She Was a Spring Person
Who am I? In relation to others
4:30 AM - Phone call from hospital
5:30 AM - Arrived at hospital
8:30 AM - Began writing
She was a Spring person.
Born in April.
Died in May.
Spring always seemed more right for her than summer, or winter or even fall.
It wasn't only that she especially liked yellow and green. And, it wasn't that she was a gardener or anything like that. Although she loved flowers and trees and admired their beauty, she didn't put on garden gloves or kneel in the soil. She was an urban person and gardens weren't part of her everyday.
She did have house plants, though. And she cared for them tenderly and diligently–as she cared for everything around her.
She took care of her clothes as she did the plants–carefully and diligently. Each sweater rested in its own plastic bag. Even those that were thirty years old looked brand new.
Each pair of slacks hung in the closet from its own special hanger—creased, in a row, like soldiers. Handsome, tailored, long-sleeved blouses were grouped together next to the summer sleeveless ones.
Each purse had its own cover. Each pair of shoes, laid end to end, rested in its own separate drawer.
Every piece of jewelry had its own space or pocket in a box or case. She had begun to give away her lovely jewelry to the daughters and granddaughters a few years ago. On birthdays or anniversaries she would "hand down" another important family gift. We treasured each thing, as she had.
It was the same in other areas of her small, tidy apartment. Silver was first wrapped in Saran, then placed in a tarnish-proof cloth bag.
In the kitchen, pots and pans were carefully nested, saving space in the cabinet. She kept her cooking utensils like she did the silver—shiny and new-looking. The copper bottoms of the Revere Ware were always brightly polished. Even grandma's pot (her mother's) that had been used for at least sixty years was shinier than any of my much newer things. She used "brillo" like some housekeepers use wash cloths or sponges—routinely on everything.
She wasn't compulsive about all this—just careful and diligent. She would say, "You do it because that's the way you're supposed to do it."
Like many people of her generation she believed that there was a right way and a wrong way to do things. You were supposed to play by the rules. That's just the way life was to be lived. You were supposed to care for things and be diligent. Neglect wasn't OK. Carelessness always got a "tsk-tsk" and a shake of the head. She couldn't understand why anyone would neglect such simple things.
Even with all this middle-class care of things she did not dote on material values or have excessive wants or needs. She "settled for" a lot. In a conservative, realistic, accepting way she was a master at adjusting to things as they were, not as they might have been.