Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sis, do you remember?

Driving home for lunch today, I spotted the large leaves of a catalpa tree and took a quick trip back in time. The second picture on this page (the one with the large green leaves and the small white flowers--the picture I considered "borrowing" and posting here, but we all know we aren't supposed to do that) looks like a catalpa tree that was in the front yard of my childhood home.

There were lots of trees in that yard but only one catalpa tree. Its white blossoms were tubular shaped, with ruffles on their edges, and each bloom was just the right size to fit a small girl's finger. My sister and I used to cover our fingertips with blossoms and pretend we were wearing lacy gloves.

The catalpa tree grew in the strip of grass that separated the sidewalk from the street, the same grassy strip where we played under the streetlights on summer nights: Here I come. Where you from? New Orleans. What's your trade? Lemonade. Show me something if you're not afraid.

Those were the days before air conditioning and television drove everyone indoors. While we kids played under the streetlights or ventured into darker areas to catch lightning bugs, the grown-ups sat on nearby porch swings to stay cool and keep watch. Their murmured voices made us feel safe in spite of the darkness.

I miss those days.


  1. Me too. Beautiful story, I saw it all.

  2. Silhouette of a day, treasured by the ones who hung on to it. I felt the warm air and heard the voices of your childhood. Sweet reading, Velvet, very sweet.

  3. Me too... beautiful.

  4. Yeah, I miss those days too. The houses on my street didn't have porches, but some of the parents would put lawn chairs by the front steps and kind of supervise while we played kick-the-can and other games under the streetlights. Now I'm nervous about walking from the house to my car after dark.

  5. Velvet, Lovely story and could have been from my early childhood as well.

    Do you remember Catalpa worms??? The BEST for fishing...


  6. On summer nights our family played in the yard. We would catch fire flies and put them in a jar or squish them on our fingers and the tips of our fingers would be a florescent color for several minutes.
    We lived way out in the country and had a huge yard and one light just under the peak the roof on the house that lit most of the yard.

    A person's relationship with their Brothers and Sisters is the longest relationship anyone usually has.

    4th Sister Helen

  7. I love catalpa trees and would have one, in a minute, in my yard except that my husband thinks they're too messy (and he IS the one who mows). But I too have memories of those big leaves and the droppy flowers's sweet smell and summer nights playing spotlight outdoors till our parents made us come inside.


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