My Nana Dunn had a green thumb. In fact, I think she had a green hand, she was so good at making things grow. Nana and Pop's house at 15 Maynard Drive in Farmingdale on Long Island, New York had a lawn which looked like green velvet. Their phone number was MY4-5696. Here is the house on Google, but it isn't nearly as pretty as I remember it. It is the split level home in the middle with gray shutters.
Nana and Pops
If any errant dandelion dared besmirch anything in her yard, she was on the ready with an old screwdriver and the top of the metal trash can turned upside down to rip them from the ground. She would hold the lid in front of her like a shield; kind of like Joan of Arc!
The back yard was all grass except for two feet around the fence perimeter which they filled with zinnias in every color. At the back wooden fence which separated their yard from the Noto's yard, they planted these beauties, called "Chinese Lanterns."
Tricia Noto and I would pump as high as we could on the swing set while Nana hung laundry out in the fresh air. At night, the adults would sit out on the concrete patio and sip a beer, while we kids caught lightening bugs in empty mayonnaise jars.
Nana didn't have a lot of inside plants, most likely because she didn't want to clean up dead leaves or flowers. She was a meticulous housekeeper and an immaculate woman whose house was always tidy and smelled of Fels Naptha soap.
She did have one inside impatiens plant, which was gorgeous. Nana babied it like a child. The impatiens sat in front of a sliding glass door where it received perfect light. Frugal woman that she was, Nana didn't go out and buy a plant stand for it. Instead, she artfully draped an old, paint-spattered stool with a pretty tablecloth and arranged the bottom of the cloth just so on the carpet. It was beautiful.
I've never been able to keep an impatiens going inside until a few weeks back, I noticed the pink flowers at the bottom of a green plant given to me years ago by a very old woman named Grant Creekmore. Only she said it as , "Grant Creekmo" Grant was a matriarch of my church who taught school in the building across the street from me.
Grant had snowy white hair piled on the top of her head and often wore a silver necklace with cut outs of little children all around it, like charms. She was drafted during World War II because of her unusual first name and had to go to the Draft Board here in town in person to fix it. She's organizing things in heaven, now.
I guess some would say that I picked up seeds on my shirt from outside and somehow transferred them into the house. I'd like to think that Grant and my Nana got together in heaven to let me know that they are thinking of me.
My Nana didn't get drafted during World War II, but she was such a formidable woman that she could have given Hitler a good butt kicking and a piece of her mind, as well.