My husband Dave and I grew up in Maplewood, Missouri, a middle to lower middle-class community. World War II had been over for several years. The economy was growing, and anyone willing to work could find a means to make a living.
It was a time on Saturday evenings when boys pushed carts down our streets loaded with Sunday newspapers to sell to those who were ready to catch up on the latest news.
It was a time when we locked our skates onto our shoes and buzzed up and down sidewalks, balancing precariously trying to avoid the cracks in the concrete. And sometimes running home with skinned knees expecting a kiss from mom and a dab of stinging iodine on the wound to make it all better.
Those of us of a certain age remember a variety of people personally coming to our door to collect insurance payments, sharpen our knives, and deliver milk. On a hot summers day we would meet the man who was delivering ice for our “ice box’ in hopes he would chip off a little piece for us to help chase the heat away.
It was a time when Dave was about five or six and a man came through the area taking pictures, for a price, of the would-be cowboys in the neighborhood. The TV show, Hapalong Cassidy, was the rage at the time. Each week Hapalong, and his horse Topper, fought the bad guys. Is it any wonder that all little boys wanted to be like Hapalong?
So along comes the man with a pony, and Russ and Betty Ferguson saw the opportunity to make their little boy happy. It’s doubtful they were able to buy the full cowboy regalia; the outfit probably came with the pony. It doesn’t matter that the pony and outfit weren’t Dave’s. The picture is a snap-shot in time in the 1950s when life was simple and cowboys ruled. It was a time when a little boy, on a pony in full western regalia, could pretend that he was a cowboy, if only for a moment.
Spring has come early to my little corner of the earth. Every year I look forward to the sun and pop of color that springs up from lawns and trees. Maybe that’s why they call this time of year spring.
I got my love of flowers from my mother. But even at a young age, I remember the flora and fauna of my homes as much as the details of the houses we lived in.
Our first house in Maplewood, Missouri was on Greenwood Avenue. My parents rented a three-room house that sat behind a larger house. This little house was probably the servant’s quarters. The big and small houses are long gone replaced by an apartment building.
To get to our house from the street we had to walk on a sidewalk that wended its way along the side of the house to a gate in the back that divided our yard from the yard of the big house. Along this path to the back was a row of Rose of Sharon bushes. I’ll never forget the abundance of pink and white flowers when the bushes bloomed.
Perhaps I remember the persimmon trees in our yard the most because my mother would yell at us not to walk on the persimmons after they fell because we would drag the mess in on our shoes. Also in the yard was a bush that had long, thin branches. This was the source of the dreaded “switch” of which my brother Bill and I were threatened if we misbehaved. It only took feeling the switch once and from that time on we quickly fell in line with the mere mention of “do you want me to get a switch?”
Corn Flower or Bachelor Button
Our second house was on the corner of Rannels and Oakland Avenue in Maplewood. It was in this house that my love for flowers grew. My mother loved peonies and planted two pink bushes close to the sidewalk that led to our back-door from the street. On the east fence was a long row of pink, white, and blue cornflower also known as bachelor buttons. The flowers were so prolific that they reseeded themselves every year. On the south side was a bed of purple iris that extended the entire length of the fence. In the middle of the yard was a circle of a variety of roses. The fragrance of a rose today takes me back to that little yard I enjoyed so much.
Peonies and Iris in My Garden
By today’s standards, this was the simplest of gardens, but it was loved by my mother and sowed the seeds of my love for gardening today. So I welcome all that goes with spring– sunshine, the greening of grass, the yellow of the daffodils, and the aroma of flowering trees and bushes. Thanks Mom!