If I ever get around to putting together my “Growing Up Riverside” anthology or whatever it will be called, I will have to include the following topic: the flowers of Riverside.
The first flowers I can remember growing up on Selborne Road (the street that at one time was spelled “Selbourne”) are those pretty little yellow flowers that everybody seemed to have growing in their lawns.
It took quite a few years before I learned they actually were weeds. How could something so pretty as a dandelion be a weed? I liked to pick them and when the flower turned into a little fluffy globe. It was fun to blow them and watch the fur fly. It was then I learned why I would sneeze around the pretty flower. Can you say allergy?
My dad didn’t like dandelions. He was fussy about his lawn, and I could earn a penny for each dandelion I picked. My mother was more resourceful. She would go and pick dandelion leaves when they were young plants and, voila, they appeared on the dinner table in a salad, a little bitter but good nonetheless, when covered with vinegar and oil.
But, I really miss all the lilacs that used to produce a wonderful fragrance that would permeate the air when the bushes were in full bloom. We live across from a triangular park, I don’t think it has a name (a subject for another column, park names), and it had –yes, I said “had” — beautiful lilac bushes on all three corners.
Then one day they were gone, ripped out. I don’t know why, because they were very healthy. Whose idea it was, I don’t know, and I was too young to seek out the truth of why the bushes were removed.
They were a great place to hide during a neighborhood game of hide-and-seek, and a great flower to bring to the teacher.
There are still quite few lilacs around, but not like there used to be. We planted a lilac on our property, but it seems to be a slow grower or maybe just lazy.
How about buttercups? Remember when you would tickle people under the chin with the flower? Where have all the flowers gone?
So now we plant and try to restore the beauty that I remember growing up Selborne Road. To all who take the time to plant and beautify, thanks. I enjoy your efforts. Maybe a lilac bush would be nice, too. Mmm, that would smell nice!