Forsythia, fruit trees and weeds—those are the plants from my childhood home that I recall most. Perennial, annuals, herbs and bulbs were foreign garden words to me until I became a homeowner. Peaches, apples, pears, cherries, blackberries, and grapes surrounded our home.
From my grandmother’s yard we picked those deliciously juicy white peaches. I did not recall that she grew white, rather than yellow peaches, until I accidently purchased the white variety one year. When I took that first bite, I was transported back to her house and recalled the abundance of fruit trees in our back yards.
A tire swing hung from our apple tree, which was adjacent to the white wooden sandbox which Grandpa built when I was little. While playing in the dirt was fun, I preferred navigating the perimeter more than playing inside. It was a challenge attempting to balance on the edges and walk completely around without toppling to the ground.
Once my great Uncle Pat passed away, two of his daughters resided in that house on the hill behind us. I don’t think they liked having five children living nearby, so we would have to sneak into their yard to grab a few of the ripened cherries or pears that had fallen to the ground before they would chase us away.
His grape vines were eventually removed, but I still recall popping a few of Uncle Pat’s special grapes. According to Aunt Marian and verified by Grandma: “Uncle Pat made his own wine from the grapes grown in his yard. One Sunday, with no one paying attention, Jean, who was only three, drained the bottom of the wine glass a couple of times. Mom was at home cooking Sunday dinner, and when Dad took us home, Jean slept for hours. Needless to say, Mom was furious and Dad was careful after that.” My grandfather was in big trouble!
When the summers grew to a close, the days grew shorter and colder, and the overly-aged fruit began to drop to the ground. Pee Yew! As they began to rot, Grandpa would rake them up and toss them away. The putrid aroma of decaying apple still lingers in my mind.
He grew tired of disposing those overripe apples and finally decided their days were done. So one day, our swing was removed and the apple tree cut down. It was the end of another era.