Today at work I walked by a bench of marigolds and they reminded me of my grandmother. She always grew a hedge of marigolds in her garden, near the road. They were the open pollinated type, tall, hedgy, small pungent flowers. She would collect the seedheads in a paper bag that she kept in a dark cabinet in her kitchen all summer long. There they would stay dry and she would be able to plant those seeds the next year.
I haven’t been able to find marigolds like that for years now. All of the varieties sold are short and not nearly as hardy. In some ways, those marigolds were a lot like my grandmother. She was six feet tall. Everyone in my family (except my mom and I that is) is tall, so that was never a biggie to me growing-up. It wasn’t until age had robbed her of her height that I realized how unusual it really was. She had this amazing head of pure white hair, and had had it for quite some time. She went white when she was in her 30’s I’ve been told. In some ways, I am a lot like my grandmother. She knitted and read a lot. She also had trouble holding her tongue. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure that she really even tried to hold her tongue. I know that by the time I was old enough to notice it, she was old enough to not really care anymore about conventions.
My Grandmother died when I was 18. She was the last of my grandparents to do so. This is one of the crappy things about having kids late in life, they don’t get much time with the grandparents (if at all). I think that my grandmother would have appreciated the things that I crochet probably more than anyone else in the family. I wish that I would have worn her ugly sweaters more as a child (now that I know how much hard work went into them). I hope that she knows that the bits and pieces of yarn and projects that were never finished have been put to good use (yes, I ripped out most of my grandmother’s unfinished projects, she would have approved of the yarn going to something else).
I don’t know if she would have been surprised that I am only now (soon) graduating from college. Or that I married a nice man from somewhere not Iowa. Or that I even crochet, since her attempts to teach me knitting were only successful in that I know how to do it but don’t like to.
I really wish that I had some of those marigold seeds……