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Friday, March 9, 2012


I adore the way pussy willows look. They say spring time to me in a very viseral way.

When I was but a wee bratling, the neighbors behind us had a huge pussy willow bush, well actually it was a tree. My friend Cleady, who was two years older than I lived there. She had one blue eye and one brown eye, as well as half her head covered in blond and the other half covered with light brown hair. She was needless to say a very striking looking young one. She is the one who convinced me to run away from home. But that is another story for another time.

Anyway, she would stand in the pussy willow tree to talk to me over the 6 foot tall back wall. She and I stayed in the corner, me in my apple tree and her in her pussy willow tree for hours playing with our Madame Alexander or Ginny dolls. We would make all kinds of doll furniture and decorations with the catkin covered stalks. We had beds, swings, chairs and a teeter totter. I sure do wish I could remember how we kept them together but that part of the memory is rusty.

But as soon as the catkins opened up just the tiniest bit, here came every bee in the county to dust their legs with the pollen. I loved watching the bees trying to fly after making their legs so chubby with golden pollen. I was never afraid of bees as a kid. The reason was because my Mom had a pretty extensive flower garden and I loved to help her weed and till the soil around the blossoms. Doing so and learning that the bees were busy with their jobs and could care less about me so long as I left them to their gathering jobs, gave me that wisdom.

Coming from a rural background my Mom saved seeds and cuttings and never went to the store for seeds. You should have seen our laundry room and kitchen window sills with milk bottles, mason jars and misc. glass containers either filled with seeds which had been gathered and dried, or with water and cuttings with massive white roots all twisted and entwined together. When we went to a friend's house, Mom would ask for seeds or cuttings of things we didn't have. We did order bulbs from a catalog. At one point in time, she had 40 something different colors and combinations Iris or flags as they are called in Tenn. We had all manner of daffodils, tulips and hyacinths. Forsythia, Japonica, Tulp tree, and lilacs were all spring time friends to me as a kid, but my Mom would never let me take a cutting of the pussy willow and grow one in our yard. So I just enjoyed Cleady's.

I didn't ask her about her reason for her lack of enthusiasm until I was faced with her pussy willow memory come to visit again.

Cleady and I had invited my friend Vivian to join us in the corner the year I was 8. Vivian had her birthday in February and had gotten a pink haired 8" doll that she wanted to show us. We were in the middle of a great pretend when a bee landed on Vivian. She screamed swatted at it and sure enough, it stung her. And so did a couple of others. Then Cleady screamed, jumped out of the tree, ran around and into her house. I was left up in the tree with bees on about 30% of my arm. None of them had stung me, yet and I jumped out of the tree just in time to see my friend Vivianne swelling up like that girl on Willie Wonka. My Mom had Vivianne in her arms as she ran down two doors to Vivianne's house. Her Mom and my Mom tended to her with a shot and put her to bed. The doctor was there in just a little bit and that is when my Mom told me that a friend of hers, who also was allergic to bees had died from picking pussy willow branches when they were little girls.

I always felt bad for Vivianne. She never got to come back to my backyard because she was afraid. And I also felt sorry for my Mom that she had such a terrible childhood memory. And I felt sorry for me too because Cleady and I had to meet at the other end of the wall.

As an adult, we had a huge pussy willow tree started from a cutting at our old house. I love pussy willows and will keep my eyes peeled for one blooming and maybe snip a cutting this year.


  1. ~a walk down memory lane...pussy willows are beautiful...we have a few cuttings that i dried right before they came full bloom...don't see them often around here but tons down by the ocean....

    i hope you find a few cutting and plant your own beautiful memories to wash away the saddness of the past...may it bloom wonderful reminders of the good fun you and your friend had and who knows maybe your grands might find themselves visiting beneath...

    wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead...much love light and blessings~

  2. The first time I ever saw pussy willows was during my time in Dallas. They were growing around a large lake and I picked a few to display in my small apartment living room.

    When I moved to Germany, I purchased this gorgeous porcelain vase (pronounced "vas" if it's over $5!! LOL) Anyway, I bought some pussy willow branches at the local market which was open every Friday in the little town I lived in. I had them on display in my German apartment on a shelf by the window. One day, the winds started blowing (they say there when that happens, people go insane...maybe why we're the way we are with our howling desert winds)and I had forgotten to latch the window closed...will ya know what happened next, my vase or "vas" was slammed to the floor, broken into tiny pieces, but my pussy willows survived to be displayed in a jelly jar in my kitchen until we moved back here...gave them to my friend who lived on the 3rd floor!!

    So that's my pussy willow story and now you've got me wondering where I can find them...maybe it's just a bit too hot and dry here for them....don't know.

    Loves ya mucho,

  3. Pussy Willows have always been a favorite of mine. I've never had one in my yard so I really didn't know about the bees. There are certain plants in my herb garden that attract so many bees I can't get my daughter any where near it. She's very allergic to bees and turns and runs away at the sight of one. Hope you're able to get a cutting of a Pussy Willow for you yard. xox

  4. bees are so docile really. it's a shame that fear caused your friend to get stung even though she had a good reason to be afraid. when my son was 4 or 5 he learned that when bees are collecting pollen and nectar they are very tame, that you can touch them and they won't react. so here's my little boy walking down the drive to the montessori pre-school with a blooming hedge along side of it touching bee after bee. he never once got stung.

  5. I love it when you share your stories, Oma Linda. I feel like I'm reading your beautiful story, even when the stories are sad sometimes. Thank you for sharing your love of pussy willows (I love them too and would like to have one one day) and taking a portion of your childhood and bringing it out in your online blogging scrapbook for others to read and lose themselves in for a little while.

    Brightest blessings and I hope you're feeling very well,

  6. I too love when you share your stories. I have the same love and connection with Willow trees and spent many days underneath a big old Willow tree as a child. I was never lonely, I had my books, my dog and my barbie dolls.

    I have to say, I am an immature girl because I giggled every time I read the word pussy.

    I know, I know.

  7. I always thought they were the most unfortunately named trees ;o)

    Anywho, I've always loved bees, and always feel sad if I see one dead, such a shame about your mum's memory

  8. You're a fine story-teller, Linda. It's a shame that your mother had such distressing events associated with the plant but I'm glad Vivianne's experience didn't muddy your fond memories or detract from your affection for pussy willows.

  9. I love pussy willows as well. They have always reminded me of oval shapes of soft cotton on foliage.

    I really loved this story, Linda. First of all because I love the way you tell a story. I always feel as if I am somehow transported to that very moment in time which you are speaking of. I'd have loved to see your childhood flower garden. It sounds so lush and beautiful.

    Ever since I can remember, my mother said to never fear bees. "If you leave them alone they will leave you alone." You are certainly my living proof of that. Your arm covered about 30% in bees and not a sting? Amazing.

    Poor little Vivian. That had to be a horrible experience for her. Though I am not sure if I am most sorry for you and Cleady for the loss of your magical world. I certainly hope you find that cutting your seek. Hugs always, Mina

  10. Every time I go to England, I shudder when my relatives yell out the door to the cat, "here pussy, pussy, pussy"
    I swear, I cringe.

  11. i like the imagination these little fluffs still evoke in me.I bring in a few each year.

  12. What a wonderful tale - bittersweet, but beautiful. Thanks for taking us along on your childhood memory. And congrats on POTW!


You are always welcome to comment on my thoughts and I love them all......