YOU and ME and LOUISA, makes THREE

Hi Girlfriends!  Yes!  I had a wonderful birthday, thank you so much for all your well-wishes!  I’m still having it!  Friday is a Girl-Party Lunch on opening-day-for-the-season of a restaurant at the golf course and all the guys are coming too. The birthday that will not end! MUSICA  I heard this on my birthday in the car on the way to lunch and I haven’t been able to stop singing it since, thought I’d spread the wealth.


balloonsSpring has sprung, bo-yo-ying around here!  It’s so wonderful to have an April birthday! Look at my flowers! Gorgeous! This is why I love birthdays.  My mom called, my dad, my brothers and sisters, my friends.  That’s my favorite thing, those calls. ♥  My cup runneth over.

Parrot tulips

These parrot tulips are from my friend Marjorie. We do have daffodils just about to pop in the garden, but it’s still very very early spring.  Lovely sun and around 60* today, but no flowers except on my kitchen table.

Gerbera daisy

Even a gerbera daisy for my little vase ~ still can’t believe Joe found this little blue bottle in the hole he dug out back for our dogwood tree. People ask me where I got it, I say it came with the house. I don’t know which I like better, the dogwood, or this little bottle!  (OK, the tree, but only by a hair.)

birthday party


We went for a walk on my birthday and it was gorgeous out there.  This probably doesn’t look that great to you, winter worn sunand still no leaves, but it was heaven ~ cool breeze but nice warmish sun. When you’ve been indoors for a long time, there aren’t words for how fresh it all seems. Smell of ocean, thawing ground, blue sky, and the birds have lost their little pea-picking minds! Chasing each other through the trees ~ singing so loud, we have to stop the whole way out and look to see what they are up to.


My walk is my best “thinking place.”  I try to remember to carry pencil and paper with me so if an idea pops into my head, I can write it down and not forget. When I get home I run to the studio to see how it fits into my writing.


to the water

 This day we ended up laying flat on the cold sand (in coat and jacket, very cozy, it’s not summer yet!), letting the sun bore into us for about ten glorious minutes, listening to the sound of the waves, the wind and the peeps of the birds, watching the sky ~ of course I had a thought I wanted to write down ~ I dug around and found a pen, but neither of us had any paper! (Or phones either!)

notesThat’s when a white seashell comes in very handy!

Progress on the book (because you’ve been so patient about the blogging part  which I love you for, very, very much!) has been good! This is the longest story I’ve ever written ~ in order to get all the photos in, it has to be two books. I get so excited I can’t stop ~ when I’m in writing mode, I try to stay focused and not do anything else but write.  But both books are done and at the copy editor as of April 12th!  He’ll have them for a month, in the meantime, I’ll be doing the watercolors for them.  I’m trying so hard to get them to you by Christmas, but I still have a ton of artwork to do.  My birthday has jumped between me and my paintbrush this week, but soon I’ll be free to burrow down and focus again.

Tickle-me pink  Once I got going, these books pretty much fell out of me.  They’re not exactly memoirs because I changed a few things to susan branch diariesprotect the innocent (mostly me of course :-), but they are  fact-based ~ on the diaries I’ve kept since I was in my twenties ~ I would say it’s an 87% true story, at least “semi” autobiographical and a novel rather than a memoir, two novels! I think you will love them. Remember Diana, my best friend in A Fine Romance?  Remember how funny she was?  Well, she and I laugh all the way through the new books. It’s so hard for me not to tell you the whole story.  But I want it to be a surprise so tell me to shut up.

birthday party

susan branch 2016 wall calendar

Thank you. I needed that. 🙂 And this was waiting for me on my Birthday too. The color preview of the new 2016 wall-calendar ~ also, the mini, the purse calendar, the magnet and the desk blotter calendars came too. Everything bright and shiny and new.  We should have them by the end of July if not sooner.  And even more good news, Kellee called to tell me . . .

reasons to go on living

that REASONS TO GO ON LIVING prints have come in and are in the web store.  I think she announced it on Facebook, but I promised I’d tell you when we got them.  

And, you may be asking, what did I want for my birthday? You can  see it was already a Red Letter Day ~ but my special birthday present was . . .

IMG_0683This.  I wanted to go to Louisa May Alcott’s house and take you with me.  So that’s exactly what we did yesterday.  Joe and I packed the car for a day trip along the backroads to Concord, MA ~ a town famous for lots of reasons, probably number one, because it’s where the first conflict of the Revolutionary War took place. And, it’s also famous for Orchard House (c. 1690), the house where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women.

birthday party



Speaking of memoirs that turn into novels; we learned so much on our visit . . . for one thing, Little Women is 87% true too ~ Louisa changed names, places, and times to make it more of a “story,” but it was truly based on her life, friends and family. It was so much fun learning about her real sisters and seeing how much they had in common with the characters, Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth.


And here at the front door, you can see the perfect reflection of spring . . . tiny leaves about to burst.


In the orchard, one or two of these brave flower souls.

spring fever


Louisa’s dad made this “desk” for her ~ this is where she wrote Little Women.  It was considered quite something in 1865 for a woman to have a desk of her own. I am so glad she did!

“Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and fall into a vortex as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace.”   Louisa May Alcott

flower border

The table where Jane worked

But look at this desk, it’s even smaller, this is where Jane Austen wrote during the most prolific time of her life in early 1800’s.  At this tiny desk.  I don’t know how these girls did it. I always ask, “How did they do it, were there piles of paper all around them on the floor?”  But no one knows.

flower border

susan branch studio

 This is where I write . . . I live in the Paperless Society, my trash is full and my floors are always covered with little bits and piles of book everywhere that we all have to step around. With all this space I have no excuses for not getting it done! One thing Louisa and I have in common, until I get it done, I will find no peace either.

flower border

working in the living room

My work in the paperless world leaks out of the studio to the back of the sofa and right now, the table in the living room is covered with photo albums!  Jack is king of the room, everything he surveys is his. I don’t know how he gets up there!

flower border


This was my favorite thing at Orchard House, that owl over the fireplace in Louisa’s bedroom (where the desk is too). Her sister May (the artist, Amy, in Little Women) painted it.  When she was young, the Alcott’s encouraged May to draw anywhere in the house she wanted to, many walls are adorned with her art. She also painted the flowers next to Louisa’s desk.


Louisa collected owls. Isn’t this just the most wonderful thing?!

May Alcott at Orchard House

Besides line drawings, there are also some amazingly beautiful framed pieces belonging to May. She was quite highly regarded.  BTW, Those are needlepointed foot warmers on each side of the fireplace; the tops come off and you fill them with coals!


Almost everything in the house actually belonged to the family.  You are seeing the real thing when you go to Orchard House.

alcott dishes

A cupboard in the kitchen.


They made the house so homey.  It opened to the public in 1911 ~ keeping all of the history and originality has been a work of love for over a hundred years, for generations.

alcott quilt

This quilt was on Marmee’s Bed, she made it.  And they did call their mother Marmee.


