Archive for May, 2014



I’ve lived in my current house for 13 years, though some of my neighbors have been here for decades.  Take Ben, for example.  Ben grew up in the wooden 800-square-foot house around the corner.  A few years older than me, Ben recalled playing with the boys who lived in my house.  (Maybe they were the source of all those empty beer bottles in the old shed out back?)

Ben also remembered staying down the street at Grandma and Grandpa Jones’ house while his mother was at work.    The Jones’ lived in a white one-story house next to the Baptist church.  According to Ben, the Jones’ were the first blacks in the neighborhood to have a television set as well as indoor plumbing.  He spent many a summer night playing in their yard, eating dinner at their kitchen table, and watching their tv.

Grandpa Jones was still alive when I first moved here, though I never met him.  He passed away about five years ago.  Unfortunately, his house then became a haven for drug users and fell into disrepair. A once meticulously cared-for home had cracked windows and peeling paint.  The yard, always fertilized and neatly mowed, was weedy and overgrown.  Junk cars lined the driveway. I could imagine the Jones were turning over in their graves!

Luckily for the neighborhood, the new owners of the Jones family homestead did not pay the taxes, so the county swooped in and took possession.   The house was sold to the Baptist church  next door and torn down to build a parking lot.

But before it was torn down, I received permission to dig up the two rose bushes that lived near the front porch.  One, a climbing red rose, did not survive the transition.  The other, a orange-yellow tea rose, has thrived at my house.  Maybe it’s the cold winter we had or the extremely wet spring, but the bush this year is absolutely covered in blooms.

Looking at my rescued rose bush, I think about Grandma and Grandpa Jones.  I imagine the love with which the bush was first planted and the happy times their family shared in my neighborhood.  I hope to be a good caretaker for this bush, and to keep both its blooms and the memories associated with it alive for years to come.



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