Most of my childhood was spent in Downers Grove, Illinois. We moved there from Lemont, Illinois between my 3rd and 4th grade of school.
The house on Prairie Avenue had a huge back yard, a giant willow tree, a pool, a goldfish pond -- and lots of old trees and bushes. The area had been a nursery in earlier years and, although the area had been split up into residential one-acre parcels, there were plenty of trees and bushes that still made it seem like a big garden.
My favorite were the lilacs. We had some large, old lilac bushes along the shaded side and back of the house. They didn't flower long, but it was great when mom would bring in some bunches of flowers and put them in a vase on our big dining room table. It meant that we were well into spring, real summer weather was just around the corner, we would soon be on vacation and swimming in the pool again all summer long.
My parents now live in Door County, Wisconsin. A few years ago, after visiting the folks in Wisconsin, I had a few spare hours before catching a plane out of O'Hare back to San Diego. I decided to take a drive out and see the old neighborhood.
Even though I had been forwarned by family members who had seen the new place, it was disturbing to see that the house on Prairie Avenue had been ripped down and replaced with a faux-French chateau. And most of the trees, including the lilacs, were gone -- I guess they hadn't fit in with the new owners' landcaping plans.
Lilacs don't seem to grow in the year-round warmth of San Diego, so it was nice to see them all over Hamburg this past week -- in full bloom and giving off that pleasant early summer fragrance.
And, I start my "summer vacation" shortly! So, it seems lilacs are a sign of summer and vacation once again.
5 weeks ago