Friday, April 24, 2015

A Marriage and Violets

In late April I think of the columns Clara Hieronymus used to write in The Tennessean newspaper. Not her theater columns from her 40 years as theater critic for the newspaper but the annual columns about her wedding anniversary and her April garden.

The newspaper photo above is from my diary as I could not find it online. Her bridal coronet is made of Confederate violets, and violets were always her leitmotif in the columns.

Here are some excerpts from her columns that I saved in my diaries, along with pictures of the Confederate violets that grow in our own garden among the purple ones. 

Mrs. Hieronymus taught me to love them.

"As if to urge a more familiar mood of festivity, our violets are in bloom, in the garden borders and all over the yard--long-stemmed Confederate violets whose woodland find supplied the flowers for my wedding veil, rich purples from a friend's garden years back, whites and pale lavenders, and bright yellows that speak of my husband's fondness for yellow flowers."

"It makes me happy to recall the morning I opened my eyes and saw my young husband standing by my hospital bed. Our first child had just been born and my husband had bought all the violets the florist had, bringing the purple bouquets to me in both hands."

",,,55 years of companionship with a man who has been patient and loving and appreciative of April's metaphorical bounty of violets, year after year."

"We met our problems in these 56 years with hearts as resolute as we could make them…we grew together in increasing sympathy and loving understanding of each other's strengths and weaknesses."

"With violets and grape hyacinths making the yard a blue and green mosaic of flowers and grass, we greet another year."

Each year, year after year, I read Mrs. Hieronymus's columns, inspired by their marriage and yes, envying their marriage. They didn't quite make it to their 58 year anniversary as her husband passed away the month before their next anniversary. 

That year Mrs. Hieronymus wrote:

"In the midst of grief I reach for solace, and find comfort in the fact that he was here to see one of the most beautiful springtimes in the 45 years we have lived in Nashville.

"The violets that he knew I loved bloomed in a joyous abandon of purple, yellow, white and blue in the borders and grass everywhere.

"We loved this garden, his Christmas gift to me one year…A haven where we might savor coffee and the morning paper, or visit over a glass of wine on a summer evening, listening to the whispery rustle of the cane and growing quiet as a hummingbird visited the red salvia.

"We walked together in this paradigm of beauty for the last time.

We said goodnight to each other that evening.

We did not know it was also goodbye.

"I am grateful for 58 years of a husband's warm and undemanding love. My heart hurts. My eyes fill. But I think I hear him saying,

"It's all right honey.
Don't cry.
Look, the violets are blooming."

Companionship. Sharing a love of family, home and garden. Isn't their's a beautiful story?

Clara Hieronymus died November 30, 2013 at 100 years of age.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Visit to Mimi and PawPaw's

Nora gathered eggs…

Thank you, Ladies…

The last time Nora visited us,
she didn't know whether she was going to have
a baby brother or a baby sister…

As most of you know,
Defee and Wallace were blessed 
with a second baby girl...

We had a few happy days holding
darling CC…

And watching Nora play…

The first thing Nora said,
on being told they were going to visit
Mimi and PawPaw was:

"I need my helmet!"

Brown Eyes was so very glad to see Nora…

And Uncle Zack was happy to see both
of his sweet nieces…

Nora's cousins visited…

We miss these precious girls so much,
and their dear parents.

We even miss Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood!

Added on 4/20/15:

Look what Nora found at the library today…

Thursday, April 9, 2015


I wish you could have known him.

My father was born to a farmer.
He was produce buyer, garden center owner,
nurseryman, and gardener.

The youngest of 7 children,
he helped his mother in her vegetable & flower garden
while his older brothers worked on the farm.

Daddy survived cancer for 16 years,
coping with the effects of the radiation
that saved his life but stole much of his
ability to speak clearly.

Through it all he worked, and then
came home and worked in his garden.

He even began a new job in his 70s.
He contracted for fields of red cabbage,
red cabbage for a natural red food coloring
for the Japanese market.

You know the red food coloring we use here 
when we make Red Velvet Cake?
It's not very good for you.

Not long ago I found Daddy's business card
from his red cabbage days.

I turned it over and found this:

"Job in workplace is a challenge.

This is a challenge to me.



Care for Dewena."

Dewena is my mother;
I was named for her.

This message from my father explained much.

Beauty was important to him,
caring for his wife was important to him.

He was determined to survive.

He saw it all as a challenge. 

Daddy left us for his heavenly home 14 years ago.

We miss him so much,
but he's now with his beloved Mama and Papa,
and his sisters and brothers.

Winnie, Arthur, Etta,

Leon and Devon, Roy,

and Howard.

They were all extraordinary.

I wish you could have known them.

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Violet Easter

I adore violets!

Usually in full bloom by the end of March here,
this year they're just beginning.

R.H. snapped these last year,
getting close as a grasshopper.

His pictures make me want to paint a room violet.

They make me long for an Easter corsage of violets.

Why did corsages go out of fashion?

When I was growing up they were de regieur
for every special occasion.

My mother would have looked stunning in this
gray silk shantung taffeta suit in 1951.
She would have easily made it from the 
Vogue Design No. 7310.

The green hat by Irene would have been
perfect on her soft black hair.

And my father might have ordered
a violet corsage for her
instead of the usual orchid.

This photograph was taken c. 1959
of my beautiful mother.
She still is beautiful at 90.