Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

One of the fascinating things about childhood is that as we grow older our perspectives on it change. What were once annoying practices foisted upon us now make perfect sense. Where once we had wishes for things far more grand and perhaps expensive than we could afford now seem so unnecessary. Just like our parents told us. Thing is, parental advice just wasn’t always all that much fun; we were kids after all. We weren’t interested in having values instilled in us; it seemed tedious.

Yet here we are, ever so many years later, reflecting on the pearls of wisdom that our parents were thanklessly sharing with us. Okay, maybe they weren’t all pearls of wisdom, but plenty of them were great guidelines, both large and small, for managing life along the way.

Below I’ve listed just a few of the things my parents taught me, and there is at least one humorous, heartwarming, life-changing, and/or scary – but always memorable – story to go with each. Undoubtedly, you have your own list you can make up quite different from mine. Especially if your parents have passed over, you might be surprised in making that list how much of what you like about yourself actually came from what they were teaching you all along. Life is funny that way.

So here’s to all the parents who caught a lot of crap, patiently waited out hysterics, bit their lip when they wanted to scream, and resisted rolling their eyes as they explained something to us for the 19th time. And here’s to all the parents who went about their lives day by day, totally unaware that their children were watching and soaking up ways to manage some of the simplest things that would stand them in good stead for a lifetime.

My list:

  • Simple is good
  • Keep the house cool by following the sun to adjust the blinds/shades
  • You don’t have to have a lot of money to have a good time
  • You can never have too many flowers
  • Eat fresh
  • Bugs aren’t really all that scary when it comes right down to it
  • Budget your money
  • Make your bed every day
  • Take lots of pictures
  • Going away to college helps you grow up

 

Read Full Post »

From when I was quite little all the way to today people have asked me, `How do you know the names of so many flowers?’ It actually never occurred to me that I did; I thought everyone knew the names of flowers. Apparently not. The answer to that question is I just followed my Dad …  like a puppy.

MyFamily

Growing up, we had a smallish, but perfectly sized, house on a not very big lot of 50′ x 100′. I have a photo of our house shortly before we moved there; it was the second house in from the next bigger road and the rest of the houses on the block had not yet been built. I suppose it might have been called a development, but it looked nothing like the ones of today, all cookie-cutter and same-ish. Each home looked quite different in both style and building material, some clapboard, some all brick, some a mix of both and so on, but always  on the same size lots. What made our house so special was that there was always something growing, and it was my Dad who orchestrated it all.

To this day, I can see the rhododendron and the red, pink and white azalea in the front of the house interspersed with some evergreen shrubs; the daffodils and narcissus circling our beautiful big elm (home for a nest of those rapscallion squirrels); and the spot to the right of our front door with another rhododendron and a yearly change of annuals, purple and white ClimbingRoses-1957-newalyssum come to memory. Next to the garage grew a length of lily-of-the-valley with a flagstone walk alongside, and on the other side of the house, an andromeda, a dogwood with creamy white flowers, and myrtle.

The climbing roses, taken with my humble little Brownie camera.

But it was the backyard where my Dad really went to town. Behind the dining room were his roses; additional myrtle created a dark green backdrop behind. I can’t remember all their names, (perhaps he had a Peace Rose?) but I do remember the Japanese beetles. They were beautiful, too, I thought, and I wished they and the roses had a better relationship. At the end of the rose bed was a lilac tree. On the back of the garage was a trellis where he had smaller climbing roses of a cerise color. At the base of the roses, he grew strawberries, but I also remember pansies.

In the back right corner, there were peonies fluffed out like ballerina tutus. I always wondered why the ants liked to crawl on their buds so much; I’m sure he told me and I don’t remember. There were two large bleeding hearts, and a mix of other flowers I can’t recall, and  portulaca in front. Oh, I remember the portulaca! They were loaded with honeybees, and I was always sure they had me in mind for their next pollen visit. Or worse.