Louisa’s sewing box, with needles and thread. 


And Beth’s piano.  Not really.  But when I came in this room, tears came in my eyes.   The piano belongs to Louisa’s real sister, Elizabeth.  Like Beth, Elizabeth died very young at only age 16.

piano at orchard house

That’s Elizabeth in the picture. It’s all seems to come alive.

from the Concord Museum

I think I will stop there.  Next time I want to show you some of the houses in Concord because they are GORGEOUS.  This scene is actually a model made in 1930 . . . we saw it in the Concord Museum, so there’s lots more.

Birthday game

This is the birthday game my girlfriends and I play ~ we call it the “Ring Thing.”  We drop our rings over the candles, light them and then everyone gets to make a wish.  Let’s do that girls, let’s all make a wish.  Think of a wonderful wish, I’ll count to ten.  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  OK, now very slowly, close your eyes and make your dearest birthday wish . . . and send all of your lovely thoughts right to heaven along with mine. XOXO 

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604 Responses to YOU and ME and LOUISA, makes THREE

  1. Shirley Poe says:

    Your blog brought back some beautiful memories! When I was a little girl visiting my grandparents (I just celebrated my 79th birthday), I loved to spend some time alone on what we called the ‘side porch’ where it was quiet and my imagination could run away with me. There were lovely flowering shrubs growing almost up against the porch and I can remember pretending I was ‘Under the Lilacs’ with Louisa May Alcott.

  2. Susan says:

    Happy Birthday dear girl friend! You make our lives so much happier by just being YOU!!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  3. Chris says:

    Dear Susan

    Thank you so much for taking us to Orchard House. Many times I took my daughter and her friends there when we lived up north. And many times I had wished to be able to take my 3 granddaughters. They did grow up reading about their incredible New England history and are as enchanted as their Nana and Mom were.

  4. I love that you wanted to go to Orchard House for your birthday! I share Louisa’s and her father’s birthday (November 29th) and have always felt a kinship to them even though I’ve never actually read any of her books! But I’ve read Bronson’s biography as well as several about Louisa. That’s because I prefer true-to-life over a fictionalized version, I suppose. I was able to visit in 2006. They must not have allowed photos then because I only have outside shots and postcards for indoors. I appreciated seeing your photos because I think I missed “seeing” so much because of being in awe. I hope you also visited Walden Pond. We went in the autumn on a week day when it was not crowded. It was a mystical experience to walk the path around the pond. That whole time period of the Alcotts and Emerson and Thoreau make that area a special “vortex” of creativity! I had to go back to Concord House the next day to get a photo of myself in front of the house. I hope you got one of yourself, too. If not, you MUST go back and do it!

    • sbranch says:

      I have that same thing, its almost always more about the person than it is their work for me. Of course I LOVE Little Women, but Louisa May Alcott is a fascinating person. We are going back!

  5. Diane says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Dear Susan! It sounds like you had a delightful day. I myself celebrated my birthday yesterday. My husband laughs and shakes his head as a couple of years ago, I proclaimed that I had decided that it made sense to have a season for celebrating one’s birthday and I would henceforth celebrate “my very own birthday season”. I’m making the most of it by eating Godiva chocolates today after last night’s supper of a juicy hamburger and chocolate milkshake. In another week, we will go to an antiques festival not far from here where I hope to find a special treasure to continue my birthday season. My grandchildren called to sing Happy Birthday and I’m noticing now that the boys are getting older, they are not nearly so loud in their singing…probably pretty embarrassing for them, but they are good to obey their parents and sing to Nana anyway.

    Isn’t April the most wonderful month of the year? I love the rain, counting the frogs sounding off in our wee pond after a long winter, and sitting on the porch listening to the birds singing birthday songs to me. At least I think they’re birthday songs. If they’re not really for me, I don’t mind, as their songs are such a welcome salutation to spring.

    Your visit to Orchard House was beautiful and I thank you for taking us all along. Can’t wait ’til you’re finished with your book.

    Love from Diane in North Carolina

  6. Suzie Wullschlager says:

    Beautiful post. I was there last summer and missed some of the things you saw- an artist’s eye for beauty notices everything. One of my favorite stops on our visit to Concord was the public library. There is a quilt there which is signed by many famous children’s book authors- a real treasure. Spring has come and gone here in Pasadena, but I am reliving it thru your blog. Thank you for the joy. Suzie

  7. Charlene Hisayasu (S.F.Valley) says:

    A Belated Happy Birthday, Susan! Congratulations on completing the writing of TWO books!!! My carpel tunnel symptoms are tingling just thinking of all that work! 🙂 I celebrate you today as I begin my own little art project. Thank you for awakening a fanciful, creative zing in my own heart. ❤ ❤ ❤

  8. Sharon in So. Calif. says:

    I have not “written” you in awhile, but could not live with myself if I didn’t send to you the Happiest of Birthday wishes. Adored your post, your flowers are so beautiful. Was so glad to hear you & Joe got to finally take your ‘walk’. I could almost smell that fresh air from here, lol. (loved your seashell note), maybe that could be a future giveaway!! I would love it to pieces!! Thank you for the tour of ‘Orchard House’, I too love Little Women and their house, just wonderful, I especially liked those precious foot warmers and Marmees quilt. Have the best-est ever rest of your Birthday week! P.S. Sooooo excited to hear BOTH books done!! WOW, you are amazing, and a true blessing to us girlfriends and every Susan Branch fan! Much love from sunny Cal. (windy too) VERY windy……….xoxoxoxoxo

  9. Ann says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan. Thank you for bringing us along to Orchard House – what a treat. I’m looking forward to your new book(s) too!

  10. Dear Susan,
    Now I feel an even closer friendship with you after reading of your journey to Orchard House and the Concord Museum. Living in Acton for 37 years, before making the move two years ago to Wells, Maine, both places in neighboring Concord were favorites of mine to visit and write about. I covered events at both for many years in my columns in the Lowell Sun and still treasure those favorite memories. Love, love, love Orchard House and the executive director Jan Turnquist, who portrays Louisa on various occasions. When Louisa was honored posthumously by the Lowell Sun two years ago as one of the region’s outstanding women, Louisa (aka Jan) showed up in perfect Victorian garb to accept her award. And she also was at a children’s tea at the Concord Museum to which I took my granddaughter Molly several years ago. Louise (aka Jan) had a wonderful conversation and I wrote a memoir piece that I called “When Molly met Miss Alcott.” Thanks for reviving my memories of these wonderful places, an incredible writer and a beautiful town.
    Also, my dear hubby John shares an April 12 birthday with you. He had a wonderful one, including a surprise visit from our daughter, and lots of calls, cards and dinners out. Happy Birthday to both of you!
    Nancye T., Wells, Maine

  11. Mary S. says:

    I didn’t know I missed your birthday! So here’s a belated “Happy Birthday, Susan! I love you, and I’m so glad you were born! You are truly a gift to the world!”. Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  12. Gail M. says:

    Happy, happy birthday week!!! What a delightful post this is! I am fascinated by the history of the east coast, and you truly brought the places you visited to life! Enjoy all your celebrations and many thanks for sharing with us!

  13. Toni from Sylvania, OH says:

    Happy Belated B.Day wishes to you, sweet Susan:-))) Sounds like your day was wonderful! SOOOO glad to get your latest post. I’ve MISSED YOU 🙁
    Such excitement in your life…sooo GOOD…for heart…for soul…for LOVE!
    Still waiting for spring to show it’s face…still cold and windy. It’s HARD to wait when you know…from experience…how DELIGHTFUL it will be :-)))
    Love to all of you…especially kitties…Toni xoxoxo

  14. Anne in Maine says:

    Happy, Happy Belated Birthday Susan! Sounds like you had a wonderful day in Concord. Even though I’m from Mass. I’ve never visited there. Definitely putting it on my “to visit” list for this summer! Can’t wait for your new books. Also must tell you that I received the Emma Bridgewater teapot as a surprise present. I used your picture of the teapot on the quilt as my screensaver. Someone remembered it and got it for me as a thank you. Such a wonderful surprise. ! Have a wonderful, joyful Spring day!

  15. Loris Mills says:

    Happy Birthday! Mine is in April too. Isn’t this a gorgeous month to celebrate.
    The season is all fresh and new. Hope you have a wonderful year. Thank you for sharing those lovely pictures and thoughts about Louisa May Alcott. I love her and Jane both. Such pathfinders!

  16. Christine from CA says:

    Sounds like your Birthday was more than wonderful! I always think of my birthday week! My daughter in law thinks of Birthday month!! All in all just celebrate!!!
    Louisa May Alcott is one of my favorites so loved seeing her real home. Charming!! My mother was named for Jo, and I always thought I would be like Jo in Jo’s Boys. She says she was really Amy and I think she was right. I did end up rearing extra children! I was also a teacher. Such joy they bring to life. They kept us young. Now we are on to Our life and loving it too!
    Thank you again for your always wonderful post!

  17. Lori C. says:

    Thank you Susan for sharing your Birthday trip to Orchard House with us! I have always wanted to go there – I have loved every single movie they have made of Little Women (even the television one with William Shatner as Professor Bhaer – and Eve Plumb as Beth – I know – mind boggling – Star Trek and The Brady Bunch!). My one trip to MA – and Martha’s Vineyard – we made it to Concord just as they were closing! Noooooo! So this was so wonderful seeing your gorgeous photography and comments! So glad you were born!

  18. Carolyne says:

    ♫♬Happy Birthday♪
    I am so delighted to be able to order the “Reasons..” print at long last. I’ve had it on my computer desktop several times over the last couple of years and now to have a Real framed one will be extra special~! ♥

  19. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    I know how you feel about Beth…our high school recently performed the musical Little Women, and when Beth died, I had to try hard not to openly sob. The young actress who played Beth made it seem so real.

    If you enjoyed the Alcott house, you might also enjoy Emily Dickinson’s house in Amherst, MA. It’s easy to imagine Emily lowering treats to local children in a basket from her second-floor window. But perhaps you’ve already been there.

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t yet!

      • There’s a lovely B&B just across the street. We stayed in the turret room and could see Emily’s house across the street. I could go over early in the morning and sit in her garden. When I was there a huge dog, much like the one she had, ran into her garden and circled me. There are some wonderful biographies out there about her and her brother who lived next door.

    • Margot }~~~O @ Virginia Beach says:

      How did I miss all these places when I lived in NE?! I guess I was too busy hiking 2 boys up the white mountains!

  20. Keep celebrating Susan! Thank you for taking us along with you on your birthday trip to the Alcott Homestead. Wow! It gave me goosebumps too! “Christopher Columbus!” Your comparisons between the two writing spaces was wonderful. How did they do it back when? We certainly have taking on so much in today’s world (especially our paperless world???) I don’t know about you but I have difficulty throwing paperwork out. H-e-l-p!

  21. Jane Franks says:

    Another wonderful blog post, Susan. Thanks for another stroll through the Alcott home. They took us there on buses as kids! Part of the school program. Weren’t we blessed? I never take that for granted! To have all this implanted in your brain as a young child! It is so wonderful. I’m eager to see the rest of Concord, too! The “rude bridge that arched the flood”, etc. So glad you had such a happy birthday, and glad spring is finally arriving in MV. Have a wonderful time! I think it is all the more wonderful after such a long time with snow. Spring is a real “event” in New England. We are full into it here, and it has been just beautiful and a real gardening event, too! I am thoroughly enjoying it! Digging some new beds and pruning and planting new things! Surrounding our lives with living beauty! Thanks again for adding so much beauty to our day! xo

    • sbranch says:

      Yes you are lucky! We went to the LaBrea Tar Pits! Interesting, but no Orchard House!

      • Jane Franks says:

        I thought the LaBrea Tar Pits were interesting, too!! But you are right — not like New England literary history & architecture. After being away, New England seems so . . . English! (surprise!) to me now. I think I took it for granted when I was young. Interesting story about the tar pits! We took a group of Gene’s students to the LA Art Museum, back in the day, and had a picnic on the lawn near the tar pits (don’t know if they let you do that anymore!), and Gene nonchalantly leaned against a tree and got tar all over his shoes! It was a “boggy” tar spot!! Made everybody’s day!! 🙂

  22. Judi Green says:

    What a beautiful birthday…full of Springtime! I feel so happy after reading your beautiful blogs. They make me love life even more than I already do when viewed from your corner of Smallville! “Happy, Happy Burthday, from Judi in AZ”!

  23. Trisha K says:

    Happy Birthday! Although, I feel like its mine, I love LMA books, and I have read several biographies about her family and of other Concord residents, I really hope to visit someday. I always forget to ask if you have been there, but I’m so excited to see all that you want to share about your visit! Thanks for including us in your birthday wish, I hope and pray this is our best year yet!

    • sbranch says:

      I went a very long time ago, when I first moved to the island, but I needed to go back, I didn’t have enough pictures!

  24. Deborah says:

    Orchard House was the highlight of my visit to Boston a few years ago–it took some convincing to get someone to go with me and the cab fare was pricey but it all worked out–the cabbie let us stay as long as we wanted (did some serious damage in the gift shop too) and as it happened I ended up going with someone named Jo 🙂 Little Women inspired me to want to become a writer at an early age and Louisa May Alcott will forever be my favorite author. Nora Ephron’s movie did the story justice for sure. I encourage any and every fan to pay the house a visit; it will exceed your expectations guaranteed! Thank you Susan for making me aware of Orchard House as you mentioned it in one of your books early on.

    • sbranch says:

      You can feel the family in the house, don’t you think Deborah! Such large rooms too, I was surprised.

  25. Elizabeth from Odessa, Tx says:

    Your blogs are a breath of fresh air. This one came at a good time as I broke my foot and sprang my wrist last week and am still in a great deal of pain.

  26. Rebecca says:

    So excited to hear about the progress on your new books, like so many others I absolutely cannot wait to read them when they come out! Thanks for sharing that with us!

  27. Asha says:

    Hi Susan! So happy to see you had a wonderful birthday. We are so blessed to live in New England! The history here is wonderful. I LOVE the birthday cupcake tradition and may adopt it for my three special girlfriends. We celebrate our birthdays together each year and this would make it even more special. Thank you for sharing. It will be even more special when I tell them it came from Susan Branch! Love ya! OX 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, wishing with your girlfriends on their special days, and on yours, is really a nice thing.

  28. Jennifer Farnes says:

    i so loved my visit to concord all those years ago! i remember our trip to the sleepy hollow cemetery and finding all the famous people buried there: emerson under a huge rock…can you imagine it? i loved the statues by daniel chester french and found his grave cleeeear on the other side of the cemetery. i loved poking around walden pond and visiting some of the other homes by famous authors that were pleasant companions to louisa may and her family. they talked about their books…i found that extraordinary. i so long to go back there some day. i felt their ghosts and muses and the little bits of them that still roamed those houses and grounds. so happy you had the chance to go there.

  29. alice says:

    Susan , Happy Birthday! Thank You for showing the pictures of Louisa May Alcotts house, so beautiful. Have a great day!
    Your Friend, Alice

  30. Cathy says:

    Belated Happy Birthday! I am SO glad you posted those pictures. I drove by the Alcott house many, many years ago but did not go in. I didn’t realize you could tour it – I now have a reason to go back to Concord. Like many women, Little Women is one of my favorite books and I love watching the movies that were made about them over and over.

    Cannot wait to read your newest book. Very excited! Have a wonderful evening.

  31. Michele says:

    Happy, HAPPY Birthday, Susan!! (and thank you for sharing!!! I am so glad we get to go to places with you! Places I’ve never seen, but love! :0)

  32. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    So glad you had a very happy Birthday! Thank you for taking us to Louisa May Alcott’s house. Little Women is one of my favorite books, favorite movies ever. The house even looks like the house in the movie. Funny seeing Jack up on top of the cupboard…no one knows how those kitties do the things they do. Last night I was looking everywhere for my little yellow kitty. I could hear her meowing but couldn’t see her….she was up on the roof! My daughter and I ran upstairs raised the window, sat on the window seat and hung out the window wooing her into the house. She was so scared; so were we!!! Have a wonderful rest of your “birthday week”….cause birthdays do last all week in my opinion 🙂

  33. shirley burt says:

    Susan, the Birthday Girl, what a wonderful time you are having. Extending birthday celebrations is always a good idea. Thank you for sharing the fun, the awakenings of spring in your area, a charming birthday ring and candle wish with your girlfriends, your trip to visit Louisa May Alcott, and how lucky we are to go with you and learn so much, and hints of more to come. We are certainly enjoying your birthday. Thank you bunny bunches for sharing your world.
    Love and bunny hugs,
    Shirley from Aledo, Tx
    We can hardly wait until we are allowed to pre-order the Books and the calendars . Excitement abounds.

  34. Mandy Tackett says:

    When we were young, my family vacationed every year in Concord. As grown people, my sisters and I and our husbands have been back often, staying at the Colonial Inn. I remember my favorite thing touring Orchard House as a child was the “sausage pillow” as we used to call it, small, brown and rolled-up on display in the Alcott living room. Great memories! And belated Happy Birthday, Susan – mine was April 11th. We Aries are good people! 😉

  35. Holly says:

    Thank you for taking us to Concord. It was a very nice surprise to find here today. I loved Little Women, and read it over & over around age 12 …. then found all her other books! Great thing to do on your birthday! I’ve also started doing something I special to just me on my birthday…. antique shopping, or a trip somewhere… it makes getting older something to look forward to if there’s a great day out involved!

  36. Cyndi in NC says:

    What a great trip you had. I always love our trips. You are so very kind to bring us along. I hope we didn’t leave too many crumbs in the back seat!! I have a copy of Little Women at was my great Aunt Margaret’s. I think it was published in 1910. She was born in 1898. I loved reading her book so much.

  37. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Happy ~ Happy ~ Birthday!~ ❤️

  38. Happy birthday says:

    May You have all the joy and more than you have given to us!

  39. barbara L. says:

    Happy birthday Susan and thanks for the trip.
    Maybe you and Joe should leave your beautiful home
    to a society in your town as a museum for future
    generations to enjoy… course not anytime soon:)
    Looking forward to those 2 books.

    • sbranch says:

      Ha! Well, at least that would solve the problem of what to do with my old books and dishes! xoxo

  40. Karen Cheyne says:

    Happy Birthday Susan. I’m looking forward to your new books. Just a wee request. Would it be possible for you to sell them again via Book Depository like you did with A Fine Romance. It is so much easier and cheaper to buy them with free delivery for us who live Downunder in New Zealand. I love your ring cupcake wishes idea as I love candles as well.

    • sbranch says:

      I will try — if, when the time comes, you don’t see them there, remind me and I’ll see what I can do.

  41. Pat C. says:

    Your birthday celebrations sounded wonderful, Susan! And your blog was like a birthday card to all of us. Thank you for always uplifting us and making us smile.

  42. Sandy from New Vineyard says:

    Glad to hear that your birthday was wonderful! And you made my day wonderful with sharing your trip to Orchard House. That has been on my “life celebration” to do list for quite a while now. “Little Women” has been my favorite book for a long time. I collect anything having to do with that story: movies, cookbooks, Christmas ornaments, etc. My sister even made me a “Little Women” quilt for my birthday one year. Each square had something on it depicting a scene from the story. Then we used it another time as a backdrop for a family “Little Women” tea party. And I collect other Louisa May Alcott books as well. Can’t wait to go on my own trip there! Thanks so much for sharing yours!

  43. Audrianne Hill says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan!

    When my nieces and nephews turn 13, I take them on a trip. One trip we made was to the Boston area and to Concord. We loved Orchard House and later, quite by accident, we found Chesterwood, the home of Daniel Chester French who sculpted the statue of Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial. HE was the teacher of May Alcott – Amy in the books. It is a beautiful place to visit as well.

    • sbranch says:

      We heard quite a lot about Daniel Chester French also. Actually we heard it the other way around that May discovered him, as a child, carving turnips in their garden.

  44. Happy birthday, dear Susan… that post was as beautiful and delicious as the be-ringed cupcake looks to be, in your last photo. And your work-in-progress sounds fantastic. I hope you will offer another pre-order on the books (very exciting to write books – plural – instead of book!!) – what a wonderful winter reading experience to look forward to. You’re such a joy-bringer, thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      As soon as I have more art finished and get a little closer to done, I’ll do that Sarah! xoxo Thank you

  45. Janine says:

    You would enjoy the book “the Peabody Sisters of Salem”. They knew the Alcotts and the book is interesting and well researched, with lots of quotes from letters and information on many things happening in Mass that I never heard elsewhere. 1 sister married N. Hawthorne and was an artist, the other married Horace Mann, and the third gave us kindergartens. She worked closely with Mr. Alcott and I got quite a different picture of him than what Louisa represented!

