RARE AND VERY SCARCE VINTAGE, FROM BAGPIPES TO FOGHORNS BOOK, AN ORPHAN’S ADVENTURE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, PUBLICATION YEAR: 1953, JOSEPHINE TAFT BANIS, 239 PAGES,
Life presented few happy aspects to five- year-old Josephine Taft when she entered the Bears Den School for Orphan Girls, in Scotland, after the death of her mother. The orphanage, like similar institutions in the novels of Dickens, seemed to have but one purpose-to discourage the spirit of the little girls. Discipline came before everything else. For two weeks, every summer, the girls were taken to the seaside on vacation, and a great part of the other fifty weeks of the year was spent in memories of the last vacation and anticipation of the next. Nevertheless, Josephine learned to sew and cook, and when she was fourteen she was sent as maid-of-all-work to a Scottish family, but still under the remote control of the orphanage. With the exception of one kindhearted couple, her new life in service was as unhappy, although for different reasons, as her life in the orphanage.
Release finally came with emigration to the United States, although the sister who had come to fetch her to America was forced to stay in England as there wasn’t enough money for both to. make the trip. ‘ There were other sisters in America to re- join, and her father, a seafaring man, who put in occasional appearances but could never become reconciled for long to life ashore. The next few years of Josephine’s life took her to Boston, New York, and Florida, working for one family or another as a private cook. Her experiences during this period are graphically described and her observations on servant life in the households of the newly rich are both amusing and mordant.
Finally marriage came and a trip to Maine. Both she and her husband fell in love with the Maine coastline, its pines, its rocky shores, its bracing, salty air, and its people. There they settled, and after almost pioneer efforts in modernizing an old farmhouse now run it as a summer re- sort. Throughout her story, Mrs. Banis conveys the feeling of a woman who refuses to be daunted, who is cheerful withal in overcoming adversity, and manages her tasks in life with humor, understanding, and tolerance. In a sense, her story is an immigrant saga of the girl-who-makes-good type but it is much more unusual than most such chronicles and holds interest from start to finish.
SOME EDGE WEAR, NO WRITING, BINDING INTACT, THE DUST JACKET HAS NUMEROUS NICKS AND EDGE TEARS ALONG WITH SUN FADING, THE BOOK HAS A WATER STAIN ON THE FRONT COVER, THE COVERS LOOK STREAKY (GREEN/YELLOW) BUT I’M NOT SURE THAT IT WAS NOT MADE THAT WAY? THERE IS AN UNDATED NEWSPAPER CLIPPING RELATIVE TO THE BOOK AFFIXED INSIDE THE FRONT COVER