There are all sorts of quotes about the little things that matter, the little moments…some of those quotes say that it’s these little bits that are so important….I don’t know if I agree or not, but I’ve found that I definitely have strange little memories, random little weird, vivid “mental photographs” of clips and bits of my childhood. I don’t know if they are important or life-altering, probably not, but they stick nonetheless. Dates, chronological events, even important dramatic ones, these I don’t usually remember. Sad but true. I remember the fabric of a dress my mom made for me when I was 4 years old; I remember making pretend tacos with the leaves from the rubber tree in my school yard; I remember the brown and orange shag rug in our home from when I was about 1-5; I remember playing with cacti at playschool and burying cactus spines in the dirt, hoping that my enemy would fall apon them after she slid down the slide…little stuff like that.
This past month was a fun time for my husband and I to show our kids places we grew up in, sights we saw, even smells and tastes that were parts of both of our childhoods. We were driving down a deserted (but very nice) road close to a house that I used to live in, and I asked Henry if he’d stop for a moment so I could pick these flowers off a tree by the side of the road. In the midst of all that was going on, the rushing, the waiting, the eating and visiting, the anxiety and excitement, I seized the moment and literally, seized the flowers!
These beautiful mauve (lilac, purple, pinkish, whatever) flowers are a part of my childhood. I remember having a tree in our backyard, and my mom making a charcoal sketch of some of the flowers (which she said was nothing, but I thought was an amazing piece of art, which it was). At school there were many of these trees, and they seemed to flower a lot. I used to pick the flowers and their interesting, almost butterfly or clam-shaped leaves. Can’t tell you the name of them, or what seasons they bloom in, or whether they are part of the orchid family or not, I just remember them, they are just there, a part of me.
I wanted to share even this tiny random bit with my kids, so I ripped 4 flowers off the tree and some leaves, and gave them each one to look at while we drove off in the bright sunlight, on to our next errand or adventure, I don’t remember which (haha!) They were sweet (the kids that is) and were appropriately admiring of my little memory. Sweeties! I think Henry just smiled. He wasn’t quite as understanding when another day (night) I ripped some eucalyptus leaves from a tree in the boulevard and gave them to the kids to bite on. He thought that was too weird and who knows what pesticide those trees have been sprayed with!!! “But that’s another one of my memories!” I cried! (not literally crying, it was more like a happy screech). We used to pick the leaves and bite them, just to have a taste, I don’t think we actually chewed them up and swallowed them….who knows. There was a gigantic old eucalyptus tree in our schoolyard, it was gorgeous, and the leaves were fabulously colored. And I sometimes chewed on them. I was horribly disappointed to find that that elegant old giant has been hewed down. And sad to say that I took no photos of the leaves my children obediantly bit into. They actually argued over who got the leaves and how many each, much to Henry’s chagrin. (oh what a word! I just had to throw that in, I’ve been reading a English novel from the 1950’s today). They decided that the leaves taste like Vicks Vaporub. So, weird? yes. Will they remember it? probably! 😉