Thursday, October 1, 2009

Things Change

Driving home from jury duty provided the opportunity to swing through the neighborhood where I grew up. It was pleasing to see the old homestead so well taken care of by the people who bought the house from my widowed mom when we had to face that she was no longer able to live alone.

Some of the details are just the same as when my parents moved in the summer of 1960. Like the original paint colors.

But other things have changed. Drastically. My mother was only 5'1" and grew up in the jungle island of Puerto Rico. Afraid to fly- she never returned to her homeland after I was born. Instead, she brought the jungle home to Whittier. When she moved out- you couldn't see the house through tangled vines she cut a a 5'2" tunnel through to the front door.

As mom grew frail, the emergency runs to the hospital came too frequently. Not even with live-in help on weekdays and her coming home with us on weekends, was it a safe situation.

It wasn't easy for her to leave the garden she loved for 40 years, but her life depended on her rethinking how she gardened. We made her room garden-like. An arbor festooned with silk flowers became a headboard. A garden bench a TV stand. She became head gardener, directing her crew (me) with what to do with the plants on her patio. It took time- but she is happier and her mind grew keener the last decade.

The new family was right about the changes they wrought at our former family home's landscaping. They saved a few of the big trees for shade. One has a bench swing hanging from it. My mother will be pleased to see it is a garden which beckons visitors.

This photo in my backyard was taken at 7: 10 this evening. I could have sworn last week it was still daylight at this hour. Time passes. Lives change. If we don't adjust, we will never know the happiness which is possible.

Since that visit past my childhood home, I have been looking at my own garden and observing the need for some changes here.

Today I took the saw to the New Zealand Tea Tree. When it was first planted, it was happy in blazing sun. But trees grew tall around it. Their arms shaded it so much, the sun- loving shrub no longer smiled.
The space where it was is prettier now in the way a window is when a dingy drape is taken down and the sky is seen through a clean window.

Things change. Thinking about change can be a bit unnerving. But if I can just be brave and change what no longer works, then what is better suited to the ever changing landscape will have the opportunity to bring more happiness.
To that, I am committed.

God Bless You , Dear Readers. I look forward to hearing about the changes which bring you joy.


  1. Lydia, Have thorougly enjoyed your past few posts. Wonderful selection of topics you've covered and the pics are stupendous. I love today's post. I remember seeing the jungle house as you moved your Mom into new digs. You designed her new space into a virtual garden and I'm convinced that care made things so much easier for her. Time to move on becomes very real when these occasions occur. It brings to mind that a beetle has destroyed my huge pine tree almost overnight and it's been in my front yard since arriving as a potted living tree one Christmas long ago. There are seasons for all of us and Fall approaches our gardens as well. Thanks for the memories. E.

  2. Lydia,
    What a darling little house! It looks so perfect starting with the totally green lawn and the color of the house and the chairs out front. What great memories you must have of that house.
    I am thinking it must be located somewhere near where Parnell Prep. for Girls on Scott Rd./Lambert used to be. (It's now Parnell Park)
    Yes, things change in our lives. I am thinking how much life will change just in a little over a month in our house. I will dearly miss my Kevin but am thrilled he has found the love of his life. I know they will be so happy together. Now, for Daryl! I vote for Becky! What a sweetheart! (Both Latinas!) I know lots of parents don't feel this way but I feel blessed to have had my boys with us as long as we have. Keeps me feeling young and love being involved in their lives. They live their own independant lives but still call this home.
    Life changed for the better a year ago on May 1 when my mother left here for Ark. After 24 yrs of having a mother bossing me/us around I finally am back to being the mom and lady of the house!
    She is planning on coming back to Calif. but living apart from us!!!

    Great posts and great photos L!

    XO Trisha

  3. How lovely to see your old Homested so beautifully cared for and visible, once more. Change is hard for me. Some changes harder than others, of course. But I remember when I started my Cactus Garden in 1986...It was a change that I craved in ways I cannot explain. That was a wobderfully challanging change, and little did I know how addicting these Beautiful plants really are! LOL!

    I know you will enjoy the changes to come in your lovely garden, my dear.


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