Happy Independence Day!
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD... Psalm 33:12a
Today, it's raining. A very welcome blessing after a hot and humid week. My cold is getting better too!
In the 3 previous posts of the von Trapp Series I've posted about the German language, my own appreciation (obsession ;)) with all things Sound of Music, and the genesis of the 1965 film from book to German movie to Broadway play, to American movie. I hope you've found something interesting in each post.
Today, I want to talk about the books written by Maria Augusta Trapp. Here is a link to a list of her books on Goodreads.com
The first book of her's that I ever read was Maria, which is an autobiography of her life starting with her birth on a train headed to Vienna up until living in Stowe, VT in 1972. Throughout the book when certain subjects and stories are mentioned you will see "You can read more about this in The Story of the Trapp Family Singers." (Or whichever book of hers the story is told in more detail.)
I think Maria, though not the first book Maria von Trapp wrote, is an excellent one to start with because it covers her life from the very start. Her style of writing is so easy to read and she has the most wonderful sense of humor! I think a lot of her funny stories are told in The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. This is the book that contains many of the events which are portrayed in The Sound of Music, though the book does differ from the movie quite a bit but it is SO enjoyable to read what this family was really like! This was the first book she wrote but is great to read second.
The best book to read third in my opinion is A Family on Wheels: Further Adventures of the Trapp Family Singers. It is so much fun to read not just about Austria and America, but about the worldwide concert tours of the Trapp Family Singers. I love reading about Maria's persistence to get permission to sing for a leper colony.
Fourth and fifth can be bought as two books in one. Yesterday, Today, and Forever and When the King was Carpenter. Yesterday, Today, and Forever begins with the von Trapps as refugees from Austria and the children (many of them were actually quite grown by the time the von Trapp's immigrated to the US) asking questions about Bethlehem and Jesus. Maria begins to compare fleeing Austria with 9 children to how it must've felt for Joseph and Mary to go from Bethlehem and live in Egypt when Herod declared that all male babies in Bethlehem were to be killed.
When the King was Carpenter is also a very interesting books in which Maria shares what she has learned in research on Jewish customs and daily life and really paints pictures with her words describing how Jesus would have lived from infancy to age 30. It is very interesting and so wonderfully written and full of details! I've been trying to get my family to read it but have been unsuccessful so far. I think they assume I love it so much because it's written by Maria von Trapp, but it is such an interesting and informative book!
I really hope this post has piqued someone's interest into finding out about the real von Trapp family, and not just the group of children put together by casting directors.
Here is a little example of Maria's sense of humor that I mentioned earlier. This is an excerpt from The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.
-Pages 94 and 95, Maria describes a very funny ordeal with her nurse, Sister Agrosia, in a Vienna Hospital while recovering from a kidney stone operation. She wanted pets to keep her company while she laid on her back for a few weeks, and had to get rid of three chicks, which her husband replaced with a little turtle.-
"Sister Agrosia was a saintly nun with only one fault: In her childlike innocence she believed every word I said, however silly my stories might be. She had stirred up in me the urge to find out to what depths her trustfulness would go, which made my stories sillier each day, and still I hadn't reached the limit of her credulity.
When it became evident that Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar had to be taken to greener pastures, Georg went to a pet shop and came back radiant.
"Look what I got you!" and he put a little turtle on my bed. At this very moment Sister Agrosia came into the room.
"Oh," she said, "what is that?" looking curiously at something she had never seen before in her life.
Truthfully I answered: "That is a turtle, Sister."
"A turtle, what is a turtle?" she wanted to know.
That was bad, all my evil instincts were at work.
"A turtle is an animal which feeds on the toes of newborn babies," I said looking straight into her eyes.
This she can't believe, I thought to myself. But I was mistaken.
"Oh, oh!" Sister said, and looked with horror at the little brown lump on my blanket. "But we'll have to be very careful and keep the door shut."
I had been given the only vacant room in the whole house, which happened to be right next to the maternity ward, babies being born constantly all around me.
Cruelly I answered: "That won't help any, Sister, because a turtle can make itself flat like a sheet of paper, crawl under the door and blow itself up outside again."
Sadly I must confess I was not a bit ashamed of myself at that moment, nor was I the next morning when I heard from eyewitnesses that Sister Agrosia had been seen sitting on a chair outside my door with a stick in her hand while the little turtle slept peacefully on my chest.
During the next days I did my best to break the spell. I assured Sister Agrosia that I had been mistaken. This was not the wild type of turtle, but a tame one, living on turtle feed."