Monday, January 29, 2007

Apple Trees and larceny

No quilt content today- I did finsh the quilt top for my son and later I will get the backing with my gift cards from JoAnns. If any of you have the opportunity to-please go to Deb Geyer's blog-it's down ther in the list on the right-she finished the quilt I donated and I am at aloss for words. It brought tears to my eyes. So pretty, Thanks Deb.
Gray Monday, at least we didn't get the snow that was predicted. I think that if we get a typical winter in the years ahead, which is a certainty, we will be freaked out. Most years we have so much snow that we run out of places to put it. Not to mention the ice dams that form in parts of the yard. Before we had the blacktop-the guys would have to go out with fat iron rods and break up the ice blocks. When spring came, there would be a constant river of mud, a lot of which would wind up on the floor in our house. It's one of the things that I admire about my MIL Dot. How she managed to live a lifetime with so much muck and silt to clean up. With 3 boys, I imagine it was pretty much a constant struggle.
This picture is of an area which runs between our house and the neighboring property. It's a kind of a no-man's land. It's on the backside of our property and the neighbors house. They have a yard service that comes and cares for the property, mows the great lawn but for the most part this piece of land is just a thicket of vines and fallen trees and shrubs. In the spring-this will be so thick with vines and berry bushes that you almost can't see the ground. It becomes the place where all the squirrels, chipmunks, birds and even some turtles and such, have free run. There used to be apple trees out there, unfortunately they were old and finally had to be taken down or fell by themselves in storms. The smell of apple blossoms is intoxicating. I miss it. I have this weird thing that would qualify for one of the "6 weird things" meme but I don't have time today for that. I try to be an honest person in my life. Dealing with others, and in my personal life. It's not easy. Life is full of temptations, as we all know. The thing is, when I was a kid, my Mom brought me from Germany to America when I was 3. She had little money and needed to work.She was a dentist in Germany but had no license here- Lacking anyway to care for my daily needs while she learned the language and got a job-she temporarily stuck me in an orphanage in the countryside of a suburb of St. Louis, Mo. It was the Methodist Children's Home on Kings Highway. I remember that for a number of reasons the biggest of which was when she was able to get a free few days, she would have me picked up in a cab and brought to her apartment for the weekend and then returned Sunday night also by cab. I was new to English at this age(new to any language at 3) and they made me memorize my address and where I lived so that if anything happened I could say where I belonged. Anyway....I digress, there was an apple orchard next door and a pear orchard across the road. Some of the apple trees had self generated on the orphanage property and there were also crab apple trees. I remember clearly climbing the trees and eating the fruit. I can remember raiding the trees next door for really good apples and I still have a vivid memory of the tornado that took down the huge pear tree across the road. I think they must have been given permission to pick whatever fruit remained for the children because I remember going across the road with baskets and getting the pears. Along with this, my memory holds being stung by the yellow jackets who wanted the fruit as much as we did. Funny thing, this was back in probably 1953-54 ish and I had always wondered what happened to the place. A number of years ago, when I was searching for my father, I decided to call our local Methodist church and the pastor who married my husband & I. I wondered if there was a way to locate this place and get any records they may have had? Eureka-It still existed and a very nice man said he would look for my records but that all records that old had been left in boxes in the basement and never processed to computer so he didn't hold out much hope. Sure enough, a couple of days later, this nice man called me and said he found all my records-thus allowing me to find my father in Kentucky. It was a long strange trip, as they say in the song. It was the moment that I realized that no matter what my mother had done or failed to do later in my life-she had done the right thing by taking me out of Kentucky. Going to visit my father was like stepping back in time. I could barely understand the accent and I'm sure they could hardly understand me. No one had an education past the 8th grade and many had been in jail for various offenses. They were tobacco farmers. My half-sister once told me that it was alright that I couldn't make it to the annual reunion in July since everyone would get drunk and be arrested by sundown anyway..I had a major case of culture shock. Please don't get me wrong, but I was raised to love education and reading and culture. I didn't know what to do with this group of people except to use them as a cautionary tale for what could have been. It was then that I realized what could have become of my life if she had stayed with my father. He was a very kind and loving man but it was clear ow things would have turned out. I hope that doesn't sound selfish-it's just the truth.He's gone now and I know he was happy to have seen me. He said so often to my relatives. That's really all I wanted to accomplish when I tried to find him, since my only memory of him is of him picking me up from my bed and telling me how much he would miss me always.
Anyway, I'll leave the rest of the tale for another day since you are probably snoring and just finish by saying that whenever I am anywhere near apple trees, fruit trees of any kind really-I become larcenous. I am willing to jump out of cars and steal fruit on the run. Guard your trees.The funniest of these incidents was when we went to the Shelburne Museum and the parking lot was full of fruit trees-I waited till no-one was around and scammed myself an apple-or so I thought. I took a bite and it turned out to be a crab apple that nearly choked me to death-such are the wages of sin! This is what happens when I stand at the window and remember the smell of apple blossoms and the beauty of those lost trees. It's a long road from there to here and the ride has been fine.


Mrs. Mel said...

Dearest Dee,
What a wonderful story, and I could see every scene you described. I am so glad you turned out so good!

Needleroozer said...

Now it is my turn to thank you for your writing. What a wonderful story- the images were so clear. Now I will think about you when our apple and pear trees bloom.

Gerrie said...

Oh, my goodness, my good friend. That was some story. Beautifully told.