A beautiful, gracious, elegant, elderly women, bent and crooked of body, but upright and brave of mind, has lent me her precious, restored, vintage copy of a book titled Mrs Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch.
Written by Alice Hegan Rice when the 20th century had only just begun, its pages are as thick as board and the story a charm bracelet from beginning to end. I kept pausing to gently thumb the discoloring folios, convinced I had turned ten pages instead of one. But no, the pages are as sturdy, comical, optimistic, and pragmatic as Mrs Wiggs herself.
All the action takes place in an impoverished, ‘queer neighbourhood, where ramshackle cottages played hop-scotch over the railroad tracks.‘
I was as happy as a worm on a leaf, visiting the unpretentious Wiggs family in the Cabbage Patch.
A few lines into the first chapter one reads:
‘…Mrs Wiggs was a philosopher, and the sum and substance of her philosophy lay in keeping the dust off her rose-coloured spectacles. When Mr Wiggs travelled to eternity by the alcohol route, she buried his faults with him, and for want of better virtues to extol, she always laid stress on the fine hand he wrote.‘
Mrs Wiggs gave all her girls ‘jography’ names. One becomes acquainted with Asia, Australia, and Europena. The boys are simply Jim and Billy, and darling boys they are too.
The almost dead horse Mrs Wiggs brings back from the threshold of heaven must also be blessed, according to Billy, with a ‘jography’ name. The ancient animal is christened Cuby. Mrs Wiggs had recently heard talk of Cuba in the grocery store and found inspiration there.
Just about everything Mrs Wiggs says requires an exclamation mark. It’s just how she is!
How can one not love the woman?
Cabbage Patch wisdom…
It gives me great pleasure to share with you a few illustrations from the life and times of Mrs Wiggs, as well as demonstrations of her precious, priceless wisdom.
‘I hold that it’s wrong to keep ever’thing bottled up inside you. Yer feelin’s is like ras’berry vinegar: if you’re skeered to use ’em an’ keep on savin’ ’em, first thing you know they’ve done ‘vaporated!‘
‘Lots of folks is walkin’ ’round jes’ as dead as they’ll ever be. I believe in gittin’ as much good outen life as you kin – not that I ever set out to look fer happiness; seems like the folks that does that never finds it. I jes’ do the best I kin where the good Lord put me at, an’ it looks like I got a happy feelin’ in me ‘most all the time.‘
‘You mark my words, it ain’t never no use puttin’ up yer umbrell’ till it rains!‘
And from Billy…
‘When Jim and Billy came in they found their places at the table taken, so they sat on the floor and drank their soup out of tea-cups. “Gee!” said Billy, after the third help, “I’ve drinken so much that when I swallers a piece er bread I can hear it splash!“
Delightful, isn’t it?
I leave you with the warm, soft Wiggs feelin’ of havin’ plenty of love an’ kindness!
Toodle-oo from the my magical Pumpkin Patch!…
…and an exclamation mark attack!
xxx ❤ TeaShell