Monday, May 4, 2009


Peony tulips -- those pictured in my blog header,
bring to mind my departed friend and neighbor,
Mary H., whose shattered heart upon the suicide
of her terminally-ill partner caused her to follow
suit six months later. She was a terrific gardener --
she searched out unusual varieties of flowers
and tomatoes and grew them in her tiny yard
and her parking-strip garden. She was generous
to a fault: one May afternoon, as I was walking by
and commented on the unusual nature of her
peony tulips, she cut nearly all of them and handed
to me a most glorious bouquet.

Mary was quiet about her life prior to the one we witnessed
on South Brandon Street. Her brilliance and vocabulary
were unmatched: I was humbled in her presence. Mary
devoted much of the twenty years I knew her to her partner,
Pat, who suffered from a debilitating lung disease. Pat
was a gem unto herself: one December, when we were
struggling to find cash for gifts for the boys, she left
$250 in an envelope on our porch. Pat was a favorite
among the neighborhood children: her many tattoos
fascinated, as did her mohawked hair. She deemed herself
"The Present Wizard", and would periodically make a run
to a toy store and return laden with the latest Ninja Turtle
or super-soaker.

And all this from a bucket of peony tulips at The Market.
Mary H., you are missed. And Pat: you too.


  1. I still have treasures that she gave me at various stages of childhood, strange little things... a tiny funnel, polished stones, a miniscule glass bottle full of essentials oils blended to perfectly suit somebody I didn't know.

  2. That's a sad story-- but beautiful flowers & a beautiful tribute.

  3. Bring reminded of Pat & Mary was wonderful. I always pick some lilies of the valley from their yard. Once Mary brought me a bouquet of them when I wasn't feeling well.

  4. TH: "...blended to perfectly suit somebody I didn't know."

    I love this Em. You've really captured the Mary/Pat elan.

  5. I remain amazed how, with very little care, Mary's garden continues to thrive and enchant. Although some have been irked by the lack of "movement", I am grateful to Mary's brother Mark for allowing friends and neighbors to cope with the tremendous loss before the structurally-challenged home of our dear ones is sold, demolished, replaced with a generic 3-story townhouse.

    Both women were key to Guy's recovery from life-threatening illness in 2001/2002. Between almost daily visits with wheat grass juice and encouragement, there were flower bouquets, shared movies, blown kisses from windows at dusk.

    And, T...once again, you said/wrote it like nobody else can.

  6. linda, I didn't realize how vital they were to Guy's recovers. Bless them, again and again.