Sunday, February 02, 2020

"Dancing in Gumboots" Edited by Lou Allison and Jane Wilde

Have you wondered about what life would be like if you had taken a different path in your youth?

Books like Gumboot Girls and now Dancing in Gumboots make me think? Both are anthologies of memoir vignettes by women who moved to Coastal BC in the 60s and 70s. Their stories are opposite to my choice.

I followed my conventional upbringing until I retired. It was then I followed my heart and moved to live off the grid in Coastal BC.

Dancing in Gumboots: Adventure, Love and Resilience - Women of the Comox Valley (Caitlin Press, 2018), edited by Lou Allison and Jane Wilde, follows in the footsteps of Gumboot Girls.

Dancing in Gumboots shares the lives of 32 women who followed their hearts and dreams in the 70s to Vancouver Island's Comox Valley and the nearby Gulf Islands.
We spent the summer together on the boat, exploring the islands and bays and sailing the straits of Barkley Sound. Brenda Dempsey in "Beyond the Valley"
There is a safe way to be awakened: hook up with another like-minded soul. Josephine Peyton in "Quest for Community"
We gathered oysters, dug for clams and fished. Parksman Pete ran the campground and, from time to time, he'd give us odd jobs to help stretch the dollars. Monika Terfloth in "I Took the Scenic Routes "
Friday was mail day, and all the cabin dwellers came into town for supplies and to get together with friends at the Likely Hotel. Gwen Sproule in "Home is Where the Heart Is"
After every spring season, we set up another camp, this time at the Courtenay Fairgrounds, where we staffed the kitchen for the annual Renaissance Fair. Cara Tilston in "Finding Home"
Many of the youthful arrivals to the Comox Valley have remained in their adopted community. You can read more about these amazing women at their Gumboot Girls Facebook page.

Powell River and Lund also had an influx of adventurous young people during the 60s and 70s. Here are some of their stories.

The Eden Express is a memoir by Mark Vonnegut, the son of famous author Kurt Vonnegut. Mark purchased vacant rural farmland near Powell River that became a haven for people who wanted to get back to the land and live a simple life. It later became Fiddlehead Farm, a hostel for like-minded people.

In The Way Home, Terry Faubert tells her story about coming to Lund, north of Powell River, and building a home for herself and her son. It wasn't easy for a single mom. I was honoured to be asked to help during the editing process of this memoir by a friend from the Powell River Gardening Club.

Adult Child of Hippies was the story of Willow Yamauchi growing up in Lund, a magnet for young people during the hippie and draft dodger movement.  Willow became a CBC Radio producer and interviewed me for about my float garden. The book is full of pictures from that period of time.

The End of the Road was a film recently produced by a Powell River area local Tai Uhlmann about the Lund counter-culture era.


We saw its premier at our local historic Patricia Theatre.

Did you come of age during the 60s and 70s? How did you approach those years? Did you maintain a conventional lifestyle or participate in the counter-culture movement? No matter which you chose, would you have done anything different then or now? -- Margy


There's also the monthly Book Review Club for teen/young adult and adult fiction over at Barrie Summy's blog.

Check out Booknificent Thursdays at Mommynificent.com

Also shared with Your the Star at Stone Cottage Adventures and Book Review Linkup at Lovely Audio Books. -- Margy

30 comments:

  1. This was a great read Margy. A great part of reading for me is, as you say, getting to peer at what taking a different life path might have meant. That doesn’t mean I am, or was ever, dissatisfied with the one I took but that I’m curious and like to learn how others did it and to hear their stories. It’s the closest we can ever come to living more than one life. ... I think reading the best blogs can do that too (and thanks). ... pretty conventional for me, four kids early, PHT degree, working mom (even after he got that degree and went to work) etc...until we retired early and sold out to travel in our RV....that shocked a few of our friends and family. .

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    1. I feel the same way. I'm happy with how my life turned out and the way I got here, but it would have been a grand adventure to leave everything behind and start out with like minded people. - Margy

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  2. My life has always been pretty conventional but I love hearing about moving out to the country and living a more simple life.

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    1. Mine too. I had pretty strict parents and I was a pretty compliant child. But I did dream. - Margy

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  3. Yes, I often wonder what life would be like had I made different choices at various points along the way. I really do enjoy your reviews. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks for the compliment. I find that when I read books I like to make connections with the content and authors. - Margy

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  4. I made some awful choices. I made them and moved on as best I could.
    It sounds like a great book.

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    1. I made some not so good choices, but even the worst one lead to meeting my wonderful husband. - Margy

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  5. I came of age then, but lived a conventional life. Got my college degrees and went to work, but spent my nights folk dancing at different venues. Nice clean family fun, but it was interesting to learn dances from different countries around the world.

    The books sound interesting, but I'll always be a city kid.

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    1. It was an interesting time to come of age. I was a city kid, but camping with my parents every summer gave me a different perspective. - Margy

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  6. I graduated from college in the 70's and I was totally conventional, became a chemical engineer in the energy business. I admire people that followed a different path but I didn't feel led.
    I am amazed by my former friends who have become bitter, jealous, and resentful though, and more amazed by my friends who have become open, generous, and accepting.

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    1. I may have wanted to try something different, but I've never been bitter or sorry - just curious about what things might have been like. - Margy

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  7. I often wonder. There are so many different things I would have liked to try.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. I remember being daring and wearing a granny dress in high school. I must have bought it with my own money and the first time I wore it my dad made me not wear it again because it made me look like a hippie. - Margy

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  8. Yes, I wonder that all the time. I think of all the things I would do different had I had the chance to live my life over again.

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    1. I think more about major crossroads in my life and what would have happened if I hadn't met one person and the domino effect following that. - Margy

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  9. I'm in my late 60's so yes, I was growing up in the 60's. I was a straight lace type of person. I went to a parochial school for 12 years and then nursing school. My parents struggled to pay the bills so I was always aware of the lack of money and always felt responsible to pay my own way as much as possible, so getting a good career was paramount to me. I don't have any regrets at all.

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    1. Sounds like we are kindred souls. I always worked hard in school and knew I wanted to be a teacher, so that helped keep me on the straight and narrow even if my dreams strayed elsewhere. - Margy

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  10. How nice that there is a book about so many women! Thanks for the review.

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    1. They are amazing women and I've enjoyed getting a peak into their lives. - Margy

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  11. Interesting Books, especially about toughts for our life. Its necessary to think sometimes to look back, with the feets nowadays.

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    1. I believe we learn from our choices and maybe even more from what we didn't choose. - Margy

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  12. Thanks for the review. This sounds like an inspiring read. I often reflect on the paths taken in life and where they lead.

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    1. There are paths taken and passed by every day of our lives. Some are major and some minor, we just don't know which will make a difference in our life. - Margy

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  13. I'd like to read it.

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    1. It's available in print online at Amazon, but not as an e-book. - Margy

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  14. My lifestyle was conventional except that I married at 17. My younger sister was a bit of a hippie, living off the grid in the mountains for a while. Then her long-haired husband decided he really missed having a stereo and wanted to return to civilization!
    Oh, about your comment on my blog. I majored in history and photography, and took Civil War courses long after I got my degree. Still go to history seminars rather frequently.

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    1. My link to history is mostly reading books and online. My final paper for my BA was on the Pony Express. That was really run to research in old letters and orders that were available. - Margy

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  15. Informative post ~ books sound fascinating ~ ^_^

    Happy Moments to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  16. Good literature is a joy ❤︎ I list my books on Goodreads.

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We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy