49er Fantasy

No, not the football team.  Euw.

The miner kind of 49ers.

I’m from California, and the Gold Rush of 1849 has always been one of my most favorite periods in history.

The other day my daughter and I were watching a documentary of the pioneers and the Gold Rush.  It told the story of a family who went west to seek their fortune.  Usually men went without their wives and children and just hoped to make a bunch of money to bring home, or send for their families later.  But this family took off together.

When they arrived, the lady found that the miners would pay five dollars to have a meal cooked by a woman, which of course was a lot of money back then.  Well, maybe not to a guy who just found a bunch of gold nuggets in a creek and has blown phenomenal amounts of cash on booze and prostitutes.  Five bucks for a “home cooked” meal would be nothing.

But anyway, these miners had gone so long without being fed by their womenfolk, not to mention even seeing a woman up close, that she was greatly appreciated.  So much so that she was able to open a restaurant and make a tidy living off her culinary skills.

Now I know that some people fantasize about being Eddie Van Halen, or Angelina Jolie, or maybe even Bill Gates.  Having fame, fortune and glory is a commonplace desire.  But I haven’t felt as envious of anyone’s life as I felt hearing about this woman feeding all those men, winning their innocent affections and being compensated handsomely.  

I imagine, being her, I would feel like the most beneficent goddess mother, appeasing the boys’ stomachs and comforting their loneliness (she had her husband there, so I’m assuming that she was relatively safe from untoward advances.  Either way, nothing inappropriate figures into this particular fantasy of mine!)  They would adore me, looking up at me with their sad, scruffy, hungry puppy dog faces as I set before them some stew and biscuits still hot from the oven.  It would fill their bellies and warm their hearts and their homesickness wouldn’t sting quite so badly for just those few moments.  After their many months of perilous journeying, miserable gold panning, lousy food and rough male company, just the swishing of my clean skirts as I went to fetch the coffee would be like music to their ears.

Silly, I know.  But if a person’s fantasies reveal their essence, then I am all about food, earning a good living and being an adored mother-figure.  

I can live with that.


Filed under society

6 responses to “49er Fantasy

  1. el burro

    That’s cute. Funny how we get attached to a particular period in history. My little white washed fantasy is of me as a pioneer woman. I think it started with the Laura Ingalls books back when I was seven.

  2. Joy

    I agree with el burro about the Little House series.

    There is something in me that gets a great comfort in feeding people too so I know just what you mean. I’m not sure what it is but I just love to cook for other people and make them full.

  3. I sort of have the same fantasy. Mine includes inviting people into my home as over night guests and making them as cozy as possible. I love playing hostess.

    And I’m with the others…I loved the Little House series.

  4. stacybuckeye

    Sounds like a great life to me! Have a great Christmas 🙂

  5. Very Babette’s Feast meets Legend (by Jude Deveraux) – In Legend, your classic slightly fantastical romance novel, the main character, a chef, gets sucked back into the 1800s and decides to feed the entire town and as a result gets every single person working for her and learning how to cook. Even the town bad guy who shoots the townspeople “just a little” if they don’t listen to her.

  6. E, I’m so glad to have found this blog. Your writing gives me the nostalgic warm fuzzies quite frequently. I think the world would be a much better place if we all had a good dose of the nostalgic warm fuzzies. Perhaps your blog should be required reading for everyone.


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