  46. How lovely to visit Louisa May Alcott’s house. What young girl hasn’t read Little Women and sobbed over it? My daughters also loved it and watched the old movie endlessly.

    I’m looking forward to seeing more of your trip. And Happy (belated) Birthday!

  47. Liza Wolfe says:

    I’d think our birthdays are close. I just celebrated mine and am off tomorrow to see the Grand Canyon(bucket list gift from my sister) which includes another bucket list item – a helicopter fly over the Canyon.

  48. Mary Whiting says:

    Happy Birthday Susan,
    I loved seeing you went to Concord for your special day! It is my favorite place ever. My parents, with their love of history and literature, took us often as children. My husband and I honeymooned there – a perfect October setting. And we return every other year on our anniversary staying at the Colonial Inn. Orchard House is my favorite of all the homes. How lucky you could share that for you birthday! My husband and I are off to England next week and are touring Highclere Castle, as I mentioned before. I told you I will take your book with us and try to photograph it next the mantle and red sofas you love. I don’t know about photography inside but will do what I can. I will definitely take “you” somewhere at “Downton”. And I know where Violet’s home is so that is on the books, too. I can’t wait to visit Bibury. Happy Birthday, again.
    Mary from Michigan

    • sbranch says:

      We had lunch at the Colonial Inn… what a wonderful place! I’m so excited for you Mary!! Your trip is going to be wonderful. And you’re taking our little book! XOXO

  49. Anne B. says:

    Happy Birthday!! Thx for sharing Louisa’s house – just wonderful.

    I’m chuckling at Jack high atop the dresser – my kittie does the same thing! I also wonder how she gets up there – don’t think I want to know

  50. Gina P. from NY says:

    Hi Susan!

    As a fellow Aries (March 30th), I want to wish you a Happy Birthday, and many, many more… I know about the birthdays that go on for days! Mine kept going for almost a week! Too much cake, dinners/lunches out… the diet has begun : (

    Like you, I am also enjoying this beautiful Spring weather. It is so nice to open the windows and breathe in the fresh air. So nice not to see piles of “dirty snow” everywhere. They are all gone – even those mountainous piles in the shopping center parking lots!

    Thank you for sharing your road trip to Louisa May Alcott’s house! Lovely! Can you imagine the authors of the day writing their books? No ballpoint pens, no computers, maybe not even a typewriter? So nice to see some of her personal things, and Elizabeth’s piano and artwork. Have you ever been to “The Mount” in Lenox, MA – Edith Wharton’s home? I visited there, and it is lovely and worth a visit. The grounds/gardens alone are enchanting. And speaking of paper everywhere, I read once that Edith, although she had a desk in her library, would actually write her books sitting in bed – dropping the written sheets on the floor until her secretary would collect them and type them up! So you are in good company with those papers all over the house!

    I wish you a year of good fortune, good health, and happiness… Very much looking forward to the new books – just in time for the Holidays – and hunkering down for the winter… nothing like a good book and a nice hot cup of tea to warm the soul!

  51. Ann Y in PA says:

    Happy Birthday to YOU….looks like you had a perfect day ! Thank you for sharing it with us. Visited the Concord area, but did not get to Orchard House, so now another visit is ” on the list”. I loved seeing the bridge where the battle took place, and the monument to the British soldiers who perished there. We study so much history and we forget about those boys…who were somebody’s sons… and died so far from home. God bless them.
    Enough sadness. SPRING…loving it. Opened the gas grill and there were NO critters ( mice or chipmunks) making a nest over the winter. Yippee ! I hate to kick them out, but I am ready for grilling. Thanks for making all the seasons sweet for us, Susan !

    • sbranch says:

      There is so much in Concord, we barely touched it but we’ll definitely go back for a longer visit.

  52. Hope you had a chance to meet Jan Turnquist, the executive director of Alcott House. She also becomes a fabulous Louisa May Alcott, so much so that I honestly feel I know two people— Jan and Louisa. If you go again, please say hello for me. Hopefully Jan will remember me as a fellow presenter at DeFuniak Springs’ Winter Chautauqua.

    • sbranch says:

      She wasn’t there, but we did see her in the little film, what a wonderful job she did as Louisa!

  53. Diane M. says:

    So glad to hear that you had a Wonderful Birthday. I loved reading about it. I love reading all your stories. Thank you so much for sharing!
    I love the birthday game that you and your girlfriends play! How Fun!
    May all your wishes come true.
    Diane M.

  54. Your posts are always so FULL, I don’t know how or what to comment on! It was a pleasure to read in every way! Thanks for making Louisa May Alcott come alive again, and happy birthday again! Those flowers!!!!!!

  55. Debra Henderson says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan! My daughters and I so enjoyed our tour of our “Little Women” author’s home! Can’t wait to see the rest of your tour! Its like a mini-vacation!
    BTW, we think we’ve figured out how Jack gets on those blankets. We have a cat named Basil who can perform similar feats. The darling dears!!!

  56. Jody says:

    Happy, happy Birthday Susan!!
    I love your “ring thing.”

  57. Jan says:

    Happy Birthday!! Happy Easter and Happy Spring! Better late than never I guess. What a wonderful birthday trip. So glad that you have shared it with us. Started reading Little Women awhile ago and I actually had forgotten about it. It was a book I had never read as a child and had always wanted to. The new calendar is sooo cute! Am looking forward to the publication of your new books – how exciting for you! Also wanted to comment on what a talented lady Margot is too. I was in awe of her work. I must also say what a beautiful daughter and granddaughter she has. Sorry I am SO late with these comments. Seems there is not enough time in the day. Love all of your flower pics too. My miniature daffodils are just starting to bloom. Am hoping this wonderful Spring weather continues. You needed that birthday break! Enjoy!

  58. Debbie S., IL says:

    A very Happy Birthday Susan! I love the “Ring Thing” you do with your girlfriends, how original and fun! Thank you for taking us to Orchard House, Little Women is such a beloved book that is so timeless. I always look forward to where you’ll take us next!

  59. Kate says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! Glad you are having the birthday week that you deserve! Surrounded by all those that love you! I have to agree with you that the birthday calls are THE BEST! I spent all day on the phone on my birthday talking to all my friends and family and was even too tired to go out to dinner that night – so take out it was! Thanks gor all the loving kindness you send to ‘the girlfriends’ thru the year! Have a great rest of your birthday week! Bet the cats are exhausted…

  60. Maryann Howell says:

    Oh I loved this! Thank you so much for sharing it. I loved the Alcotts family encouraging their daughters talent of painting. The owl and the flowers were fantastic! And how great that her Father made her the desk. What a wonderful creative environment to grow up in. Cannot wait for your book and for your next blog! so fun!!

