October 29th, Wednesday Afternoon
Funny how the unexpected sight of something triggers a stream of consciousness.
The word Iris, the sight of these Iris blooming made me think of many things.
In Highland Park after school today, while waiting for a poet to arrive to shoot the author photo for her new book cover,
I saw these Iris.
I always think of Iris as the“end of the school year” flower but now I see they bloom in late October, too.
Vincent Van Gogh painted them.
Liane Ellison Norman wrote a poem, ” I Dug Up the Iris” about our friend Dorothy’s Iris.
When I was young, we lived in Montclair New Jersey and walked in the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens named after the founder of the American Iris Society.
So many memories triggered by the sight of their blooming today.
I thought we were in Burnt Chimney, Virginia. Precisely Wirtz, VA.
When I saw that the weekly challenge was nostalgic I wondered what I longed for- I don’t truly long for the return of the milk truck or the milkman to bring the glass bottles of milk to the door. But this truck did make me remember and recapture a time of my life, past…..
Nostalgic. Sometimes, we long for the past: for moments we want to remember or recapture. The good times. The golden years. Or perhaps we’re homesick, or longing for something — or someone — that might have been.
We went for ice cream cones at the Homestead Creamery Friday afternoon. There were white rockers to sit in out front. This old milk truck was parked on their lawn.
I remember out milkman (an it was prior to PC naming- not milk person or milk carrier) bringing a wire basket of glass bottles of milk to the milk box on the back steps. A dozen eggs.
I remember the sound of the truck door sliding open and shut on his truck. The rattle of glass. The sound of the milk box lid closing. You can buy milk in glass bottles at Homestead Creamery.
Our milkman was from the Alderney Dairy in New Jersey.
If you want to see a previous post of a vintage Harmony Dairy milkbox you can click here
and here’s the image from the link above, showing Dorothy‘s Milkbox ’cause who has time to click and go check it out?
from the archives- Found a special poetry book on the shelf in Poets House in New York City- Dorothy Holley’s Dream Quartet. Dorothy Holley was born 88 years ago today- May 15th. The poetry community of Pittsburgh misses her greatly.
I filmed a video of Dorothy reading her poetry in 2005, Quart Jar Poet. She was an inspiration, publishing her first book at age 82 and then three more books to follow. Here are a couple photos from Poets House. From the inside you look out onto the Hudson River. You can listen to Dorothy reading some of her poetry on YouTube, filmed by Barb Alsko, if you put in her name in the search. She was a good friend to me. I miss having tea with her. She kept a beautiful garden. Her iris are growing and blooming at Liane’s these days. Click here for last year’s postto remember Dorothy.
I Dug Up the Iris
in Dorothy’s garden
to plant in the soaked
soil of mine, memorial
to her each spring
when they’ll open
and flourishes, purple
or blue with speckled
throats. They’ll rise
out of rhizomes
sprawling at soil’s
surface like the joints
of my old hands
anchoring the tall
stalks and frilly petals.
in the brief breath
of cool I dug shallow
trenches for this legacy,
this pantry of pollens
the bees prospect,
insects with lives
beyond what the mere
Liane Ellison Norman, a Madwoman in the Attic, has published two books of poetry, The Duration of Grief and Keep (www.smokeandmirrorspress.com). She has published poems in 5AM, Kestrel, North American Review, Grasslimb, Rune, Voices from the Attic anthologies and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Her poem “What There’d Been” won the Wisteria Prize in 2006 from Paper Journey Press.
The gray and rain prevented me from photographing all of Dorothy’s beautiful garden for her family. She tended it so well. The blueberries ripening, a giant broccoli ready to cut. New lettuces. And the tomatoes have really shot up. As I was leaving, the vibrant orange stood out amongst the greens. I am certain there is a special name for this flower. Dorothy kept the tags and seed packets of what she planted in her garden, for future reference,
Celebration of the Life of Dorothy H. Holley – 6 o’clock Friday night- Calvary Church in Shadyside, Corner of Walnut and Shady Ave.
A slideshow, remembering Dorothy. Blackberries on Greek yogurt. Roses, iris and tulips from her garden. The back porch where we’d sit, have tea, watch birds feed and bathe. She wrote poems after viewing the photos of the Mill at Night and The Cider Press. She baked fresh bread and gave me some to take home for Steve. She’d slice tomatoes and make summer sandwiches to share. She contributed many comments on the blog. She showed us how to live life with courage, grace and love. for Pittsburgh Post Gazette obituary click here
Service at Calvary Church Shady and Walnut, Friday June 11th 6:00PM
My friend Dorothy baked bread last week. She sliced some, added her homegrown lettuce and Early Girl tomatoes from her garden. On top a piece of Muenster cheese. Into the toaster oven to “top brown” the cheese. Each part of the sandwich enhanced the other. But the key was the warm, freshly baked bread. I had to photograph the loaves. Delicious.