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