Saturday, July 29, 2017

This Victorian Life

So this book, This Victorian Life, has been one of the best books I've ever read. The Chrismans, Sarah and her husband Gabriel, live a Victorian life in the small town of Port Townsend, Washington.

In researching this couple, I saw a hate-filled Twitter review by an apparently angry young man, who used the "F" word 7 times in describing them. I'm not quite sure what about their choices infuriated him so much, but I daresay that his hatred of two folks he never met, spoke more about who he is than who the Chrismans are.  

Sarah's book struck a raw nerve among folks her age and got a bit out of control on the Internet.This whole non-controversy speaks a great deal to how intolerant we have become in America. 

The Chrismans support themselves. Sarah is a published author of 2 non-fiction accounts of their lives and of a late Victorian mystery series. She is also a massage therapist who feels her primary responsibility is to home duties. 

Gabriel, an expert rider of the penny farthing type of bicycles, manages a bicycle shop. Both of them provide historical interpretation of the late Victorian period for the public in various events and as consultants.

The Chrismans live the Victorian lifestyle 24/7; clothes, food, transportation, and in the make up of their home. They support themselves and do not expect others to live as they do. The vitriol, death threats, cat calls, and other antisocial behavior towards them has been unbelievable to read about.

Many folks in America claim that one political side is tolerant and the other is intolerant. Perhaps one side is tolerant in terms of progressive social issues such as accepting gay and transgendered citizens, people who use illegal drugs and alcohol to excess, and tolerance towards other like-minded folks who make choices like they do.

However, when people like the Chrismans make the choice to live like Victorians, the tolerance melts away. When Christian individuals or companies do not wish to pay for medical procedures against their value systems, they are considered hateful.  When another family chooses to have as many children as possible to live out their faith in their own way, there is no tolerance for that at all. 

What does the Bible say? 

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands,just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Sarah Chrisman has written a fascinating book about how they came to live as they do. We learn about her daily habits and read about the foraging she does in the woods for berries I never have heard of, such as salmon berries. I read it through in one day, up to 2 a.m. when I had to work the next day.  Yikes.
Do you think Sarah is so unusual? She's a strong woman living her convictions, but her desire to live in a time she prefers is not so different from many of my own practices. 
I often write and tend to dinner at the same time. I just got up and made mashed potatoes using a red World War 2 masher. 
Tomorrow's coffee was set up for brewing in a 1940's era stainless steel percolator with a bulb on the top, in which coffee bubbles up as it percolates. My re-wired chrome toaster once belonged to an elderly neighbor and dates from the 1930's.
Next to my desk is a 1940's tube radio on which I listen to AM stations. FM stations were not available when the radio was made. My desk is a Word WarII era enamel-top dinner table with a silverware drawer.
I make simple skirts from vintage sheets or fabric, hand stitching them.
Let's really be tolerant, peeps, regarding the choices of other folks, unless their choices hurt someone else or are against the law. After all, judge not, lest ye be judged.
And, hey, I'd love to hear your thoughts about this book.

For more information:

Chrisman Web Site

Sarah Alma Chrisman Facebook


  1. How cool, Anne! I'd just seen a mention of this couple for the first time last week at Facebook and thought they were awesome. Folks who buck the crowd in good, imaginative ways always inspire me and even after reading the short article about this 'Victorian couple,' I'm more inspired than ever to pick my own decade in which I'll choose to dwell. Thanks for sharing more here about this brave pair! Blessings, Debra

    1. The book is delightful and worth paying for! After I posted this, I saw your Facebook post and was amazed at hour our thoughts were running along the same lines.