July 11, 2009

Psychotic Review: "See You in a Hundred Years"

Many of us yearn for the simple life and a return to gentler times. Journalist Logan Ward and his attorney wife Heather, tired of their stressful lives and lack of family time, made it a reality, living Manhattan behind not only for farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia but living as if it were 1900.

This book is an account of their year in the country, in 1900, beginning in June 2001 with their culture shock of both small town Virginia and living without the amenities and luxuries we daily take for granted. No more automobiles. No more running water. No more electricity. No cell phones or telephones. No microwaves, dishwasher, washing machine or dryer.

Most interesting to me are Logan's accounts of their daily lives - - with Logan pumping water from a well, milking goats, watching out for snakes and learning how to drive a horse and wagon; Heather cooking three meals a day on an old woodstove, handwashing clothing, including their two year old son's diapers, and keeping an energetic toddler at bay while accomplishing the daily chores. Additionally, both Logan and Heather deal with planting a garden of winter foods, drought, pest infestation (both in the garden and in the house) and safely canning enough food for winter.

While I wish there had been even more accounts of the day to day life, it was rewarding to hear of the Ward family writing letters to family and friends, as well as their evenings spent reading books aloud to each other or simply sitting on their front porch, enjoying both the quiet and their own company.

In the end, the Wards not only found a community that warmly welcomed them (and where they still are, albeit not in 1900) but strengthened their marriage and family. See You in a Hundred Years is a quick and easy read and very entertaining to boot, making the reader wish he could find his own piece of the Shenandoah Valley.

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