Saturday, September 27, 2008


Does it ever happen to you that you remember something suddenly, some little thing you hadn't thought of in years?

My grandmother loves flowers. When she still had her house, she used to plant flowers all along the side of her house and on the other side of the little patch of grass between that and the fence. Usually she had impatiens, or the Hungarian equivalent. When I was in college, I discovered a greeting card that was essentially a two-page pop-up book of a flower arrangement. They had a few different designs, different flowers--violets, roses, whatever. For me at the time, they weren't so cheap, but I loved them so I bought them anyway. I sent one whenever I thought of it and the next time I visited found she'd kept them all; they were displayed in her china closet in the kitchen, next to the dusty origami birds I'd made in junior high. I haven't seen those cards in years. I wonder if anyone still makes them.

When I had just moved to England, in September of 1998, I saw bags of flower bulbs--daffodils and tulips--for sale in front of a store, ten bulbs for a pound (meaning, a pound in money). I thought that was pretty cheap and briefly considered planting some in front of my new home, then discarded the idea--I didn' t even have a spade, and clearly nothing had been planted there in years. Instead, I bought three bags of tulip bulbs and a bag of daffodil bulbs and brought them to my grandmother. I went that time by bus--yes, you can take the bus from Birmingham to Budapest, but I wouldn't say I'd recommend it. She was delighted, and got them in the ground before I left. The next time I visited, in December, she said I'd have to come back to see them. I said I didn't know when that would be, but when I got back to England I bought a disposable camera and mailed it to her so she could take pictures. I brought the camera back with me when I came, late that May, for a two-day trip I managed to attach to a job interview I had in Vienna. When I developed the film, it was 24 pictures, one after the other, of daffodils and tulips, from every angle.

I wish I'd kept some of them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are cards that basically open up as pop-up 3-D arrangements of various kinds, including several bouquets of flowers. They're all lovely. I send them to my aunt in Belgium, who loves them and puts them around her living room, and tells my mother about them when she calls. If you can't find any around where you are, I'll send you some to send to your grandma.