I remember May Day when it was real. Before technology. Before smartphones. Before emails, texts and all cyberspace deliveries without warmth, heart or time invested by the sender.
It wasn’t happy.
In fact, it was rife with abuse, rejection, abandonment, the toxic war zone that is my childhood.
Perhaps this is why I cling to fond memories, holding fast and dearly to remind myself it wasn’t all bad all of the time.
One memory pokes its head through the hard dry soil May 1 of every year.
We lived on a hill, my original family of four, with some 15 neighbors. The half acre demanded heavy toil and slave labor; rather, to be fair, was my father’s demand.
But that’s another post.
The acreage included large sloping hillsides of weeds, snails, ivy and geraniums in red, pink and yellow (if memory serves).
Flowers-wise, my mother tended to a small rectangle of rosebushes at the side of the house. Roses were few; don’t even recall any plucked from the scraggly bushes ever in the house!
Geraniums, however, we had in spades.
Every May Day, my mother clipped geraniums from the yard. That is, I presume they were geraniums given a dearth of roses and other flowers.
From white paper and tape, she fashioned cones. Into each she placed a small bouquet of flowers.
Simple. Nothing fancy, elaborate or over the top.
Then my younger sister (by two years) and I delivered the May Day bouquets to the neighbors on the hill.
I don’t recall how we delivered bouquets to those who weren’t at home. Did the cones have strings or paper handles for knobs? Or did we simply lay them aside the door? Or bring them back?
Those who were home expressed surprise and delight at their deliveries.
May Day is a day when my mother shined.
In the Darkness, harshness, squelching and violence that was the home, it was on May 1 that her thoughtfulness, sentimentality, eye for color, love of flowers and whimsy shined.
I’m glad she expressed those. For me.
Above all, I’m glad for her.
May Day is a day she was able to express herself, to be free and childlike, creating beauties, simply.
And isn’t it the simplest that touch us the most, that we remember the most?
For these traits, I remember well and thank you, mom (there on the other side).
Happy May Day.
These are for you.