A Flower for Neva Lenora

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I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a tenderhearted and nostalgic person.  I often cry at weddings, sometimes get weepy when reading a novel, and occasionally shed tears when someone nicks or bruises my heart.  Make no mistake: these qualities don’t make me weak.  I’m vulnerable, but strong.  Tenderhearted but resilient.  I just happen to wear my heart on my sleeve, and am touched by some things that others wouldn’t give a second thought to.

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It’s no surprise, then, that a chance discovery of a decades-old bloom that’d been pressed between the pages of a book made me stop and catch my breath.  After my grandmother passed away I received some of her books, and was astonished to find something tucked in between pages 126 and 127 of one of these books.  “From Edgar Robinson, 1922” was written on a sheet of paper in my grandmother’s writing, and this piece of paper cradled a pressed flower.  This little time capsule brought tears to my eyes as I imagined the girl my grandmother was and the crush she inspired in young Edgar Robinson.

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Born in Kansas in 1908, my grandmother, Neva Lenora Stussy, lived in Missouri and Idaho before her family moved to Taft, California during her teen years.  That’s where she met and married my grandfather, Lloyd Laycook.  Though they moved several times during my mother’s childhood, my grandmother lived most of her life in Kern County, where she died in 2006.

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My grandmother was a sweet, patient and kind person.  She was a talented seamstress, a great cook, and an excellent baker.  She walked miles daily well into her 80’s, and was an avid reader.  She loved owls, hollyhocks, and her favorite color was blue.  And though I spent very little time with my grandmother in person (our relationship was mostly conducted through cards and letters), I like to think I’ve inherited some of her personal traits.

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I also like to think that my grandma was watching as I opened the pages of The Aldine Second Language Book and found the flower she’d been given so many years ago.  I hope she knows that she’s loved and missed, and I hope to see her again some day.  Until then, her book and her flower are among my prized possessions – along with my tender and nostalgic heart.

Warm regards,
Melody

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12 Comments

  1. Posted October 28, 2010 at 9:56 am by juliette crane | Permalink

    this is so beautiful! thank you so much for being such an inspiration! i’m just in love with all of the wonderful things you share on your blog 🙂

    best wishes!
    juliette

  2. Posted October 28, 2010 at 10:22 am by Terry | Permalink

    This is my favorite post yet. Lovely. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Posted October 28, 2010 at 4:50 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you, Terry! This post is very close to my heart so it’s particularly nice to know it’s well-received.
    Melody

  4. Posted October 28, 2010 at 4:53 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Juliette,
    My goodness – thank you for your kind comment! It’s so nice to hear you’re enjoying my blog. Thank you for reading, and best wishes to you, too!
    Melody

  5. Posted October 28, 2010 at 7:46 pm by Jenny Hilborne | Permalink

    This is a really sweet post, Melody. I’m sure your grandmother is loving the fact you have her flower. Precious to have something so simple with such meaning and a story behind it.

  6. Posted October 28, 2010 at 9:45 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Jenny,
    Thank you. It was a wonderful find, and I’m glad to be able to share a bit of my grandma’s story with my readers…
    Melody

  7. Posted October 29, 2010 at 7:51 am by Barbara Cordill | Permalink

    Melody…what a touching find for you. Grandmothers are one of the best things God gives us.

  8. Posted October 29, 2010 at 10:27 am by Beth Nielsen | Permalink

    What a great tribute and I know that she is smiling down from the heavens! as usual, LOVE the photos & care you’ve taken.

  9. Posted October 29, 2010 at 1:21 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you for commenting, Barb. Honestly, I had one grandmother that was heaven-sent, and one that might’ve tried the patience of the saints. Hahaha. I’m trying to model myself after Grandma Neva instead of Grandma Dorothy…
    Melody

  10. Posted October 29, 2010 at 1:22 pm by Melody | Permalink

    I’m sure you’re right, Beth. Thank you for the post compliment, too!
    Melody

  11. Posted October 29, 2010 at 1:50 pm by Karen M. | Permalink

    Going through my mother-in-laws boxes of pictures this weekend I wanted to weep with joy when I found a small wedding book with notes in her writing about the day. A small thing, but so grateful to have it!

  12. Posted October 29, 2010 at 2:25 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Karen,
    What an incredible find! And how nice that you appreciate it and value it the way you do…
    Thank you for reading and commenting!
    Melody

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