Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

These are my grandmother's peonies.  

As a side-effect of my parents' divorce and my father's remarriage, I have THREE grandmothers.  When I was an adolescent, one of my younger siblings ( I can't recall which one) thought it wasn't fair that I had an extra grandmother. What can I say, I was lucky.

All three of my grandmothers had been young women during World War II.  Perhaps this, along with traditions of the time, led to one of the common threads I experienced with each of them--Memorial Day visits to the cemetery.  

While I remember taking flowers with each of them to their respective family plots, no one prepared for Memorial Day as thoroughly as Grandma Beth. She dedicated a large portion of her beautiful yard to beds of peonies and iris specifically for Memorial Day flower arrangements.  

Honoring and remembering family members was lively and colorful--the flowers and the stories.  Much of what I know about my ancestors was told to me in a cemetery. 

Even gardening to me has generational pull...I have tried to gather parts of floral family history and carry the pieces with me.  Iris, roses, and these peonies have history I remember every time they bloom.

Today is Memorial Day, and I will be going to the cemetery with my one remaining grandmother.  We will undoubtedly run into cousins, and stories will be retold about the people whose grave sites we are visiting.   This is tradition.  What can I say--I am lucky.

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