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Two young women in Europe – 60 years ago

A 1954 trans-Atlantic trip inspired a book by the travelers’ daughters.

RETRACING GRAND TOUR Ten years ago, Tara Taft of Stow asked her mother, Marialyce Tyler, “What was it like to cross the Atlantic on the Queen Mary?”

“It’s all in the letters,” her mother replied.

This was the first time Taft heard that her mother had kept the letters she sent home during the three months in late 1954 when Tyler and her best friend, Katherine Tucker, traveled to Europe, crossing the ocean by cruise ship and visiting 42 cities in 13 countries by car.

Tucker, it turned out, also had kept letters from the trip, and journals, too. The two women were in their early 20s and captivated by all they saw and did — from dancing with college boys on the Queen Mary to eating bread and cheese in Paris to driving through one of Europe’s most twisting mountain passes in Scandinavia.


Taft, in collaboration with Tucker’s daughter, Nancy Cowan of Carlisle, compiled the letters — interwoven with photos, maps, and narrative text — into a self-published book titled “The Tucker-Tyler Adventure” that was released last fall.

The two younger women have embarked on a book tour to tell the captivating story of their mothers’ journey through postwar Europe on $5 a day.

Readings are scheduled for the Randall Library, at 19 Crescent St. in Stow, on Thursday, May 7, at 7 p.m., and at the Acton Congregational Church, 12 Concord Road, Acton, on May 16 at 7:30 a.m.

For more information on the book and the author readings, go to www.tuckertyleradventure.com. The book is available through the website as well as Amazon.com.

GROWING A GARDEN On Tuesday, May 5, the West Concord Green Thumbs group is hosting a free lecture by Kerry Ann Mendez, of Kennebunk, Maine, on “The Right-Size Flower Garden.” Mendez, a manager at Estabrook Nursery in Kennebunk, is a well-known speaker on gardening topics. The event will be held in the Harvey Wheeler Community Center‘s auditorium, 1276 Main St. in West Concord. Light desserts and beverages will be offered from 6 to 7 p.m., with the presentation to follow.


NURTURING CHANGE The Food Project, a nonprofit based in Lincoln, will hold a seedling sale on Saturday and Sunday, May 9 and 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Baker Bridge Farm, 94 Concord Road in Lincoln. For sale will be over 60 varieties of vegetable, flower, and herb seedlings, including 16 varieties of tomatoes. More information is available at www.thefoodproject.org.

LEND A HAND On Monday, May 4, from 4 to 7:30 p.m., the Natick Community-Senior Center at 117 East Central St. will host a townwide volunteer fair with more than 20 local nonprofit organizations recruiting volunteers and getting the word out on their work. In addition, two special sessions will be held. “Finding Your Best Volunteer Fit,” from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., will be led by Jeanette Szretter, and Frank Foss, Natick’s town moderator, will provide details on what is involved in serving on a local board or commission from 6 to 7 p.m.

SISTER CITIES David Gullette of Newton is presenting an exhibition of photographs he has taken over the course of several years in Nicaragua as part of the Newton-San Juan del Sur Sister City Project. “The People of San Juan” is on display at the Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., through May 28. There will be a special reception with Gullette on Wednesday, May 6, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the library.


For more details, go to www.newtonfreelibrary.net.

SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR MOMS The Wrentham Village Premium Outlets shopping complex is hosting an early Mothers Day celebration on Saturday, May 9, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with special events including spa treatments, fashion and beauty advice, financial-planning information, fashion shows, and cooking demonstrations. The Wrentham Village mall is off Route 1A near Interstate 495. For more information, go to www.premiumoutlets.com.

ICONIC ART TIPS In conjunction with ArtWeek Boston, Russian icon artist, teacher, and lecturer Marina Forbes will offer a four-hour “Introduction to Icon Painting” workshop on Saturday, May 9, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Wilson Chapel of the Andover Newton Theological School, 210 Herrick Road in Newton . The hands-on studio experience will demonstrate the basics of traditional icon painting, one of the world’s oldest and most respected forms of religious art. No painting experience is required for this class. For more information, go to www.marinaforbes.com or e-mail marina@anylanguage.org.

‘TITANIC’ PERFORMANCES The Woodland Theatre Company concludes its season with the musical “Titanic.” Performances are May 8, 9, 15, and 16 at 8 p.m., and May 10 and 17 at 2 p.m., at the Lowell Mason Auditorium, 88R South St. in Medfield. Tickets are $30 and can be reserved by visiting www.woodlandtheatre.com or by calling 508-655-0687.

Send ideas to nancyswest@gmail.com.