My mother’s likes and dislikes are not just memories for me – they’re imbedded in my own preferences. They go bone deep.
Maybe this is one of the ways a person lives on. Not just through memories but through the influence of their choices.
Planted near the farmhouse was a lilac of legend. It was reputed to have come from England on a ship with my great-grandfather, Joseph Biggs, my Grandma Hall’s father. He planted the first cutting in Glastonbury, Connecticut where he lived and worked and where my grandmother grew up. After my grandmother married my grandfather and moved to the farm, my great-grandfather Joseph planted a cutting from the English lilac at the back of the Hall farmhouse.
The lilac was a deep dark purple – a very unique bloom, and highly prized by my mother. So when we moved to our own land on Whirlwind Hill, she planted a cutting behind the garage. It thrived. It was a lovely tree. I took this photo of a branch amongst a bouquet of lighter lilacs and dogwood in 2008. You can see the darker lilacs reflected in the mirror.
Seven or eight years ago I pulled a lilac “sucker” from a dark purple lilac planted by a friend here in Anchorage. Because of my mother’s strong preference for this color lilac, I had to have one. The property where it was growing was being sold, the building demolished, and the tree transplanted, and I wanted to see if I could grow my own dark lilac. (The last I heard was that the transplanted tree didn’t survive.)
My husband and I have watched the baby tree every year for signs of flowers. Finally, this spring, we were excited to see buds. The friend who planted the original tree died this past winter, and it seems fitting for the tree to bloom in her honor. I’m sure my mother and my friend who both loved these English lilacs would be happy about their legacy.
On Monday: Doing Dishes