Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lady Cultivar I

My Grandma Elsie - "Cultivar I"
Allow me to introduce you to my Grandma Elsie known to me as the "cultivar." Although I was quite little when she went to heaven, I do have the fondest memories of her and her wonderfulness.  To list her many skills and elegant characteristics would be like describing an orchid.  The above black and white photo was taken of her while she was in Mexico, so the story goes, the "Mexican Riviera."  I simply adore this photo of her as she seems so enamored by such a splendid species or could it be the magical rug on which she stands. Can you see the chic couple in the background?  I wonder if my Grandma Elsie exchanged small pleasantries, perhaps about the weather or the flora.
A bouquet of skills such as sewing, baking, crafting and creating all were handed down to me, just as an orchid pollinates.   I remember going to her home on the hill where she raised my Mother and breathing in such an intoxicating powdery smell of loveliness.  The color that reigns supreme in my memory is "turqoise" as her home was awash with this color.  I often wonder if she was inspired from that trip to the Mexican Riviera.  I long to know where she stayed, which room, what did she pack and how long must it have taken her to travel there without a variety of modern day conveniences or inconveniences,  no cell phone, no bothersome security checks.

Turqoise delight - The Mexican Riviera - Cabo San Lucas
My Grandmother lived in a lovely home on a hill and in the dining room, there was a special drawer in the "side-board."  I would rush to that spot, pull open that drawer and breathe in the heady smell of chocolate and wax.  I would always find, Hershey's chocolate and a shoe lid filled with crayons and some sort of paper, usually that thick yellowy type of paper that I would later meet in school.  I was only about three and I do remember these visits.  The hum of ladies chatter, the smell of coffee and the laughter.  
Vanilla plantifora, the Orchid
I still ask my mother to tell me stories about her, the "cultivar."  How did she raise my mother by herself.  How did she make ends meet raising four children? 

My father loves to tell stories of his "courtship" with my Mother and the fabulous suppers that Grandma Elsie would prepare.  My Father grew up on a farm in country and my Mother was raised at that time what was known as the "city."  I think my Dad must of known that he had unearthed a rare and beautiful creature when he met my Grandmother, Lady Cultivar I, and her wonderful daughter, my Mother, Lady Cultivar II.  He always tells me stories of what a lady Grandma Elsie was.




The orchid produces the wonderful vanilla bean.  I think my father knew this, that the pod he fell in love with was cultivated in more ways than one and that my mother would one day be his very own i-pod.  I just could not resist that pun.
(Stay tuned for a series of posts on the Lady Cultivars.)

27 comments:

heidi said...

I can tell from that pic, she was one special lady! And those shoes!!!
Looking forward to hearing more... xoh

pve design said...

Heidi-
She was the penultimate. I wish I had her brooches and some of the dresses that she sewed for me.
I will ask my mother about her shoes, there must be a story or two.
pve

Debra said...

Patricia~ What a wonderful recollection of beautiful childhood memories. I know exactly when you mean when you say you remember the scent of chocolate and wax. My Grandmother raised Pansies with my Grandfather and to this day- when I smell a pansy it evokes such happy thoughts of days gone by.

Joyce said...

Oh Patricia- you painted a beautiful picture with your words! You had me sitting on the edge of my seat this quiet morning.
She was one grand woman. I can't wait to hear more- I love happy endings. A piece of Lady Cultivar lives on in you and your children...
Please tell us more! xoxo

Ivy Lane said...

Patricia, You write so beautifully. I love the story behind the picture and am also intrigued to know more....What a great story.

I have been away in the Caribbean and will post a few pics of one of the most beautiful places we had lunch..every table had a different spray of orchid blooms in a vase. This post brings me back to last Tuesday in Barbados!

Have a great day!

Kwana said...

Oh Patricia what a wonderful post you took me away for a moment. She was obviously an amazing woman. You do her proud.

pve design said...

Debra,
You peeked the pansy in me, for my Uncles grew them too and I loved walking into the greenhouse and feeling that blast of warmth and the smell of earth emitting such beauty. I long for spring on this very cold day.
pve

Joyce-
More to come so please stay tuned.
Thanks for your dear and kind comments as always and I do hope that you are feeling better.
pve

Ivy-
Ah, Barbados must have been lovely. I look forward to seeing your orchids.
pve

Kwana,
My only hope is to pass it on here. I better teach some body knitting, needlepoint, sewing and more.
Perhaps they had more time back then and less running around like crazy. I know they too had their fair share of challenges.
pve

Susan said...

Now you have me interested in your grandmother and her life. More information, please!

Karena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karena said...

Beautiful memories and what a fabulous woman. We should all keep diaries of chats with our parents and keep these to pass along to our children and future generations.

ArchitectDesign said...

Aww, I love hearing stories like this. Parents might 'rear' us, but grandparents, in some cases, have more impact on our personalities. I know mine did! I had a special grandma too and I feel so lucky to have had her! I loved having you share this story with us :-)

Patricia Gray said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Grandmother and the great memories she has given you. She sounds like a great lady!

Sabina said...

This was a great post!!! I could have kept right on reading!! More...more!!!

Rachel said...

What a lovely picture of your grandmother (and an amazing tribute).

A Day That Is Dessert said...

You are brilliant!! This is a really beautiful tribute to your Grandmother and evokes memories for me of times with my own Grandmothers (I am happy to say are both living). When will you be writing that book??

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Cannot wait for the next installment. You paint as well with words as you do with a brush.

milly (elephants&redwoods) said...

What a special, special story. I have the same curiousities about my grandparents and their travels...particuarily my grandfather's travels to Japan. I have Mikimoto pearls and a kimona passed to me from my mother which were presents to her from him, but I wish I could ask him about it.

I love this story! I hope there is more to share about Miss Cultivar.

Jill said...

Lovely tribute!

hmstrjam said...

i love this pic, looks like a black and white ink drawing, would make a great print!

Cote de Texas said...

just lovely. I hope my daughter has memories like this one day! her grandmother has the greenest thumb and the cookest finger, haha! she is a great cook too!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

What a glamorous woman Elsie was! Love the photo and love your evocative descriptions...I can almost smell the chocolate and wax and feel the ocean breezes wafting in...!! Lovely!!

genevieve said...

I am new to your blog, but I love this one about your grandmother. Where did the beautiful illustration of orchids come from? genevieve

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

The Lady seems quite fabulous indeed! I love your descriptions of her...even though you hardly got to know her in her worldly life, very clearly her spirit lives on -- in you (you artsy fabulous woman, you!) and around you in the stories that have been handed down to you. And "just as an orchid pollinates" -- love that. (That and the i-pod pun. ;-)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

What wonderful memories. And such a fabulous photograph to have of her. A treasure for certain.

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