Sunday, March 18, 2007

Grandma's Lilacs

Last week my SIL, Morning Glory, did a post on her lilac bushes, which my brother rescued from the old farm grounds, bundled up, and got them safely home. He was thoughtful enough to give one to me and to my sister as well. Ours are in the back corner of our yard, and are healthy, but not quite grown up enough to bloom yet.

lilac bush 2
lilac bush1

Lilacs and African Violets have always been favorites, because they take me back to Grandma's place. I told my story about Grandma S when I first started blogging. She was a hard-working Swedish farm lady, and we all loved her dearly. Most of her grandchildren outgrew her in height by the time we were 10. But she was mighty.

After she and Grandpa were both gone to heaven, I didn't see the old place for many years. I didn't even know what had happened to it. One summer my sister and I took a trip back to visit my still living grandparents, who lived in the same town, but up on the hill above the town cemetery. My cousin, who has been a missionary in Africa all of her life, and raised all of her children in the desert of Mali, was on home leave at the same time. Our relationship with her is one of those that picks up right where it left off. It can be years between talking, but it's like it was yesterday.

We took a trip out to the old place. We reminisced about learning to ride bike across the road, about burying birds in "Five Rock Patio," about club meetings in the old barns, about me being too scared to go up into the hayloft, so I got left out of a lot of the fun.

The house was now just rubble, having fallen into the cellar. Some of the outbuildings were still standing, but hadn't been used for years. The memories came rolling back upon us as we walked through the weeds and discovered bits and pieces of our past. My sister, who has a knack for such things, picked up some rusty souvenirs and made a wonderful collage. I should take a picture of it and post it.

Our memories of Grandma's lilacs were that they were in a very deep ditch, right by the side of a very busy country road. It's amazing how much smaller things are when you are grown up! All that remained were a few scraggly bushes. My cousin dug one up that day and transplanted it at their cottage in northern Minnesota, where they spent time when they were home on furlough. This is where my brother also dug them up and brought them home to MG and to the two of us.

As we were plodding through the memories, the weeds higher than our wastes, we wondered what people would think if they saw us rummaging around this property. My cousin, Ann, said, "Well, they'll probably just think we're a bunch of preacher's and missionary's kids hunting for our roots!"

We laughed and cried, but it was so true. We had all lived in many places, some much further away than others. But the fact that two of Grandma and Grandpa's sons became missionaries in Africa and one (our dad) became a pastor was such a huge part of our lives. They didn't become Christians until Dad was 10, and his brothers were older than he. What a heritage they began when they gave their lives to the Lord.


Dad is on the left, and the two missionary brothers are on the right.


Tracey said...

My grandmother has a stand of lilacs along her driveway. She has no sense of smell; lost it as a young child, so she's never known what they smell like. But I do, and I love them!

How lucky for you that your brother brought back such a sweet remembrance!

Linds said...

I really love the idea of plants linking memories, Dawn. And of the family all having parts of the lilic bush wherever you are. What an amazing heritage your grandparents left in their family!

groovyoldlady said...

Thanks for sharing the memories!

Lee-ann said...

Dawn I feel very humbled in being aloud to know a little bit about your grandmother and family they are very amazing people and you must be ever so proud of them all.

The lilac is such an old fashioned plant and one that brings back memories of days gone bye for many of us.

Thank you for sharing such a lovely "moment in time" in your family.

Diane J. said...

I love lilacs, but my tiny yard has no room for them. I hope to enjoy yours vicariously when yours blooms. ;-)

What a rich heritage you're blessed with, Dawn. Your grandparents are surely proud of the fruits of their labors.

Kristen said...

It's so neat that you have some of your grandparents "roots" now living in your yard. Now they will continue to live on with you even though they are gone.

Praying for your Prodigal said...

Oh Dawn, The smell of Lilacs brings me directly back to my Grandmothers side on the farm. How I wish I could transplant one of her lilac bushes in my front yard!

I have lilac bushes on the side of our house...purposely planted in honor of such grand memories! My kids look a little worried as I stand in the midst of the blooms, with eyes closed and arms outstretched as I soak up the warmth of the sun and the smell of the lilacs! I guess they had to be there to really appreciate the memories!

Although it will be sometime before they bloom, your post brought tears to my eyes as I recalled my own Grandmother and her beloved lilacs. Yes, buildings may crumble and years may pass.....but the memories of love...are lasting.


Susie said...

I enjoyed reading the story of the lilac told from your perspective!
Lilacs bring such fond memories back to me of the huge bush in my Grandma's yard. We used to have a little "secret area" behind it and would play dollies and smell the wonderful fragrance...

Nancy said...

What a heritage and now you have the lilac bush to remind you of all of your precious memories. I too have a lilac bush from my Grandmothers house. It blooms every year in April and the fragrance is so strong which provides many powerful memories. Thanks for sharing.

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

I love lilacs! They are so beautiful and fragrant! Love the photo too of your dad. Excellent post as always.

Tammy said...

What a wonderful photo and wonderful heritage to go with it, Dawn!

Linda said...

I love your stories about your family Dawn. Some day your grandchildren will read and cherish them.
I love lilacs too. We don't have them here - too hot I guess. I miss them - the fragrance is so beautiful. I had a friend who had her whole property line hedged with huge lilac trees - white and purple. The smell was heavenly.
Thanks for the lovely story and the memory of lilacs.

SiouxSue said...

What wonderful memories. I always remember my grannie's nasturtiums. We used to put them in salads. We often drive by mine and my grannie's home...she lived next door to us.

I love the photo of your dad's family.

Maine Mom said...

What sweet memories. I'm glad you have the flowers to remind you of wonderful times :-)

PEA said...

I'm back:-) Trying to catch up with everyone today!! It's funny how lilacs and African Violets were favourites of our's one the memories I have of my gran too:-) I think it's wonderful that you now have a lilac plant taken from the old farm...may it grow to be strong and healthy!! I have one too in my front yard...actually it's in front of my computer room window and when it's in bloom, the aroma that comes in here is just delightful!! So enjoyed reading your story!! xox