Do not read Nothing Daunted if you prefer to armchair travel. Dorothy Wickenden’s account of her aunt’s travels into the West in 1916 with her best friend will inspire you to pursue an adventure – at minimum a road trip.
Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamund Underwood were two society girls in Auburn, NY when they decided they needed something more in their lives than volunteer work and luncheons. They learned about a request for college-educated women to teach the children of Elkhead, Colorado. Dorothy and Ros convinced their families that it was a fine idea and set out on an adventure.
Wickenden pulls her story from the copious letters Dorothy and Ros sent home, along with interviews of descendants and friends. Their year in the West was during a time of great change – more railroads were being built which brought people and money into the region. State and local governments were establishing themselves thanks to civic-minded individuals in the region – one example is Ferry Carpenter who sent for the teachers in order to set up a proper school.
They rode horses and sleighs. They also road automobiles. The children they taught did not have much but their families taught the girls that everyone who stops by gets a meal before continuing on their way. There seemed to be so much possibility and changed, and both commented in their letters that they saw what was happening.
The teaching post lasted only one year, then both got married and raised families. But they told everyone that the year in Elkhead was the best in their lives and one never to be forgotten. How lucky they were to have each other as they traveled into an unknown and intimidating land.
Nothing Daunted will make you want to call your best friend and plan some sort of adventure. Just make sure it’s one not to be forgotten.