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Peace Among the Petunias

May 18, 2011

In the 10th grade, I failed my Geometry final.

I didn’t fail the class, but it was a sore insult (for me, the perfectionist) to fail anything, even just a test.

I studied, as always. I just stink at Geometry. It bores me – why should I have to prove my answer? It’s either right or wrong. Why do I have to prove how I got there? Yawn. I had a very bad attitude about Geometry (which probably didn’t help my test-taking ability much).

I remember the day I found out I failed. My mom picked me up after school, as usual, and found my crying on the sidewalk. I was devastated. I had worked REALLY, REALLY hard this time. I had studied for hours.

And I still failed.

I don’t like failing. Never have.

I crawled, bawling, into her big, blue Oldsmobile, and set up a grand wail of despair.

Mom, not being a math whiz herself, was duly sympathetic. There’s only one thing to do, she chirped. Where are we going? I asked.

You’ll see. It will make you feel better.

We pulled up in front of her favorite plant nursery. The nursery? Really?

Really. Let’s go.

We went through the chain link fence into that little, sun-shiny bit of paradise right there on Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road. Under their yellow awning, rows upon rows of petunias and pansies smiled up at us. Gerberas and geraniums and snapdragons. Penstamon, lobelia, agapanthus (her favorite) and hundreds more. Annuals and perennials and everything in between – I found out quickly, that day: you can’t be sad in a garden. You just can’t. Flowers are just too friendly for that.

I don’t remember anything else about that day except that I did feel better. She always said that there’s something about being around all those plants and flowers that makes everything else disappear.

Even now, if I’ve got an hour to kill or I’m just feeling blue, I find the nearest nursery and wander around for a while. I come by this love of green and growing things honestly – she taught me.

Besides, it’s always nice to see what Monrovia is up to.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Lou Hopkins permalink
    May 18, 2011 8:39 am

    Dearest, how well I remember roaming among the rows of green lifting up flowering beauties, with your Mother. She and I both shared a love for flower gardening and found great pleasure in the hunt for more pony packs to take home and give a place of honor. My love for her grew among the flowers. She made my days sunny, no matter what the weather or my mood. Thanks for taking me back to those memories. She still fills me, to this day….through her precious daughter who was dearly loved and tended, as one of her greatest accomplishments.

  2. Julie permalink
    May 18, 2011 8:54 am

    Sweet memory Adele. So true!! I have loads of memories visiting Yamagami’s (Hwy 9) with my mom. Of course, when I was young, I used to sigh in protest at the suggestion of being dragged there on a summer morning. But once there, I would get lost flip-flopping through cool leaky hose puddles. Did Monrovia go in where Yamagami’s used to be? Sure do miss living in the Bay Area.

    • May 18, 2011 8:59 am

      Julie, I loved Yamigami’s too! That place went on forever. Yamigami’s is still around, but Summerwinds is my go-to. Monrovia is the big distributor for plants now, they are out of Viaslia and all the latest and greatest hyprids are produced by them.

  3. Bethany permalink
    May 18, 2011 9:48 am

    Your mom was amazingly wise! I love that she seemed to know when to discipline and when to be sympathetic and a friend.

    • May 18, 2011 10:07 am

      She really did! She disciplined in such a gentle, loving way, I never knew I was being disciplined.

  4. Chandra permalink
    May 18, 2011 1:05 pm

    Ha… I had it so bad one day…. I took a big ole plate of cheesy nachos into Sakimoto’s. Sat right in the middle of the nursery and ate them. Pure therapy!!!

    • May 18, 2011 1:35 pm

      Flowers and cheese – there is no greater solace in the world! You can NEVER have too much cheese.

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