  61. Linda Wiernusz says:

    What a great town we love concord! We have a silhouette from an antique shop in town. I can’t wait to read what you write about The Old Manse! Thanks for sharing your birthday with all of us.

  62. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Happy Birthday, Dear Susan, ( sung in my best sing-songy voice!). Glad you had and are having a lovely birthday! Thanks for sharing your trip to Louisa’s house.

    • Sarah Maldonado says:

      Part of my post disappeared when I hit send. Oh well, I just wanted to add that I loved how they were allowed to draw on the walls. Can’t wait for your new books! Spring is here, too. I’m awaiting the hatching of Carolina wrens. I watched the mom and dad diligently build a nest in my schoolhouse birdhouse.

      • Susan P. says:

        Susan and Sarah, My daughter, JENNY, is the artist in our family. She loves to paint…and when she was 11 or 12..she asked if she could paint a mural on her bedroom wall. Well of course you can…I said…we actually took the old wall paper off and gave her “Blank Walls” to create with. I am so glad she did her tree with fairies flying through it….for I am the luckiest mother now…for it is my Serendipity Room…where dreams can come true… and I so enjoy all of her art in that room..I will never paint over it. My 3 sisters and I played Little Women…I was Jo… I (hope) I passed my artistic freedom on to her…I think I did. I so enjoyed the treat of visiting Orchard House…I may get there someday…but for now I can dream and enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing your birthday trip with us. Loved the ring cake and I am also a great believer of enjoying your birthday….a week before and a week after. The children enjoyed it also hahaha Love, Susan P.

        • sbranch says:

          That is fantastic! Is Jenny still doing art?

          • Susan P. says:

            Yes, Jenny is a photographer and still does some paintings. When you shared with us about Margot Datz….my first thought was, that is my Jenny…especially the way she dresses…my daughter is just like that…a pretty scarf and earrings to match….and always the beautiful but amazing clothes. I shared that blog with my daughter. We had a baby Tea Shower for new baby Lincoln….theme was Owls…and she was in charge of all the decorations… simple but very magical….Of course she is my daughter and as you can see I am very proud of her….thanks for “blank wall” to brag a little ….the rest of that wall today will be filled with planting and cleaning the gardens. Thank you for your inspirations and motivation to me….enjoy your Sunday and I hope there is still some Birthday Cake for you. Love, Susan P.

          • sbranch says:

            She sounds wonderful Susan, and obviously has a wonderful mom. xoxo

  63. Brenda Caldwell says:

    Happy Birthday dear Susan~!!~ Your flowers are beautiful : )

  64. rachel says:

    May the candle burn forever, and those rings be circled round it for a hundred years.

    Many, many more, and triple for the joy you spread.


  65. Cindy Taylor says:

    Happy happy birthday! I love starting out withLou Christie! Love that song! I thought he was so sexy!
    I am enjoying the tour of Concord. Can’t wait for the next part.
    I am enjoying Spring so much my bleeding hearts are all bloomed, violets all through the yard, and the hostas are up. My azaleas are blooming and the tulips are so delicate.
    Last week I decided to go exploring, and went to a few antique stores looking for aprons. The last store I visited I found some aprons but the biggest treasure was a book with Stillmeadow in the title. I keep thinking that looks familiar where have I heard that, and then opened it up and saw Gladys Taber. I was a giddy little school girl. I took it home and then in celebration of the first warm day of spring, took the book out in the backyard and started reading until dusk. I love it! I ordered other books which I can’t wait to have in my collection. Thank you thank you, now I realize why you love her. Just brings such peace to my whole being.

  66. Evie Tong says:

    Dear Susan … thank you for sharing your birthday with us (I am celebrating the whole month of April as I was born on the 1st) ..and for taking us to Louisa Alcott’s home; I loved reading her as a teenager .. all her books; I still think the movie with June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Margaret O’Brien is still my favorite version! BTW: Louisa’s sister May, the artist has the letters that spells out Amy … love it!
    God bless you on the day you were born .. With Love and Aloha, Evie (San Diego)

  67. Sara says:

    Beautiful flowers, Susan! Haven’t seen parrot tulips before… they look like pink artichokes! I had a nice surprise when I got home from my sister’s this evening–a box from!! My son wanted the blue bird teapot and heart tea infuser for his birthday (He loves them!) and I got your box of occasional cards that I am just over-the-moon blown away by! They are lovely! And the box is so wonderful! I also rec’d the prints–Reasons to Go On Living, Reach for the Stars, and Afternoon Tea, which will grace the dining area in my Fam Rm. I do love your store… if it was publicly traded I would buy stock in it!

    Thank you so much for sharing your birthday present with us. How interesting! As soon as I read your blog, I located my mother’s copy of Little Women that she rec’d in 1919 at 13 years old from her mother. What you wrote made me want to read it again, so this time, I’ll read Mother’s copy which is almost a hundred years old–all 532 pages in very small type. I put photos of it on Twitter. I also enjoyed the LMA website and blog. How wonderful!

    I’m thinking your lunch-time party with your girlfriends and the husbands will be an absolute blast and a pretty cool wrap-up of your birthday week. Hmm.. maybe I’ll browse a little in your shop before I turn in… okay, I’m addicted!!

    🙂 Sara 🙂

  68. Jen says:

    Happy Birthday to you! My birthday is today, the 16th. Every time April comes around the air just seems different and the energy is so thick I can almost touch it. I don’t like to celebrate birthdays — it just seems to be too much trouble. But April . . . wonderful!

  69. Pat W. says:

    Happy Belated Birthday dear girl….and my wish for many, many more. Thanks for sharing…..and all the wonderful pictures of the house…charming.
    By the way, will you be doing a tour for the two new books coming out???

    • sbranch says:

      It all depends on what is going on! I really want to get out west to see my mom and dad! So maybe then, not sure.

  70. Bernhardine Uys says:

    Happy Birthday Susan and thank you for treating me (us) to the tour of the Alcott House – especially being so far away it was fascinating for me to see!
    Enjoy your lunch and the artwork!
    South Africa

  71. Linda says:

    Happy belated Birthday! Glad you had such a nice one. Happy to see your snow has finally left!! You certainly had a longggggg Winter! Remember how excited you were for that first snowstorm!! HA! You didn’t know it would last soooo long!!!
    The homes on the East Coast are so lovely…not much like them out West.
    I made my wish hope it comes true!!!
    Linda from Idaho where the weather is in the 60’s and flowers are blooming.

  72. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    Happy Birthday Susan!!
    I can’t wait to read your new book. It sounds great.
    Enjoy Spring!

  73. Judy in Ohio says:

    Good morning, dear girlfriend! Soooo glad to hear that Spring is finally arriving there in Martha’s! I am sure (as we are here too in Ohio) that you are just beside yourself! There is absolutely nothing (weather-wise, at least) that compares to the fresh breath of spring…And those little daffodils getting ready to finally show their little faces…Well, it just leaves me speechless! (Every few hours I open the back door and take a deeeeep breath! I just love it!…It is still too chilly to open windows yet….But SOON!!)

    We took our first “drive” of the year last weekend here and saw a few daffodils…and LOTS of deer. And all of the other little creatures that I so look forward to. A perfect Easter!

    I am so glad that you are enjoying such a wonderful Birthday week, too ! 😀

    Thank you so much for another beautiful blog…and for taking us to places that a lot of us may ever get to in our lifetime. What a gift to us! I am sure I speak for all of us when I say that we look forward to your next entry to see what you have in store for us !

    Always an adventure when we come here! 🙂

    Thanks again, Susan, so much!!


  74. I think Jack secretly flies! 🙂
    Love Orchard House ! Visited many yrs ago ,would love to return.
    New England is beautiful !

  75. Hi Susan,
    Just re-read your post about your trip to Orchard House again. It truly is amazing how they have worked so hard to preserve everything like it was when LMA and her family lived there. Thanks for reviving my memories. Looking forward to seeing what else you enjoyed in Concord.
    Nancye T., Wells, Maine

  76. Shell says:

    Happy Birthday, Susan. It must have been lovely to have going to Louisa’s house and see everything preserved beautifully. Little Women is one of my favorite stories. One of the few books which I like all of the film/tv versions of the story.

  77. Pam says:

    Belated happy birthday Susan, I’m glad you’ve had such fun.
    Orchard House looks lovely. I’m keeping a little notebook of places you visit or mention in your posts so that if we ever do manage to visit New England we have lots of interesting things to see.
    I’m very much looking forward to your books being published. I think I’ll be dropping hints to the family about Christmas presents 🙂

  78. Lissa Rogers says:

    Thank you, as always, for the gift you give us all with your posts, art, quotes, and MUSICA! I adore your taste. I like to think we are kindred friends. Happy Birthday, and Happy Spring!

  79. Kristi Leach says:

    I’ve looked everywhere for a “charming” phone book to put my email addresses and website information in. No luck at all! Would you consider publishing one? Now that you gave that wonderful suggestion, I imagine they would sell like hot cakes.
    So glad you had a happy birthday with friends and the fun trip to Concord.
    Kristi Leach

    • sbranch says:

      I have one . . . go to “shopping” at the top of the page, and then see “books” in left column. I use them for that exact same thing!

  80. Jeannie says:

    Oh Susan, what a perfect birthday trip! Thanks for sharing the tour through the Alcott home! I have the whole set of the sisters and Marmee dolls from the early 50’s, plus two that were mine as a child, Amy and Beth! I treasure them!
    What a great and fun idea to have everyone make a wish!
    You dear Susan are a treasure and brighten up our lives!
    Hugs and blessings,
    Chirp Chirp!!! 🙂 🙂

  81. loretta says:

    Hi, Susan! Happy Birthday belated, so am sending wishes for a very Happy Birthday week! Keep those wonderful stories coming!! Loretta/ Santa Nella,Ca.

  82. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    good morning Susan, girlfriends, Happy Birthday Susan. wow a trip to Orchard house, I have loved reading that book over and over for years, and of course enjoying the movies made about the Little Women. wish I could get there to go tour Concord and visit the Orchard House, what a treat. well I have to get busy, new peeps in the nursery, and they need fresh water and food, plus 2 fussy turkeys laying eggs all over the back yard, and the ducks are laying their eggs all over the barnyard. keeps me hopping to keep up with them, its like an Easter egg hunt collecting them all. Happy Birthday Susan and many more. Have a great day today, and a great weekend. hugs everyone… 🙂

    • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

      its afternoon now here in Oregon, well its 4 pm. the sun is out after a few gloomy days and its nice and warm, T-shirt and shorts weather my grandma called it, warm enough to go barefoot and to go out and lounge in the rocking chair with a tall glass of iced tea or lemonade. the birds are all very happy, fresh water in the pools for the ducks to swim in, and lots of fresh grass clippings for the hens to scratch through and peck at and for the ducks to lay in and make a nest or 2 to lay their eggs in. we have a deal with the neighbors around us, we will gladly take their grass clippings from them as long as they have not used any pesticides or commercial fertilizers on them, otherwise we don’t want them and they have to haul them to the dump. usually this deal works out well for both parties, we get fresh grass clippings for the birds, the birds are happy with that and the neighbors save $15 on hauling the yard trash to the local dump. and those grass clippings save us money, we can stretch the alfalfa hay a lot longer with the grass clippings. we have had a flock of 12-24 wild turkeys coming around and visiting our turkeys. the females are happy… an extra tom turkey to play with. Ed is threatening to get us an incubator to hatch some of the duck eggs, and chicken eggs… he wants to see what he can do to expand our flock. and I am looking to get my longhorns to add to the flock, I hear they are good layers. think I will go curl up in that rocker and read a good old book, my favorite… Little Women. have a lovely weekend everyone…. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      You are a busy girl Pat, probably hard to find a “farm sitter!”

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        tell me about it, hard to go on vacation and trust the barnyard brats to someone else. I have not had a vacation in over 11 years now!!!!

        • sbranch says:

          What do you think about that?

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            what do I think about, hmm…. how to tweak up an old family recipe, or a new bread recipe. maybe a sewing design for a quilt, or a pattern for a new skirt. maybe the color of that skirt or whether or not I want to redo the kitchen and repaint it, or plans for the garden. and sometimes I think of nothing at all, I just enjoy watching the cars go by, or the storm coming in, and watching the wind blow or watch the squirrels out front or the chickens in the barnyard, they are the nosiest birds. I like to sit in my rocking chair and enjoy!!!!

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            as for my not having had a vacation in over 11 years, well I figure if and when we ever do go on a vacation, look at all the money we saved up…. 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, but for me, that’s like time saving devices — later I go look for the time I saved, and can’t find it! 🙂

  83. christine lelacheur says:

    Hi Susan, Happy Birthday!!! I wished I had known you were in Concord yesterday, I work within walking distance of all the historic places. It is truly a magical New England town. Sometimes in the winter The Concord Museum hosts teas which I have attended several times. I few years back Mr Twining had a display of teapots and gave a lecture,I wish they would repeat his visit.

  84. jamie hopkins says:

    Happy Birthday! I love traveling thru you and your imagination!

  85. Sharon says:

    I recognized that house immediately as belonging to my favorite author. I wrote and presented a paper recently to a ladies group. It was about Louisa May Alcott and her father, if you want a copy, I can easily forward it to you.

  86. April Anderson says:

    Happy birthday, Susan! Tomorrow is mine. 🙂 I so enjoyed your blog post today and would love to visit Orchard House to see more of May’s artwork and the Alcott home. Thank you for bringing some of it to me today!

