Nothing daunted

the unexpected education of two society girls in the West (2011)
Nothing Daunted

An interesting story of two wealthy girls who, after doing their grand tour of Europe, were not ready to marry and settle down.  Though they had no experience of "roughing it" or of teaching, they applied to become frontier school teachers in the Elkshead mountains in Colorado.

After a crash course in teaching and review in a few subjects they headed out west.  They boarded with a family and traveled every day by horseback to the schoolhouse--in pouring rain, blinding blizzards and sunny spring days where the slippery mud was almost knee-deep.  The book tells of the difficulties the subsistence-level farmers faced in the arid, cold climate; students who came in rags and bare feet because they wanted to learn; and history of the area, including the building of the Moffat Trail, a railroad through (literally) the mountains.

This snapshot of life in 1916 made me appreciate what we have now--labor saving devices like washing machines and nearby grocery stores, but also what our society often is missing: friends who would go to great lengths to lend a hand, farmers and ranchers who would welcome strangers with a meal and a bed.

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