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Thursday, May 6

Soggy socks, school busses and aluminum foil

The nostalgic aroma of lilacs is on the air today . . . 

     Let me guess ~ you're expecting that statement to be followed by memories rich in images of kindly old aunties sipping their tea . . . or lounging in a hammock with a romance novel . . .

     Sorry ~ that is not the nostalgia this scent awakens in me.  Instead I have memories from my school days when the lilac bushes that enclosed my parents' back yard, (more specifically, the scary part of the yard known as over the hill) were in full bloom.  For us, it was an annual ritual to cut a large bouquet of lilac blossoms to take to the teacher.

     Of course planning never entered the equation, so the cutting was done in the morning after I was dressed for school ~ rapidly, not only because the school bus was coming soon, but also to avoid whatever dangerous wildlife might have been lurking, ready to pounce on me at any moment ~ you know, nesting robins, squirrels, bunnies and the giant rattlesnake I was sure had its gaze fixed upon me.

     Having survived the excursion into the wild, my socks thoroughly soaked from the morning dew, my mother would wrap the stems of my booty in sopping wet paper towels and encase them in what she considered the ultimate indestructible protection ~ aluminum foil.  Hey ~ these were the days before Ziploc!  My youngest in now in college ~ you do the math.

     In her defense, Mother had little experience on a school bus.  Little did she know that every little nose that stepped onto that bus immediately plunged itself into the ever disintegrating bouquet, sending more and more florets onto the dingy floor of the bus ~ the place where even if your homework fell you had serious second thoughts of descending into on a rescue mission.  My solution to preserving the flowers was logically to grip that foil handle as hard as I could, sending rivulets down my sleeve.

     But somehow the blossoms always arrived at school still looking like a bouquet (didn't they?) and the teachers always gushed graciously ~ making you feel as though you had given them the best gift they ever received.  Even Mr. Bakos, our only male teacher, who as I look back on it now was probably embarrassed to be a man receiving flowers ~ something about the way he thanked you for bring flowers for the classroom.

     The ritual concluded with the walk of pride to the janitors closet to fill the vase with water ~ the only sink in the building deep enough to allow such an operation.  Come to think of it, I'm not sure it was always a vase ~ sometimes it was a bucket.  There's a thought for all of you who still have kids in school.  If you need an idea for a teacher gift ~ send a vase, will ya!

     I do believe Miss Kittiebittle of Cobblestone Circle should get some lilacs from one of her students.  Who should bring them . . . . hmmmm . . . . that will require some thought.  But for now, I think I'll go out and harvest some for my dining room table.   Where are my boots . . .

ps.  I have not retouched the photo ~ that is the color of my sky today.  :)


  1. The picture is gorgeous! The memories are fun. I remember carrying that same foil vase to school as well with flowers. Those were the days....


  2. Ooooo I love lilacs, one of my all time favorites!!! Love your chilhood memory, so sweet and yes, the good ole days!! All of us neighborhood kids use to pick them for Mother's Day Bouquets, ummmmm, enjoying the smell as I type. Thank you for sharing your story and such a beautiful picture!!

    I think Miss Kittlebittle should get some flowers from the tie dye student, hehehehehe. Although I really do think a tie dye bear would be adorable!!

    Have a wonderful weekend Laura and Happy Mother's Day to you!!

  3. I love lilacs and sadly don't have any in my garden. What a nice post!

  4. I love lilacs, my favorite to date! I giggled and laughed at this post, I too would cut, and yes the scratchy paper towel, almost like brown paper? Hilarious memory, Laura, Have a Great Mothers Day, will ya?

    Hugs, Lisa

  5. So glad I was able to take you all down this happy bit of memory lane. And as my sister pointed out in her comment below, we had it pretty good back then. :)

    "Thanks….actually made me laugh so hard I had tears in my eyes…..Oh for the good 'ol days when getting a bunch of lilacs to school was your biggest concern of the day!"


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