that book, I'll have to look for it! And THANK YOU SO MUCH for the book, I just got it yesterday, you are so sweet and too kind! I can't wait to read it, and a true thank you is in the works! Your a treasure Brin!! Hugs!!

Kay said...

You are the first person besides me that I've ever found who has read "The Velvet Room".

I knew I liked you for some reason. ;o)

Kay on the farm