Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We knew it was Spring.

We knew it was Spring when mom gave up her Sunday afternoon nap.  In our house we all had to take a nap on Sunday afternoon, or at least pretend to be taking one. 

Why would mom ever give up her nap?  Of course she was tired.  But...

The call of the wild was stronger.  The wild woods, that is.  Actually, the not so wild woods.

There used to be a small patch of woods on Central Avenue between Fifth and Seventh Avenues on the east side of the street.  Mom loved going there in the Spring and Summer to see what wild plants she could collect for her garden.  She'd carry a bucket with a small bit of water in it, and a spade and off she'd go usually with two or more children in tow. 

I loved walking in those woods.  Mom would point out a wild flower and start digging, carefully, very carefully, getting as big a root ball as she could.  She also loved birds and would point out the various birds that inhabited the woods to us.  She got so excited when she saw a yellow-winged black bird, or a Baltimore oriole, or a blue bird -- birds that didn't "grow" in her garden.

Mom watched the clock to make sure we got back home before evening church and in time for us to get washed up.  Dinner was always after church on Sunday nights and I have to say, by the time we got home from church we were ready for it.  Let's face it, 9:00 p.m. is a very late time for a youngster to have something to eat after the luncheon of left overs from Saturday night dinner.  Mom did give us a couple of butter cookies (Nabisco brand, not home-made), or graham crackers and a glass of milk to hold us over. 

Mom didn't plant her "gifts" on Sunday she left them in the bucket overnight and was out in the yard early in the morning before we children got out of bed and planting her new plants.  And she treated them as babies for a couple of weeks, making sure they took hold.

I wish I had some pictures of Mom's gardens through the years.  I remember them as being so pretty.  Unfortunately mom didn't transfer her green thumb to this daughter.  I am probably the only person in the world that can kill mint.  But that's a story for another day.


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