Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day! I'm not calling for help

May 1 didn't mean International Worker's Day to me when I was a very young girl. I didn't know it was celebrated in places around the world to mark the coming of summer. I didn't know about the may poles or about traditions that started as pagan rituals.

All I knew was going out into the orchard next to our house; picking a small nosegay of violets to bring in to grandma. Her smile said thank you to me. She would ask for a big safety pin so she could wear the little bouquet for the rest of the day. And she did, proudly even though by the afternoon those flowers would be drooping and drying out in a sad state of affairs. Yet, she wore them through supper.

Carrie I. (Snyder) & William D. Porteous
Wedding picture 1895.
I lived with grandma, dad, mom, and brother. The house was big and old. It was built in 1895 by grandpa William D. Porteous, as a wedding present to grandma, Carrie I. Snyder. He died in 1927 of a heart attack while lifting a ladder to the eave of the house. The house was on fire and he was attempting to put it out. I remember hearing that story a lot. On the south attic wall, inside, and above where the first and second floor bayed out was the evidence of charred wood.

Grandma lived until I was in high school. She was almost 94 years old. I never knew my grandpa, but loved to hear the stories grandma would tell about her growing up and about my grandpa coming from England. I became interested in family history very young, but didn't get serious until about 20 years ago.

The Porteous house on Maple Ave., Mundelein, Ill., ca. 1910
(next to Lincoln School)
In this house picture, the orchard wasn't mature like it was sometime in the 1950s when I could stand about where my aunt Violet is. It must be spring, maybe even early May, when this picture was taken. The apple, pear, and cherry trees are blooming, the other trees look like they are starting to leaf out and my aunt is coat less. The garden in front of her has been cleared and plowed ready for planting. I can imagine the violets blooming under those fruit trees. We did have chickens in the '50s, but they didn't roam around the yard.

May Day is a day of fond memories.

1 comment:

  1. What a big, beautiful home to grow up in. Based on your post, I know it was filled with lots of love.