Thursday, October 14, 2010

~IVY GREEN and LESSONS LEARNED~

Named in honor of English Ivy growing on the grounds, IVY GREEN was the childhood home of Helen Keller.

LAYOUT OF IVY GREEN 

Built upon endless acres of beautiful southern land in the state of Alabama, I found the town of Tuscumbia to be both nostalgic and reserved.
  DINING ROOM
REMAINING FAMILY CHINA
(Helen broke most of the missing pieces)

I found the house and her surrounding grounds to be simply lovely and I can't begin to tell you how glad I am for having made the trip.  Knowing how I longed to visit this plot of earth since my own childhood, my Mr. AGPMan planned a short get-a-way for the two of us and helped to make a tiny little dream of mine come true.

While visiting the birthplace of Helen Keller I learned much more about her life than I ever thought possible.  Many books have been written about her childhood and the 'miracle at the pump'.  But, what I truly found interesting was the life she lead after leaving her Ivy Green home.

Helen became a passionate defender of the disabled and she believed had it not been for the fact her family had money she would never have been afforded the chance to learn.  Had the funds not been available to hire a teacher (Annie Sullivan) or had she been poor (or a slave?) she believed her eyes and ears would have remained shuttered.  She became a member of the Socialist Party while still a young woman as well as a Suffragette.

Now...I'm certainly no Socialist.  Not hardly.  But...I do know these were different times and back then women had no rights.  Maybe today Helen would make different choices.  One will never know.  Regardless of the political views she embraced as an adult I believe her lifetime accomplishments are to be honored and celebrated. 
 STAIRWAY

The front door at Ivy Green opens onto a wide hallway and staircase.  I learned it was constructed in the Virginia-cottage style, with four rooms downstairs, two on each side of the hall. Each room has it's own fireplace and is fully furnished in the period style. 
 
 CLOSET UNDER STAIRS
(Helen locked her Mother in this closet!)

As I shared with you yesterday approximately 80% of the furnishings belonged to the Keller family.  Upstairs, there are three additional rooms connected by a hallway.
 LUGGAGE ROOM

A small center room upstairs was designated  for luggage (can you imagine?).   One upstairs room was for Helen's siblings and one was Helen's and Miss Sullivan's.
SEWING MACHINE IN LUGGAGE ROOM
SIBLING'S ROOM
AUNT EVALINE'S ROOM
(Now a small museum)
 HELEN'S CHRISTENING GOWN
 BEAUTIFULLY HANDMADE
(I loved seeing this!)
 BEAUTIFUL LACE

 HELEN'S CLOTHES
AN OLD PHOTO
 THE MIRACLE WORKER PLAY

On Summer weekends during the months of June and July "The Miracle Worker" play is performed on the grounds of the Ivy Green Estate.  I found the scenery fascinating and I hope next summer we can return to Tuscumbia with our Miss K.  I think she would LOVE to see the story of Helen's life unfold for herself.
 AMAZING SET DESIGN
 COMPLETE WITH PUMP
PLAY WATCHED FROM BLEACHERS

I have many more photos I could show you but for now I will leave you with just a few more.

While driving down the Hwy, close to the town of Tuscumbia, I caught sight of something that took my breath away.
 ALABAMA COTTON FIELDS

 Being a native of Southern Cal I had never seen cotton growing in person so I asked my guy to stop by the roadside so I could get a closer look.  As my eyes scanned the land before me I was truly overwhelmed by the burgeoning fields that were white unto harvest.  I stood there for a long time and thought about life in America more than a century ago... As hard as I tried I couldn't even imagine the back-breaking work of hand picking cotton...
BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL COTTON

I snapped off a few tufts of the fluffy white stuff (hoping it wasn't illegal) and brought it home to show our Miss K...

A PLACE OF HONOR

For now I've placed my cotton under glass as a gentle reminder of my trip and how truly easy my work (which I love!) really is...

Now...I've shared with you before that I don't believe in coincidence.  I never have.  I believe my steps are appointed by the Most High and I trust Him to bring encouragement to me no matter where I am or what I may be doing.  I've learned to pay attention to the things God places before me for in doing so I am reminded (sometimes in the strangest of ways) that my life is right on track and I'm doing the very thing I was designed to do...

As my guy and I headed north out of Tuscumbia towards the Tennessee border I caught sight of an aging storefront that bore an almost identical name to my business, A Gathering Place...

Discount it if you must, but for me it was just another way to hear the sweet, consistent voice of the Father.

  "You are right where I want you to be, Rebecca!  Continue to trust in Me and I will show you more than you've ever thought possible!  I love you and promise to direct your every step."

Thank you for allowing me to share with you a little of my recent journey.  While making our way through a bit of Southern America I believe my own eyes and ears were opened to the very blessed life I have!

Blessings and love to you this very day...

28 comments:

Olivia said...

Oh, I adore the antique clothes and yes we are so very blessed our work is easier these days!
Hugs,
Olivia

Rena Nunley said...

I just finished reading these 2 posts about your visit to Helen K's home...SO interesting, I feel like I just made the visit, too! I've always had a certain interest in her story, too.
Thank you so much for posting this!

Ginger said...

What a beautiful trip you took. And I agree with you Rebecca, God was talking to you. Thank you for sharing with us.
Hugs
Ginger

Carina said...

Since your last post I learned a lot about Helen Keller, she was a remarkable woman, who met some famous and interesting people, also I found lovely old photographs of her on the internet also when she was a grand old lady in her eighties. Thank you for sharing this trip with us. Sometimes I just put one or two branches with cotton in a vase, so sereen looks just like snowballs.

Warm regards, Carina

Cora said...

We are truly blessed! Thank you for continueing to share Helen's life with us. And yes we do have it so easy. The cotton is beautiful to me too even though I see it all the time here in southern Alabama. My mother has actually hand picked cotton back when she was a young girl. I love reading books from that time period too.

Deanna said...

Dear Rebecca,
So glad you have shared this with us!
This is really neat. I enjoy historical places and the museums.

How wonderful for you to get to visit this fine place!!!

I like what you have said about our mighty God.
God bless,
d from homehaven

MosaicMagpie said...

Yes indeed my Sister you are right exactally where you should be. What a wonderful trip and time of reflection. Miss K would love to see that play I am sure.
Debbie

Kit said...

What a wonderful trip you had! I loved the pictures of her home. Nice to put her in her home, in my mind. Kit

NanaDiana said...

Dear, Sweet Rebecca,

I wish I could just reach out and give you a big hug! You ARE exactly where you are meant to be-which means you are part of MY life too! I am so glad I came and found you here- xxoo Diana

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Thank you Rebecca for sharing the history and photos. We truly are blessed indeed! I'm so happy that you were able to fulfil one of your dreams and go to Helen's childhood home. What an experience!

Blessings,
Sandi

Roselle said...

I love everything you've shared about your trip. I am a FIRM believer in "confirmation" of prayers. The confirmation isn't always clear but sometimes right before our eyes. The sign you saw reading your business name was your confirmation my friend. I'm glad your eyes and heart were open to seeing it.
LOVE your little Santas BTW!
xo
Roselle

Terra said...

Rebecca, everything you wrote here is charming and true, and I liked visiting Helen Keller's home with you, via this post. I think of God-incidence and not co-incidence. God often puts things together for us.

Marilyn said...

Thanks for sharing with us. I do believe that things are all mapped out for us by our great heavenly father. All we have to do is to trust and obey...one of our favorite songs at church, too! ♥♫

sissie said...

What a wonderful post and tour. Helen Keller's Home and her life is fascinating.

hugs
Sissie

Jo said...

I'm just catching up on my blogging, and these last two posts are SO interesting. What a beautiful home Helen Keller lived in. How said that she could not see the wonderful light that filled it. I suspect she could feel it, though.

It's fun to see a picture of you too. I love your earrings. :-)

Anonymous said...

HI REBECCA'''WHEN I WAS A GIRL,MY DAD PLANTED COTTON....MY MOM AND 3 BROTHERS AND I HAD TO PULL 1 ROW DOWN AND 1 ROW BACK...IT WAS 20 ACRES LENTH LONG''FASTER YOU GET IT DONE THE QUICKER I COULD GO TO THE HOUSE'''I DID'NT LIKE IT AT ALL... ENJOYED LOOKING AT THE COTTON.. AND READING ABOUT YOUR TRIP., YOU DESERVED IT..YES IT IS HARD WORK... HANDS GET SCRATCHED AND SORE AND SORE BACK.. HAVE A GREAT EVENING.. LOHOMA

Rita said...

