Tag Archives: Richmond Virginia

A Flower by Any Other Name

“Pick it like so. Run your hand down the stem. Then snap. That gives you a long flower for your vase.” My grandmother, Mother Leigh’s, sage advise. And we all paid attention. Her love for jonquils, and us, was strong. She wanted every aspect to be as right as possible.

oakland road daffodils

Our Oakland Road jonquil field.

Recently Emily and Donald chatted via FB about having daffodils in their own yards finally. And how it reminded them of home. Our Richmond home. We lived on an old daffodil farm. Blooms by the hundreds were ours for the picking every spring. Except that one spring when I thought I would be resourceful, and so when pickers came by asking if they could pick for cash I quickly said yes. The house was always overflowing with the bunches and bunches of blooms that we picked. And the fields were still full. But I should have known that they would pick the fields clean. And you only get one bloom per bulb each year. “Mom, where are the flowers?” Emily demanded when they got home from school. No undoing that mistake.

three chopt driveway

Three Chopt driveway

I too grew up surrounded by hundreds of jonquils every spring. At Mother Leigh’s Three Chopt antebellum home in Richmond, Virginia. Her semi-circular drive was lined on both sides by the blooms. She had a big aged formal garden in the side yard that in its neglected state grew nothing but daffodils. It was awesome. There was a birdbath in the middle surrounded by four patterned simple mazes defined by raised ground flower beds. The gardener always cut the grass so it looked tended. It just had no flowers except in the spring when it was a blaze of yellow.

Where we live now I’ve tried to get a few bulbs to grow. The moles always thwart my attempts. And I am no gardener. I am an admirer and acquirer. I gladly take garden bounty bestowed on me by others. And I richly admire all gardens with great admiration. It’s the growing that teases me. And so I paint my gardens.

Need A Little Art?



Leave a Comment

Filed under family, Richmond VA West End, Three Chopt Road

Stringing Me Along

Nine dimension theory is not new to me. I just never knew what to call it. We watched Interstellar¬†recently. The discussion that followed included conversation about a nine dimension reality, or as Drs. Neppe and Close put it “..we live in a 9-dimensional spinning finite reality, not just our traditional three dimensions of space happening in a present moment of time. The rest of our reality is hidden beyond our direct view.”

Thanks to dynamics from those other dimensions, I’ve been nudged, pointed in directions and saved by the skin of my teeth so many times, I’ve lost count. Starting with showing me how families with balance and stability live. It’s like those fairy tales where the good godmother cannot undo the princess’ bad fortune but can make it better.

Cabell Powell (she lived on the other side of Three Chopt Road), me, Patsy Tyler, my cousin, Jett.

Cabell Powell (she lived on the other side of Three Chopt Road across from me and had an enormous doll house) me, Patsy Tyler. Standing in front of us my cousin Jett Williams.

My early childhood best friend’s family in Richmond, Virginia is where I’m pointed first. She and I become friends in Kindergarten, or Junior Primary 1 & 2, as it is called at our school, Westhampton Junior High School on Patterson Avenue. We are not in the same class but we ride the bus together. Patsy likes me enough to seek me out. (I have only found this out recently. I always wondered how we became friends. Our mothers have little in common.)

We live about a half a mile from each other. Several huge antebellum houses with immense front lawns along Three Chopt Road, a small but very busy city street, create the separation. Her street, Mayfair Court, is a dead end reached by car via a little roundabout. Her neighborhood is a small population of brand new modest houses. Tree lined Kings Way Court with smaller antebellum houses on either side is on the Three Chopt Road side of the roundabout. A cut through city street, Pepper Avenue, lies to the east of Kings Way/Mayfair. To the west and on the same side of Three Chopt Road as Patsy’s house is where I live in a converted garage behind my grandparents’ Big House at 6414 Three Chopt Road. We call our house The Little House. It’s tiny but we have our own address, 6416 Three Chopt Road.

Patsy begins her quest to find me. She is only vaguely aware of where I might live. I get off the bus after her stop. She knocks on every door of those antebellum houses asking if anyone knows me. This is a five year old on her own mind you. (Her mother may have driven her from house to house but if she did I’m confident that she made Patsy do all of the inquiring.) Patsy’s persistence pays off, she eventually does find me. And that is the beginning of our life long friendship. Her family is everything mine is not. I thrive on its calm. I spend the night a lot. We practically pave a path between our two houses through those huge front lawns, or sometimes behind the houses. I’m sure all the maids know our wanderings well. Even after we move from Richmond and I only visit The Big House in Richmond for holidays the first thing I do (literally I make a bee line for the phone) when we arrive is to call Patsy. She always, absolutely always, includes me in anything going on. Cotillion, slumber parties, holiday house parties, school gossip.

Enos Winfrey

Sandy’s Dad, Enos Winfrey, in a recent photo. He was a pivotal engineer in central Ohio for the Eisenhower interstate project.

My next nudge toward a realistic family life is in the direction of one that this time, I am drawn. We are living in Ohio by now. I see this soon to be forever friend, Sandy Winfrey, and her family at church. It is a new Methodist church and, prior to building, is meeting in the Etna Road Elementary School a half block easy walk from my house. Mom goes to the services some of the time. Sometimes twelve year old me goes by myself. Sandy’s family intrigues me. In an uncharacteristic move for me, usually very shy and retiring, (a nudge you see) I introduce myself and ask if I can sit with them.

Sandy and I hit it off. We become inseparable. We delightfully discover that both our families even spend Christmases at our respective grandparents’ homes in the south. Her destination is Winston Salem, North Carolina. We compare tales about the endless car ride that includes crossing over the Blue Ridge Mountains on narrow roads (no interstate yet) to grandmother’s house and back again.

Again this family is everything mine is not. Over the next several years, until we head off to different colleges and my family moves back to Virginia, I become even richer in good family dynamics.

I have learned the fine art of playing and partying sans drugs and with only a social drink or two from my parents. This is one of their finest attributes. They both have the ability and confidence to be the absolute life of any party sheerly on personality. And I have learned how to steer a family through the everyday, all the while making it fun, from my two strung together families. I am a fine blend.


Leave a Comment

Filed under Spirituality