Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MISS FLORA’S GARDEN, by Charlene Farnsworth

This is a story that reminds us that some people have a gift for creating beauty in the most ordinary of places. It also reminds us to take time to notice someone else’s beautiful creation. By taking time to stop and linger, Charlene and her mom prompted a life-long memory.

One day, Mom and I met a charming, very able octogenarian whose name I do not recall. For purposes of this writing, I think the name Miss Flora befits this lovely lady.
Mom and I were wearily returning from a shopping excursion when we spotted a well-kept, two-story, Victorian home. What particularly caught our eye was the magnificent rose garden on the south side of the house. We stopped curbside to enjoy the spectacular display. Although we were parked on a very busy thoroughfare, we felt we were alone, together, in paradise. The neighboring storefronts and noticeably less-charming housing that had encroached upon this “gingerbread” house over the years seemingly disappeared.
We wondered if we dared to knock on the decorative front door and, hopefully, meet the owner. We were anxious to learn about the history of this Victorian beauty. Knock, knock, knock ¼
Peppy, petite Miss Flora warmly welcomed us and asked if we would like a tour of her rose garden. Of course, we immediately accepted her kind invitation. She told us that she lived in the home until she got married. Upon the breakup of her marriage, she returned to the home and cared for her aging parents.
Remembering the information from Rose Hills on the proper care of roses, I asked Miss Flora, “Do you water underneath your roses and never overhead?” She replied, “I just stand with the hose and spray them!” I posed my next two-part question: “Do you fertilize your roses? By what method?” Miss Flora answered, “I just stand and throw the fertilizer at them!” So much for following the books for abundant, healthy roses!
Miss Flora then invited us on an extended tour of her yard. All along the north side of her “dollhouse” were camellias that reached the second story rooftop. Again, thinking how I always followed the garden books when pruning our own camellias, I asked, “Do you cut your camellias back after they have finished blooming?” Miss Flora responded, “No, I cut them back when I can’t drive my car by them!”
Miss Flora then walked us to the attached back porch which was adorned with hanging baskets of brilliant fuchsias. No more questions from me—just pleasant quiet among profuse color of every hue.
We then followed Miss Flora’s darling figure into her home where we enjoyed another feast for the eyes: a huge collection of elegant Venetian glassware—goblets, candy dishes, vases, etc. While inside, Miss Flora shared a little more about her life and the interesting history of her charming home.
We then thanked Miss Flora abundantly for brightening our day and, reluctantly, returned to reality.
Over the years, Mom and I reflected upon the little side excursion we took one sunny day, enjoying Miss Flora’s Victorian home and well-manicured gardens. Although quite small in stature, Miss Flora added a significant memory to both of our lives.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Am From, by Dora Silvers

Do you remember the “I am from” poems that we were publishing last year? Here is another one from Dora. It is a multi-layered memory, all caught in a few short stanzas. Read it slowly and savor the essence of another era.

I am from the depression era.
From New Jersey (the garden state)
Cold winters and hot summers.
Sled riding after dinner,
then a hot sweet potato with lots of butter
From the Horse & Wagon for 1 cent.

Chicken and chicken soup on Friday,
when mama would light the Shabbat candles.
Papa said the blessing over a small glass of homemade wine.
Saturday  mornings, we read from the old testament.

Movies were 10 cents,
with cartoons and a serial continued every week.
Sunday, my aunt and uncle came from New York.
Mama made salami with scrambled eggs and knishes -
Pastry dough wrapped over mashed potatoes,
Fried and drained on brown paper bags,
before paper towels.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Things That I will carry into the New Year, by Yolanda Adele

This piece was originally published on this blog two years ago in January of 2011. The lessons learned are just as valid now as they were then.

I have learned that friendships can fill the void when family brings disappointments.

I have learned that grandchildren are God’s gift of a second chance.

I have learned from myself that change is necessary.

I have learned from the events of September eleventh that tomorrow is not a given.

I have learned from my husband that love brings comfort.

I have learned from my cat to nap when the tasks at hand are too trying.

I have learned from my homemaking that I don’t have excuses to be bored.

I have learned from my addiction to chocolate that some things are out of my control.

I have learned through my writing that I have something to say.

These are the life lessons that I hope to keep present in my mind as the New Year comes in with its new adventures and challenges.




I wish all my dear friends in my Memoir Group, Live Wires, and Writer’s West Workshop a New Year full of rewarding discoveries.