Rosa's Memoirs:3-4

G spends a lot of time checking out kids when we are in public. On Tuesday we were at the neighborhood taqueria after voting and she couldn't stop looking at a boy over the top of her quesadilla. He was older than her, in grade school. She started big-arm waving at him as he passed by, eyes round and solemn. The way her head swivels around when she sees people her size reminds me a little of finding a fellow ex-pat whilst traveling abroad.
She seems to crave interaction with her peers, and talks endlessly of them: friends from church, preschool, the neighborhood. I don't know if I was like this, it's hard to remember being 3 1/2. But I think it was around this age that I began to notice the children around me. I remember Christopher Caspar, on whom I had a little preschool crush, at Mrs. Jaffee's Scary Preschool on the westside of Santa Cruz. I remember the girl with brown hair and fat pigtail curls who was my friend, and who loved Christopher Caspar as well. Maybe it was the aliteration. I have no idea.

There were some mean kids in our neighborhood, older boys who tricked me into walking on the red & white rock landscaped hell known as our next door neighbor's front yard.
This man was legendary on Getchell St. for being a gruesome old meanie, but the only evidence I remember of this is that he dared not to be at home on Halloween, his porch light off & the windows dark. I think these mean older kids were friends with my older brother and would play his Planet of the Apes game in the back shed, it's brown-grey weathered wood almost completely covered in nasturtiums and glistening snail trails.

This was the house we lived in when I decided to eat a snail. My mom found me with the snail in my mouth (it seemed like a good idea at the time) and quickly fished it out (still alive?). She also quickly washed my mouth out with soap (she told me later she was afraid that I ate some snail poision)- at Mrs. Jaffee's, however, kid's mouths would routinely get washed out for using 'potty language'; consequently I took this mouth washing as a punishment, and was mortally crushed.
Mrs. Jaffee's Terrifying Preschool (the official name, really) also holds the following ignominious distinction.................
Our preschool planned a field trip to near-by Natural Bridges State Park which hosts hundreds of migrating monarch butterflies each year. I was very excited to go; it was most likely my first school outing. I had a special lunch packed, clean clothes, special backpack, everything I needed. The morning of the field trip I woke up with my stomach churning with excitement. By the time I got to preschool, my stomach was in such knots from the excitement and anticipation that I got a horrible stomach ache and had to stay back at the preschool with one of the teachers while the rest of the school went on the field trip. I was the only kid. It was a sad, sad day.
Sorry, Mum, this post isn't meant to engender guilt! But it's still hard to drive down Fair Ave., and my stomach has a momentary little clench whenever I drive by
Mrs. Jaffee's Mean Lil' Preschool...


b said...

she's just so cute doing that. My favorite is when the other kid reciprocates and gets all smiley. That happens, or the other kid completely ignores her. Not much in between. It's heartwarming. I love it. I love being a dad. I love being your husband.

Mum said...

I have adopted the philosophy that guilt is a 5 letter word I am choosing to avoid. It was your life and you are just reporting the facts. Do I wish things could have been different? Absolutely! Heck, I was even afraid of Mrs. J (Wicked Witch of the West Side). I remember one time I sent you to preschool with new shoes that gave you a blister and she read me the riot act about how could I be so careless and what a terrible mother I was. She had a PHD in guilt-tripping!
I am so glad you and B are making things good for G. Being with her is like a tonic.
I'm proud of you,girl.

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.