Monday, May 16, 2011
When I was a a young child growing up in Wisconsin and elderly woman named Esther lived next door to my family. Esther had a sister named Stella . I can't remember anymore if they lived together or not, but they were always together in my memory. They would often invite me inside their home and we would play my favorite game, hide and seek. I always hid in the same spot under Esther's bed and they would always pretend they couldn't find me although they knew very well where I was. They would let me try on their perfume and gave me tiny lipstick samples to take home with me. They always had cookies and Popsicles to share with me before I would return home. It didn't matter to me then that they were several decades older then me, they were my dear friends, honorary grandmothers.
They lived alongside and alley way that was separated from the house by a small white fence and an amazing row of lilac bushes.They were enormous to me then, more like trees than bushes, with gnarly trunks that were irresistible to climb. I climbed them all the time, although I don't remember if Esther or Stella minded. The lilac bushes were spectacular there must have been five or six all in a row all with different personalities. Each bush had lilacs of a different color ranging from dark purple to lavender to white and and all the colors of purple you can image in between. They smelled so sweet it almost made your eyes water.
Esther and Stella were only our neighbors for a short time of my childhood. Ester got sick and passed away and Stella moved into a nursing home. I was too young to know the details and it is all a blur in my mind which is for the best because all the memories I have of them are good. My sweet friends.
Lilacs are the flower of my childhood.
Now whenever I walk past a Lilac bush and smell their wild perfume, I am eight years old again in my private grove,perched on a knobby branch picking lilacs for my mama. Without a care in the world.
Someday when my family settles down in a home of our own, I am going to plant two lilac bushes in our yard, and I will name then affectionately and with love, Esther and Stella.