A shower of gold and auburn and red is drifting with remarkable speed upon us. The oaks and the maples are racing against the wind and the sycamores fall heavily upon pillar and post – and this little lass, shuffling along the leafy shores of Lake Autumn.
I have been meaning to write sooner, but, life managed to catch me by the tail and held me captive. Between meetings and appointments, I have spent a fair amount of time reclined on the couch with “told in my toes”* and a cough with more bark than bite. I managed to attend our very lively and informative garden club meeting (we celebrated the ’50s this month), along with having some physical therapy on my back. I am pleased to announce that I have survived 4 sessions – and haven’t fallen off of the table once!
My sister’s blood disease, TTP, is stable, but, a few other problems have arisen. Your good thoughts and prayers are appreciated and bring comfort. My cold has kept me at bay, but, we live in such wonderful times with cell phones and email and text messages – such remarkable connective tools.
I was thinking of our times as we listened to an excellent presentation about the 1940’s from two of our members on Monday. Donna read a letter from a soldier, reflecting back on his D-Day experiences and I thought of how many historians are making mad dashes to document soldiers’ testimonies of that war.
I also remembered my own family’s story of a my grandmother, Yia Yia, receiving a letter from “the old country”, in the early ’40s, shortly before my parents’ wedding, informing her that her mother had died in Greece. It took three, maybe four, months for the letter to arrive in Chicago. News travels as fast as we can touch the “send” button these days; not so half a century ago. It was enlightening for me to hear Donna’s presentation, and it gave me a time to quietly touch my internal “pause” button, and to reflect.
Our speaker, Kristin, gave a very informative presentation on the Victory Garden. From it’s early form in Great Britain in WWI, to how it was implemented in Chicago during WWII. I thought of Yia Yia, again, and her own victory garden in the small plot behind the house; a typical Chicago “two flat”, with a “gangway” between houses and an alley in back. She grew tomatoes and zucchini, I know, probably pumpkins and eggplant, peppers, and fed her family with what she harvested. Our speaker told us that during the war years, 40% of the nation’s produce came from victory gardens. Much of the produce helped feed the military and provide food to refugees and those whose homes were destroyed abroad.
Well, I’ve waxed on for a bit longer than intended, and I blow my “toes”, make a dent in the leafy horizon, and then start our evening meal, so, off I go.
Did you or your family have a Victory Garden during the 4o’s? Do you have any recollections of it?
*translation – “cold in my nose”