Those who are so fortunate as to own Laurie Colwin books never relinquish them. Though they may be dogeared from multiple readings, when it’s time to move on to a new city, a new home, a new life, her books are carefully taken down from the shelf, dusted off, and tucked away in a labeled box, only to be unpacked and positioned on another shelf, in the next place called home.
Her unexpected and premature death has not dissuaded her readers. If anything, their numbers have grown. All of her books are still in print, though her absence has been felt for well over a decade.
Perhaps a certain passage from the title story of “The Lone Pilgrim” could apply to someone you know. It reminds me of my own sister; she cherished hand-me-downs: bowls, utensils, cast iron pans, and recipes that once belonged to our grandmother. She took great joy in trying recipes handed down through our family over the years. She once demanded that I learn to make pastry, and would not relent till we spent an entire day making pies. It was so important to her to pass on the tradition. Laurie Colwin honors tradition and domesticity with her words.
“Oh, domesticity! The wonder of dinner plates and cream pitchers. You know your friends by their ornaments. You want everything. If Mrs. A. has her mama’s old jelly mold, you want one too, and everything else that goes with it — the family, the tradition, the years of having jelly molded in it. We domestic sensualists live in a state of longing, no matter how comfortable our own places are.”
You can find Laurie Colwin’s books here.