Many of the poets and authors I read in the small press should be on top of the pile rather than a number of the best-selling authors I have attempted to read, only to put them down and reach for a well-read classic. Two books I have recently read are “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville and “The Red Badge Of Courage” by Stephen Crane. These books are heavy reading; not for those who like to move along fast. However, once you have read them, you feel as though you have been on the high seas or survived a war.
Another writer I admire, who in my opinion is now classic, is Maria Von Trapp of Sound of Music fame. The books written by Maria are special for the reason each February, my family and I pack skis and winter gear and vacation at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. This has been a tradition for twenty years. At first, we stayed at the original lodge until it was destroyed in a fire in 1980. The present Inn is very beautiful and luxurious, but it cannot compare to the homey atmosphere of the original lodge.
My favorite recollections of Maria are of her greeting guests in the dining room each evening, wearing a traditional Austrian dress and an endearing smile. At Mass at the quaint Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe, I can still see her bustling down the aisle, attended by a companion or family member. I have been privileged to meet one of God’s chosen.
Maria was an iron-willed woman who never hesitated to say anything. She would not have survived in this country without her strong will. At her funeral in 1987, attended by approximately 200 friends and relatives, Monsignor Paul Taggart quoted a colleague as saying;
“God is going to be in for some surprises with Maria.”
The following books by Maria von Trapp, I warmly recommend;
A FAMILY ON WHEELS tells the story of the Trapp Family’s successful American and International concert tours which carried the entire family from South American cities to the hidden leper island of Molokai in Hawaii.
The Trapp family fled Austria to escape Hitler’s scourge, and arrived in America nearly penniless to begin a new life as professional musicians. In this book, Maria shares the family’s fascinating experiences of home life at picturesque Stowe, Vermont; and their six-year global tour to almost every city of any size in South America, New Zealand, Australia, America, and Europe. On their visit to Austria – after a twelve-year absence – they received a royal ovation which was for Maria an unforgettable moment of happiness and triumph.
MARIA, MY OWN STORY: reveals poignant scenes of childhood, convent life, marriage, and escape from Hitler’s Germany. Maria traces Baroness von Trapp’s adventure-filled and spiritually-overflowing life through the growth of her children, the Lodge at Stowe, Vermont and her dedication to God.
Maria von Trapp grew up in Austria and was left as an orphaned child at a very early age. She joined one of Austria’s strictest convents on the hopes of becoming a nun. As the ‘will of God’ she married Baron Georg von Trapp and became the second mother to his seven children.
Hitler struck Austria and Maria became the guiding force of the family.
Maria was not only a musician, mother, homemaker, lecturer, and world traveler; she is also an accomplished writer. The STORY OF THE TRAPP FAMILY SINGERS was made into the famous play and movie, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, the thrilling story of Maria.
Trapp Family books can be obtained from the Trapp Family Gift Shop located in the Austrian Tea Room, Stowe, Vermont 05672.
*This review was in part taken from book jackets.
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