• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Friday, August 26, 2011


I think I was once a crybaby.

I picked some sweet peas today.
I got tears in my eyes.

Maybe I still am a crybaby -
inside -
I don't think I have changed too much ...

I remember being so small that when I clung howling to my father's leg that he could not peel me off because his knee was at shoulder height and the bump of it made it so he could not slide his leg out of my death-grip.

I remember Necia Bennett (a very kind older neighbor that helped mother) looking deeply into my teary, gray blue eyes as she asked me what color my eyes were. She told me that water makes blue eyes look more gray - gray like rain clouds and that EVERYONE likes sunshine more than rain. She said that she could see that inside I was not a 'gray' kind of girl. She asked me if I could make my eyes like a sunny blue sky.

I remember standing on a street corner with profuse tears streaming down my face and dripping onto the sidewalk the first time I missed the bus (to my country home) in first grade.

Apparently those were not quiet tears.
I had difficulty choking out my name to a would be rescuer's,
  "What's your name little girl?"

I couldn't say.

"Did you miss your bus?"
I cried harder than ever.

When I finally stuttered out my first name he asked my parents names. I thought he was dense.  Their names were mommy and daddy - duh!

He tried a new tactic.
Did I have a grandma? (Yes.)
Did she live in town? (Yes.)
Did I know where? (No.)
What was her name?

Single syllable words can be exclaimed on wrenching sobs. 'Grandma Forsyth' could not. The man turned out to be a shirt-tail relative, teacher (Neldon Hatch). When he finally got me calm enough to recognize what I was saying, he asked if Grandpa and Grandma Forsyth were Neil and Chloe Forsyth. I did not know.  He took the chance that they might know me and walked me to their house.  I was so overjoyed to see Grandma's familiar face that I cried even harder.

L-R: Ken, Scott, Neil, Chloe, Mylo, Duane, Ruth, Bryce, Garth
 Neil Snow Forsyth Family picture about 1959

Grandma was the most beautiful person I had ever seen.  When I looked at her I thought she rivaled any prettiness I had ever even heard about.

left to right - back row: June (Bryce), Verna (Duane) , Jean (Garth)
front row: Robert (Ruth) Horne, Gladys (Scott),
Neil and Chloe nee Hatch Forsyth, June (Ken), Matilda  (Mylo)

I look at her pictures from that time and notice no apparent great physical beauty but I saw her with the child-eyes kindness and love bestow.

Neil Snow Forsyth family about 1940

Grandma always grew sweet peas trellised along a fence of their yard. In season small bouquets filled indoor air with their wonderful scent.  I loved to walk along the fence and bury my nose into the blooms and inhale until I couldn't draw in any additional air without fainting.  As I would reach that dizzy zenith I was finally forced to exhale.  I would walk a step, or two, to a fresh spot and breathe in again.

I loved to go to Grandma Forsyth's. I stayed overnight there that traumatic day I missed the bus.  I loved it so much I missed the bus repeatedly.  (I didn't need to cry though.)

My sweet peas are blooming now - it is a little late but I gather bouquets to put inside. The more you pick them the more they bloom.  I still make myself dizzy trying to get enough of that special smell. And I remember Grandma.  Tears come to my eyes.  She died just after my birthday.

I miss her still.  I have never met anyone that treated others - and in particular me - with kind respect of that magnitude.  She made me feel that I could be and do anything.  I always felt happy around her.  Even when my grandfather seemed quite stern.  She helped me understand the ways he showed love.

I want to be like her in that way.

Sweet peas look pretty and are quite fragile. The blooms do not last and last.  The scent lingers though ... it seems embedded into my being -

I can call that sweet smell to memory long after spring or summer pass by saying her name or thinking of her. Kind gentleness always makes me think of sweet peas.

I think of them and her ...