Paperwhites. The sign of spring. Who doesn’t want dirt in her punch bowl? It can be washed out and sterilized, after all. When I read this at the Reluctant Entertainer, I pulled out my dear deceased neighbor’s lead crystal punchbowl and I planted paperwhites in it.
My neighbor is definitely turning over in her grave while her beloved house and garden is dying a slow death because it has been ignored and abandoned by her children and then her mortgage company for almost four years.
The local police tell me that since the house is probably uninhabitable at this point and occupies a large, valuable suburban lot, one day I will come home from school and find it demolished. I’m determined to keep her legacy alive through her treasured belongings and I’ve worked to save them from the bulldozer.
The neighbors and many of my friends have harvested perennials out of her award-winning garden. She had well over 100 varieties of hosta in her backyard. They are living a new life in new gardens and she would have loved that.
My brother and I have two sets of her formal dishes (that NO ONE bought at the sales, so we got permission from her children to take them). I don’t ever need to use paper plates. Combined with my other sets of dishes, I have enough bread and butter plates to serve well over a hundred people for appetizers, and they go into the dishwasher and will be used for many events over my lifetime. This is my concept of living green and then living green again.
Many of her silver platters (that no one bought at multiple estate and garage sales) were purchased by my friend and are proudly displayed throughout her house in their polished glory.
My darling Oksana, who survived a concentration camp along with both her parents and her baby sister, is remembered in my house. The bulbs sprouting new growth in her punchbowl tell us that life goes on — we who survive carry the stories of those who have gone before us.
When I come home this spring, and her house is gone because the economy is picking up and the lender has decided to sell the property, I’ll welcome the new neighbors and tell them about who came before them. And I’m likely to give them something to remember her by.