  87. Carol D. in Sierra Madre, CA says:

    Hi Susan and Girlfriends, Thanks for showing us your day trip to LMA’s homestead. You’re such a good photographer that your posts always make me feel like I’ve been right there with you! That’s definitely a place I’d like to see the next time we’re in Massachusetts. One time when we were in Boston my younger son and I took a day trip to Quincy and took a tour of the John and John Q. Adams’s homes. It was in November and happened to be the last day of the tour for the season. We were the only people on the tour except two older women (who were very cute and fun to be with), so we pretty much had a personal tour and tour guide that day. Like the Alcott home, those homes also had mostly the personal effects of the Adams’s which made it so intriguing. At the time, I had just read the John Adams biography by David McCullough. I ended up loving John and Abigail Adams (a woman well before her time!). To tour their homes really allowed me to see them as real people. The tour ended in the church crypt where both President’s and First Lady’s tombs are. As I stood by the tombs, I placed my hands on both John and Abigail’s sarcophagi, and believe me, I was very touched by being so close to them! I love taking tours of historic figures. Thanks again for all the wonderful blog posts, Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      I love biographies, and Abigail Adams was one of the first I read, she got me hooked. I agree, they’re lives were SO interesting!

  88. Nancy Jane says:

    Your blogs are always uplifting and I feel happy,content and grateful for being reminded of the wonderful simple things in my life.

  89. Stephanie C. says:


    I wanted so badly to be the first to wish you a Happy Birthday early Sunday morning but wasn’t sure how. I am not on FB and just couldn’t figure how to send a message. I always remember your birthday, it’s the same as a friends. So glad you enjoyed your special day. I am really looking forward to the new books!! Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  90. Jackie Cavitt says:

    Bless your heart, Susan…love the idea of the birthday wishes shared with your friends! Thanks for sharing with us, too!

  91. Kathleen Hirst says:

    Hi Susan, Happy Belated Birthday! It sounds like you had a very special one! Thank you for bringing us along on your trip to Louisa May Alcott’s home. Growing up I loved reading Little Women. My mother bought me Madame Alexander dolls of all the characters. She also bought me the book and signed it to me with love. Well, after my mom passed away and I moved to Montana to get married, our house was sold. Somewhere in that transition, my book got lost never to be found. Now whenever I visit an antique store or flea market I always look to see if maybe, just maybe, my book will show up! Wouldn’t that be wonderful! Thanks for all you do for all of us. I look forward to the new books and all the wonderful stories you tell. Happy Spring! Your friend Kathleen!

    • sbranch says:

      That would be wonderful and I think it could happen!

    • Carrie says:

      It happened in the movie, “Serendipity,” with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale! John Cusack stopped at all book shops, etc. looking for “the” book.

      While your book may be in another’s hands, at least for now, the memory of that book and the motherly love it evokes is only yours, never to be taken away, and to visit whenever you wish to call upon it.

      I only share this because that is what I remind myself of when I think of special things associated with my mother that are no longer – I keep telling myself nothing can take away the memory.

      All that said, I’m sure you’ve tried contacting the current homeowner to see if they are the people you originally sold to and if they found it, did they have a garage sale, donate to the local library. Maybe call the local library?

      Sorry Kathleen for my unsolicited ramblings, your comment struck a familiar and poignant chord.

      BTW, in college I worked at Gottschalk’s dept. store in the toy department and we sold the Madame Alexander dolls. Masses descended upon the store when there was a sale on those collectible dolls.

      Here’s to our Moms!!!

  92. Gert~Iowa says:

    Happy Belated Birthday! It sounds like you had a marvelous day!! Doesn’t get any better does it? And the walk to the water, has to be so fun now (no snow or residues of snow!) To hear the sweet sound of the birds singing is the best! Thank you for sharing your visit to the Alcott home! Amazing! Blessings to your weekend and don’t work too hard…I can not wait to read those marvelous books!!

  93. kelly says:

    Happy Birthday! Where to start??? I LOVE the cupcake ring thing!
    Wonderful to see Orchard House, can’t wait to make a trip there. As usual, I am transported, enchanted most times by the music you pick! What fun the birthday song was! I am a little bit younger(53) so I picture you as a teen listening to that fun song and hoping to grow up to be like you!!
    Thank you!!

  94. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, I’ve fallen in love with your black and white Holstein cow in the window and wondered if it was porcelain or perhaps wood. No matter which, it’s charming. I’m drawn to black and white cows as my parents retired to a farm just outside Holstein, Ontario, a very small rural town.

  95. carmel says:

    Joyous birthday greetings, dear one! Many, many happy returns of the celebrations of your life. Thank you so much for the grand tour of Louisa’s home. I was only able to see the exterior of the home for a minute as we drove by 3 years ago and didn’t know you could take a tour. Even seeing the exterior took my breath away. It looked just as I imagined it would. Can’t wait for your new book (s)! I’ve looked forward to all your books and most lovely creative offerings ever since I found “The Summer Book” when it was published. I have them all – lucky me to know you.

  96. Wendy in S FL says:

    Happy Belated Birthday! Thanks so much for your lovely blog and Congrats on all of your many accomplishments! It’s always a treat to see your photos. And what a surprise when I saw the photo of that old familiar New England House. I was there a year ago and thoroughly enjoyed it myself. (Even got a cute book called Flower Fables) 🙂

  97. Jennie Lou says:

    Happy Birthday, you Kindred Spirit, you! The visit to Orchard House was charming, how could LM do so much writing in such a small desk?! (that makes me think of another favorite, LM Montgomery, have you been to PEI?) Your seashell-writing made me laugh. Once I was walking the beach at Fort Worden State Park and HAD to get some poems out of me. I, too, always had a pencil, but no paper that day. I still have two small, flat, faded bits of driftwood with the poems crowded on them like barnacles. My Birthday Wish is that you can continue to share your wonder-ful world with us and that we can share with each other and you!

  98. Cj says:

    Happy birthday Susan. Thanks for the visit to orchard house, I visited it 50 years ago and stilll remember it, can’t wait for the new books.

  99. Happy belated you beautiful soul you! I love the artistry all about you.

    Your posts always read like a good book…they make me think, giggle, and sometimes well up. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself here and for taking us on such fun walks and field trips along with you.

    All good blessings for this wonderful birthday year ahead and keep up the tremendous work dear Ms. Branch!! xoxo

  100. Mary in Phoenix says:

    Loved seeing Orchard House … the inspiration for our “Little Woman Tea Party” after visiting it a few years ago … and learning that LMA’s writing is 87% true like yours … OMG!!! Another kindred spirit you’ve channeled just like Beatrix Potter and Gladys Taber ♥ Maybe your house will be open for people to go through one day … what a happy thought 🙂 Enjoy “falling into the vortex of writing” … painting with all your heart and soul … and finding PEACE ♥ And if you need a break, go see Woman in Gold … What a story! Any movie with Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Katie Holmes and Elizabeth McGovern has to be good … and it is 🙂 Sending more “wishes to heaven” with your “ring thing” … thanks for the constant bevy of inspiration ♥ xoxo

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