This past week, my mom sent me the very first pictures I’ve ever seen of my great-grandfather, Glenn Archer Stewart, Sr. I’ve written briefly about Glenn… he was one of the two young boys who were orphaned when their father, William Stewart killed their mother, Esther, and then himself at the the Columbia Hotel in Caldwell, Ohio, in 1913. Glenn, and his younger brother Dale (who I’ve also written about), both committed suicide as well – Dale in 1943 and Glenn in 1958.
I’d been anxiously watching my rhododendron bush for a few weeks waiting for its bright pink buds to open and this week did not disappoint! My patience was rewarded with a towering hot pink display this week… when I say towering, I mean it. It’s reaching my second floor windows! In conjunction with Mothers Day last week, it made me start thinking about the ladies in my life who’ve always seemed to have particular flowers growing in their gardens.
I have unfortunately NOT inherited my ladies’ gardening gene… my father has it too and grows orchids which are notoriously hard to keep but he loves them and they flourish under his care. Even my husband can get plants to grow! He’s like the Jesus of plants, able to revive them from the dead. I have a pothos that I’ve nearly killed off twice, having just ONE brown leaf left and he’d somehow, someway, bring it back to life like Lazarus from the grave. We’ve had that pothos for about 9 years now! His name is Simon and he resides in my dining room next to Robert, another variegated pothos. Robert Plant. Get it? LOL The only thing I’ve successfully kept alive for any amount of time has been my mini bonsai tree that I’ve had for two years now. I don’t dare touch anything else. I’m like the Grim Reaper of the floral world.
It made me think back to one of my own pictures from 1979 where I’m in my Easter Sunday finest at my Grandma and Grandpa Stewart’s house. I’m donning a bright red wool coat, with a little yellow and white dress peeking out, white knee socks and of course, those shiny church shoes! Whatever made my mom think that red and yellow were a good fashion choice, I’ll never know! But that meme on my Facebook page the other day did start me thinking about our family’s past Easter traditions. Does your family have any?
I was extremely happy to see Family Search #52stories writing prompt this week because I have had it on my list for some time to write about my grandma, Clara Lou Peters Stewart. My love of music and singing can likely be attributed to her. My love of big band music came from watching her bobby-socking in the kitchen at a 4th of July party one year! She was one amazing piano & organ player. I have oodles of newspaper clippings from her younger days playing in school concerts and I daresay, she likely played at the wedding of nearly half of Pickaway County during her lifetime! I have so many memories of family holiday gatherings where she would hop on the organ in the corner of the dining room after a meal and play/sing for us.
I’ve been really lax in keeping up with the #52stories project writing prompts from Family Search but this one caught my eye and I knew I had to tell the story of my first best friend, Kristi Petty. We have been friends ever since we were wee bitty things in kindergarten at Walnut Elementary School in Ashville, Ohio. Brownie Troop, softball, school plays, band camp…. been there, done that with her.
If I had to pick one word to describe our friendship, it would be “epic.” There is just practically no other word that encapsulates the sheer magnitude or scope of shenanigans and misdeeds that we have experienced and/or perpetrated together. To this day, if you ask her, I even tried to kill her at one point. Seriously, she even recently posted horridly graphic hand drawn Get Well cards from fellow first grade classmates as a reminder of this incident on my Facebook feed, which you can see below in the gallery. I will be reminded of this even when we’re 90, gray and feeble. (If you’re wondering, she fell off the slide onto the pavement and was seriously injured. She wrongly asserts I pushed her to go down the slide first.)