When I was a youg girl, there was a cotton field in front of our house. I used to want to go out there and pick some of that cotton, but my mother had to do it when she was a girl and said that her daughter was not going to do it. So I never experienced the back breaking job, for which I am thankful now that I am older and "wiser"! But as I grew older, it made me thankful that I did not HAVE to do that! God is so good and has blessed us so much. I'm thankful to Him for the lessons we learn from other's lives like Helen Keller.

Calming Scents said...

What a great post and tour! Those clothes are amazing.

fannipauline said...

I love the picture of the cotton fields. We use to grow cotton in the desert but it got Pink Bowlworm and we plant very little now - but it is beautiful to see it all fluffy and white and soft. I use to use it on Christmas pressnts tied in a bow or take the cotton out of the bowl and spray the bowl gold and add tiny ornaments to it...We use to find lots of ways to decorate with cotton. Jil use to make darling little angel ornaments using really fresh fluffy cotton bowls. Years ago they would sell for $5.00 each.......Hugs, Pauline

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Rebecca, Helen had the most amazing and far reaching life.
Thanks for the wonderful fieldtrip to Ivy Green.
I especially loved seeing the china (because I'll never forget that scene), the old photo and her christening gown.
I'm sure you had the most wonderful time.
What a lovely visit.
Yvonne

Lynn Richards said...

Hi Rebecca!
What a thoughtful, wonderful post! Helen Keller was an amazing, beautiful woman and I am glad to have seen more of her through your blog.
As I have a sister that is deaf, Helen Keller's story has resounded through our whole family.
Thanks so much for sharing!
xo
lynn

Celestina Marie Designs said...

Hi Rebecca,
Oh I have loved reading your posts from the home of Helen Keller. I simply adore her and always have since seeing the movie as a child and reading about her in school.
She is an amazing women!!
Love all your pics shared and the pic of the cotton brought back many wonderful memories from our life in West Texas. We were surrounded in the 80's by cotton fields and it was just lovely to view. So glad you got to also see these gorgeous cotton fields.

So enjoyed your posts and seeing pretty you having a wonderful time in a dream come true.

Hope you have a great weekend. Are you busy??? Should I ask??? LOL It is crazy right now and busy is an understatement, but had to stop by and say hello and glad you are back and had a great time.

Love to you my creative friend!!
Blessings, Celestina Marie

Lesley said...

Thank you so much for the last couple of posts. I have Multiplle Sclerosis, and I get very frustrated on days when I can't do embroidery or crazy quilting. But when I remember how much Helen Keller achieved, it makes me feel so humble Blessings

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Hi Rebecca...

How wonderful! I loved seeing the tour of your trip.

Did your family feel the shakin' in your area while you were gone? I didn't know Oklahoma even HAD earthquakes.... We have so many faults here in on the Pacific coast...

Huggies,
Spencer

Oklahoma Granny said...

As I said before, I truly appreciate the tour. I think the thing that really brought Helen to life to me today was seeing the photos of the actual clothes she wore.

Mari said...

HELLO SWEETIE,

WOW WHAT AN AWESOME TOUR MY FRIEND!! I SO ENJOYED MYSELF :) I ADORE HER CHRISTENING GOWN, HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS!!!

SMILES~MARI

Morning Glory Cottage said...

Thanks for sharing. It reminded me of our two visits to Ivy Green. We would stop on our way from Virginia to Mississippi. Loved visiting this peaceful place. Thanks for brining up great memories.

Tammy said...

It would not sadden me one bit to live in her home. Not for one second. Those beautiful dresses, with a few pounds lost of course, would be wonderful to wear wouldn't they? Times were so simple back in those days and yet very hard to live in. Her story is filled with all the human emotion one can possibly have and yet she still at long last, filled with love! I love her story but I really take heart with her journey. Hugs. Tammy

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