Most of these things happened when I was under the age of 12. I wanted a plant on my windowsill. In the middle of winter, this was not possible. I did not ask for one from my parents. My parents did not encourage asking for anything. The usual answer is "no". Instead, this was an opportunity for problem solving. A water glass became the container. An onion was the bulb, suspended over the water in the glass by toothpicks pushed into the onion. My pet onion grew. Tiny roots reached into the water. The top, once dorment, sprouted green leaves. I watched and cared for my pet onion all winter. The room became rank with onion smell. Mom threw my "pet onion" away.
Childhood summers were spent at the lake...at the cottage in a colony of cottages south of Buffalo New York. I spent most of the summer in my bathing suit, in the water. Besides swimming, there was exploring. The shale beach was filled with all kinds of rocks, all shapes, colors and sizes. One of the rocks lay in a pool of water. The water brought the colors of the rock to life. It was marbled with pink , with many colors. It was beautiful. The rock, probably granet, was too beautiful to leave there. I picked up the rock, about five pounds of it, and brought it up from the beach to the back door of the cottage. I bonded to that rock. I delighted in looking at it. I loved the angles, the colors, the heft of it, the feel of it's cool surface. When summer was over, We returned to the city. I brought my rock with me. It stayed with me for years, always in the way, sometimes holding the door open. My parents moved. The rock moved with us. Time passes and I am older. The rock is now in the basement. I am married. Richard and I have an apartment of our own. Visiting my parents, I noted that the rock was no longer there. I miss my rock.
Sister and I were very young...perhaps ages 4 and 6? Dad had some business to attend to that required a trip in the car. Did We want to come along? For a ride in the car? Of course We did. The ride wasn't very long....just a few blocks. Dad got out of the car and told us to wait, to not leave the car. We did not. We obeyed our father. It was great to sit in the car and watch people come and go. I saw two men go into a store. They were meticulously dressed. Their shoes were polished. Even their fingernails were polished. They were slim and wearing well tailored clothes. I got an impression of corruption, of evil coming from the two men. This impression did not come from the expression on their faces. They looked like they were engrossed in business. I was very freightened...did not understand this at all. Young children have a concept of evil as ugly. Think of the wicked witch with warts on her nose and hair a freight. How could these men be bad? Then, for the first time in my young life, my guardian angel spoke to me in my head. She said that these men can not hurt you. Thinking back, I am guessing they were involved in the rackets or in the mob. My guardian angle has spoke to me many times since then. There is always comfort and reassuance in her words.
Once children were old enough for chores, they got chores. It was unthinkable that a parent should mow the lawn, shovel the snow, do the dishes with children in the family, very capable of performing those chores. All the kids in my school had chores to do. I remember a school recital...upper classmen on the stage. They were in the 8th grade...I was somewhere in the earlier grades. Those eighth grade girls all had red hands. That was because they all did the family dishes by hand, using an alkaline soap that was harsh on hands. I did dishes, too. We had a cast iron enamel sink with a drainboard on either end. I washed a cup. It slipped from my hands and fell to the drainboard. I watched it hit the drainboard and roll around. Lucky for me it did not break. The unusual thing was it did not make a sound. The experience was like watching a movie with the sound turned off. I experience surprise...then another surprise...a second later, I hear the sound of the cup hitting the drainboard and rolling around. The sound was delayed from the motion. Had the sound somehow got mis-directed in the wiring in my head? Then re-directed?
It was another perfect summer afternoon. This time, We are at our city house. There is joy in my heart. Carefree and singing in my head. Like all children, I skip on the sidewalk and skip to the curb. For a few seconds, I stay suspended in the air. Has gravity been suspended? Does joy counteract gravity? I had forgotten this strange experience, until my daughter, Beth, reported that the same thing happened to her as she skipped down the hall to our house. She stayed up a few seconds too.
Another endless summer...a bike ride. I am riding at the curb , enjoying riding my bike. I am not watching where I am going. I get a feeling of worry from my guardian angel. ...but very faint. I am not paying attention. Suddenly a pair of warm, female hands materializes over my hands on the bike handlebars. I feel the handlebars yanked to the left, into the road. My hands did not turn the handlebars. They were turned by the hands over my hands...the hands of my guardian angel. To say I was surprised is a classic understatement. It was a struggle to maintain the bike, to avoid taking a spill. After I regained composure, I looked to where I was headed. I was pedaling right into the back of a parked car. At bike seat height, I probably would have been propelled over the handlebars into the rear window, breaking the glass and having a very serious accident. I had an impression that I could have become paralyzed. What does this imply about a life plan that would not happen? My guardian angel was on duty and probably saved my life...or saved me to accomplish my life plan.
Goofy me gets attached to innanimate objects. Remember the rock? Same for my teething ring, my yellow duck that went into the bath, my walker that I walked / tumbled down the stairs in....dolls...all sorts of things I loved with a passion. I also got attached to a tree in our front yard. It was a sticky aspen. I don't think garden designers would recommend this tree, as it had some bad habits, such as dropping sticky bits. It also had a smell. I think I was still in diapers, wandering around the front yard. There was the tree. It was as if a primal memory awoke. I understood this tree as my natural environment...memory as a primate. As an adult, I went back to the colony of cottages. The tree was still there. So was my feelings for it.
My passion for gardening started with our first home. I had a back yard with nothing in it. Across the street, my neighbors were great gardeners. I picked Mary's brains for gardening tips. She gave me some apple seedlings to plant. Two were planted into the side yard. How many years would it take for the seedings to bear apples? I was their caretaker..pruned and sprayed for about 8 years. They grew magnificently. I loved my apple trees. The apples they produced were genetic throwbacks. They were not the fine crossbred apples we buy in the store. Didn't care. They were my apple trees. One was shaped like a delicious apple. the other tree bore apples similar to Cortlands. I picked apples, ate apples, made applesauce, froze applesauce. I had a bonanza in two apple trees. The fragrance of ripe apples in the fall is exciting. In the spring, I climbed up one of my trees, like a kid, enjoying being surrounded by apple blossoms. What a delight! Sun through apple blossoms! Then, an impression: the tree was aware of me because of the weight I put on it's branches. It knew that I cared for it and protected it. That was the first miracle. The second one was, it told the second tree who I was. The third miracle was the spirit of the second tree, playfully jumped at me in recognition. I was humbled that two trees said hello.