Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sepia Saturday: All Around Packy's Garden

The Sepia Saturday site has changed its prompt from a word to a photo, leaving us with a broader range of theme interpretation. This week's photo features a group of girls working in a flower garden, and I am choosing to focus on the "garden" aspect of it rather than the "flowers."

This is the Missouri home of my grandparents, Lewis (Packy) and Lola (Mammaw):

It was in this home that my little sister and I grew up. Behind the house, the backyard was divided right down the center by a grapevine-bordered path. The lawn in the eastern half of the backyard was mowed short. That was where our swing set stood, where the grownups' lawn swing sat, and where freshly laundered wash dried on the clothesline every Monday that it didn't rain.

Here's a photo of my sister and me (that's me on the left) in that half of the backyard:
The house at the center left of the photo belonged to our neighbor, Mrs. Woods, who was a college professor. At center right you can see the back of our garage, to which is attached an unpainted wooden bicycle shed that Packy (who worked at a furniture store) built from a piano crate.

Now, in the next photo, please look behind me (standing on the ladder of the swing set) and through the wire fence holding up the grapevine. There is Packy's garden:

He worked in that garden every evening of the growing season, and Mammaw put the fresh food he grew on our table all summer long. What we didn't eat fresh, she canned to feed us through the winter.

I have one more picture that shows the (western) garden half of the backyard, this one taken from the back steps of the house and looking out toward the alley that ran the length of the block behind all the homes:

This photo brings several things to my mind:
1) If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you might be barely able to see the spray of the water sprinkler at my feet. I still remember how cool that spray felt on a hot summer afternoon. 
2) At the end of the path behind us is a wooden structure that surrounded our trash-burning barrel. It was inside that container that our Uncle Joe was once asked to burn all the post-Christmas gift-wrapping trash and instead burned the boxes containing all of our tree ornaments.
3) The little cottage just across the narrow alley sat in the backyard of a larger house and was occupied by Mrs. Belisle, whose daughter, Bluize, in fact had brown ones. I wonder if my sister remembers Bluize's son, nicknamed "Dukie," who was our playmate for a few years.

More than vegetables grew in Packy's garden. Memories did. And little girls.


For this week's Saturday Song Selection, I had  planned to post a video of a favorite old hymn entitled "In the Garden," and if you love that one as much as I do, you can find the Elvis Presley version of it here. Those plans changed, however, when I came across a similarly titled song that I'd never heard before. It's a really good song, and the sepia images that the videographer chose to accompany it are beyond beautiful.


The song is "In the Garden" by Van Morrison.
Enormous thanks to MrKathsic for posting this video (along with a link to the lyrics in the info section below it) on YouTube.

To see how others have interpreted this week's theme,
click on the image below and follow the links.


  1. The best loved gardens are always the ones put to good use. The sepia video is a joy to watch.

  2. Drat . . . I just posted a poem, and the sepia of my grandmother in a 1914 REO will have to wait I guess.

    Really nice presentation of memories that you did. I wonder if the house still is there?

  3. Thank you for sharing your memories of Packy's garden, and with lovely images too. The Van Morrison song is a gem that I've never heard before, and it fitted the theme beautifully.

  4. What a beautiful post. I felt absolutely transported, as if I could smell the summer and feel the cool spray from the sprinkler. An absolute delight, including the music.

  5. What a nice garden! I especially like the photo with the swimsuits and water spray.

  6. Thank you! the pictures reminded me of my grandmother's backyard and swingset, though no garden.

  7. What great memories you have of Packy's garden. My iPad won't allow me to hear van Morrison. But I'll check it out later at work. I'm sure I'll love it cause I love all his other music.

  8. Oh, this is such a wonderful post! Thank so much for all the work you put into it.I enjoyed the pictures, memories, the video ... and your neighbors fascinating names! I feel sick about the Christmas ornaments being burned up on accident though.

    Kathy M.

  9. I am envious of Packy's garden. It certainly looks well-tended. I enjoyed the assortment of random memories like burning the ornaments instead of the trash.

  10. Love the garden and the memories! We used to love playing in the sprinkler!

  11. what memories! and I like that garden, it looks well-tended. Bet the vegetables were good!

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