And in the other corner, a forsythia and a pink weigela, a mass of brightly colored tulips and zinnias for cutting (we always had cut flowers in the house all summer), and then my Daddy’s delicious tomatoes. We enjoyed them with many a dinner. Later he added a flowering plum in the yard with those lovely burgundy leaves and delicate pink blossoms.

Thinking back, how did my Dad do all this? When did he do it? (Oh – and he had gorgeous gardenias inside!) I can remember following him around when I was small and “helping.” I have no idea what all I was actually doing, I just know I was next to him, watching and listening while he trimmed and pruned, staked and watered. AnHonestHouse-CReyes2For the size of our little lot, it was quite an impressive display. My Dad was always happy when he was gardening (except for the squirrels and Japanese beetles.) He truly had a green thumb …  something I, unfortunately, did not inherit. I could plan a color layout like nobody’s business, but didn’t always have the right mix of what needed sun and shade, more or less water, trimming back or deadheading. Having all that come so naturally as it did to my Dad is a gift and I’m just thankful I got to follow him around.

And thanks to Cynthia Reyes and her memoir “An Honest House” for inspiring the warm reflections on my childhood and my earliest appreciation of all things growing and green.

Read Full Post »

I wouldn’t say my Mom was a fashionista. She wouldn’t have said it either, even if that word had existed back then. She was a conservative dresser in the time I knew her, that is, growing up my whole life. When I was a child, she wore simple clothes for the most part – straight skirts, (now known as pencil skirts), quasi-fitted short sleeve sweaters or printed or solid blouses, shorts in the summer. I remember her in wedgies in the warmer weather and medium high heels the rest of the time. Always on the simple side. In her daily dress, my Mom was not an adventurous soul.

And then … she had her evening/party clothes. An entirely different woman appeared. My Mom had the most fabulous skirts, tops and dresses for when she went out, and they were almost exclusively black. She wore black taffeta flared skirts, black silk tops and she had a gorgeous pair of black (real) velvet pumps. She positively glowed. To this day I can vividly remember one of her shirts … it was black crepe with cap sleeves, solid in the back, and in the front, there were chevron stripes of sequins, about 1/2″ apart, in alternating pale colors – gold, silver, aqua, pale rose and green. Even as a child, I wanted that shirt.

I believe those fabulous evening clothes – and possibly how happy and confident my Mom seemed in them – inspired my own love of black clothing. I’m typing this blog in a favorite combination – black jeans and a black sweatshirt over a black long-sleeved polo-type shirt. Garnet earrings are the only color at the moment, but then … I’m home. I love wearing black and honestly, I could wear it all the time, but it somehow seems a good idea to vary my wardrobe colors. Still, it’s a lifelong attraction.

Pan back in time when I was 6 or 7 years old. In school we were given these horizontal booklets each year; we filled them out with photos of ourselves, “My Best Friend”, “My Pet” and some of our favorite things. I may still have that book; my Mom saved a lot of our school stuff. On one of the pages, they asked you to fill in your favorite color. Undoubtedly inspired by my Mom’s fabulous evening clothes, I happily wrote “black.”

And that’s when they called home.

Read Full Post »

Salmon Brook Farms

Official Home of Lavinia and Rick Ross

Life Sentences

Random, positive, life-affirming musings on various topics and experiences

JEANNE BALSAM GRAPHICS

BRINGING YOUR DREAMS TO LIFE

Harvesting Hecate

Thoughts on life, writing, creativity and magic

Ron Writes Stuff

Textbook Libra, potentially snarky, always writing.

Cynthia Reyes - Author

The blog of author Cynthia Reyes

Marie Lamba, author

Some thoughts from author and agent Marie Lamba

Professions for Peace

Affirmations. Declarations. Statements.

47whitebuffalo's Blog

exploring connections among all things

A Leaf in Springtime

"Be a dew to the soil of the human heart."

home, garden, life

home, garden, life ~ sharing a sustainable lifestyle

%d bloggers like this: