I had another job offer in hand and a deadline for acceptance. The idea of meeting Tasha had been tossed around by a mutual friend, but would the meeting take place? How likely was it that I would meet and be hired by Tasha? Would I really be able to enhance my college gardening studies by working in her garden for the summer? I didn’t know, and I turned that first job down anyway.
Did I mention the limp? My knee was still damaged from a silly winter skiing accident. I did my best to conceal it, though I’m sure I didn’t fool anyone while I moved stiffly through the garden behind Tasha and her friend Linda, who introduced us. Within a month of working in Tasha’s soil, my recalcitrant injury healed.
That first day at afternoon tea, I sensed Tasha’s distress. She moved about and repeated the wonderment that her grandson, Winslow, wasn’t at afternoon tea that day. That first visit foretold my life since then, days tuned to the pitch of the seasons. The day’s tasks directed from within. Comfort in quiet. Since that afternoon in 1998, Winslow and I have married, built our home together and gardened with furious devotion before our two daughters stole the spotlight.
Not a day goes by that I don’t see some new inspiration in how Tasha lived her life. When I was 23, I marveled that she’d already published her first book. Now with young children, a conjured image of her looking down onto her own hands as they washed another mound of diapers, clothes, sheets visits me frequently. In 2015, I was absorbed with her loathing of hurrying. Through all her 92 years, she was compelled to live with beauty. She picked flowers with the joy and frequency of a child.
“Turn loose of it.” She would advise anyone who was encountering an annoyance, however large or small. She has shown me a way to live without complaint, to emphasize gratitude, to look for the joy. I expect more lessons will continue to unfold when I’m ready to see them.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” –Oscar Wilde
And in my turn, I’ve devoted my working life to her. I worked with the family to establish Tasha Tudor and Family in 1999 and have guided it since then. I established the non-profit Tasha Tudor Museum in 2006, knowing our world still needs the inspiration that springs from Tasha’s life. I am frequently aware of my good fortune to work at something I believe in so deeply.