Lily of the Valley--May's Flower
May happens to be my favorite month of the year. It's my bithday month but it's also a month of rebirth and planting in the northern hemisphere. April has its ups and downs with weather, while May is generally pretty wonderful. Warm but not hot yet here in the midwest. In the northern Illinois area where I grew up, May was when the flowering trees put on their greatest show.
Because we lived in an apartment with no yard to plant in, I satisfied my thirst for living things on my six block walk to and from school four times each day. No eating lunch at school then. I traveled the same route each day and watched the trees and bushes with tiny buds, day by day, waiting for them to burst into blossoms. One of my very favorites was a huge Snowball Bush nestled next to a large two story house. I looked forward to the show that bush put on each and every May. More than once, I considered snapping off a small branch to take home to my mother but somehow I resisted the urge. And believe me, that urge was monumental at times. Surely they wouldn't miss one little twig I'd tell myself. I'd picture handing the flowers to my mother. She'd be so happy. I had myself convinced until a black cloud passed over that picture. She'd want to know where I had gotten the beautiful offering. If I told the truth, I'd be in big trouble and if I lied, I'd probably be found out later and be in even bigger trouble.
My friend lived in a house that had a yard and flowers. There were tulips and irises in beds along a fence. Lily of the Valley lined one side of the freestanding garage. One day, the girl's mother asked me if I'd like to take some of that sweet-smelling flower home. A thrill ran right up my spine when she asked and I quickly answered in the affirmative. She gathered a nice bouquet for me. I hurried home clutching my gift and made the three flights of stairs in record time. My mom's face lit up when she spied the flowers in my hand but in a flash, she asked me where they had come from. No problem there, I told her the truth. We had no flower vases as we rarely ever had any flowers, there was no extra money for my dad to buy flowers to bring home. Mom filled a glass with tap water and gently placed those flowers in it. They held a place of honor for days in the middle of our kitchen table.
This is the kind of story you can write for the month of May to include in your Family Stories Memory Book. It's just a very small part of my growing-up years, but when my grandchildren read it, they will know a little more about me and the kind of person I am/was.
What May memories do you have? There are many special days this month. Does one of them bring back a memory. Something you may have forgotten over the years. This month we celebrate May Day (today), Mother's Day, and Memorial Day. In more recent years, we've also added Law Day (today), Armed Forces Day, and Cinco de Mayo. Many graduations take place in May, also. Do you have a story about your graduation? A family tradition on Memorial Day? A memorable Mother's Day?
I posted a memory piece on May at Our Echo some years ago. If you'd like to learn more about my memories of this month, including a birthday gift that made my face flame, click here.