Picking Trailing Arbutus

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, April 15, 1911:  Besse was out this afternoon. We three kids went for arbutus and I got some this time. Still have a toothache.

Trailing Arbutus (Mayflower)

 Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

It sounds like a fun day for three sisters—Grandma, Ruth and their married sister Besse. The trailing arbutus must have just started blooming since Grandma had been unable to find any two days earlier.

Trailing arbutus are also called mayflowers. I found a description online about  what it was like to pick them:

I have such crisp memories of picking wild mayflowers with my brother. Scrounging around on the sun-splashed forest floor, moving decaying leaves with our bare hands to find a delicately scented flower smaller than a dime.

Trailing arbutus are not easy to find; their flowers tend to hide under the leaves. It takes quite a few flowers to make even a small bunch, but they were worth it.

Brenda Visser

Grandma first mentioned the toothache in the diary four days ago on April 11.

10 Responses

  1. Thanks so much for the ping-back, and your blog is a wonderful idea!

    • I absolutely love your description of gathering trailing arbutus. Until I read your vignette I couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to pick it. Now I feel like I can envision my grandmother and her sisters talking, laughing, and generally having fun together as they searched for trailing arbutus on a pleasant spring day.

  2. […] a dentist. NOW! For the past week or so, Grandma has complained about her tooth (see April 11 and 15). Maybe people didn’t go to dentists as quickly a hundred years […]

  3. […] life—and have worried that she has had a toothache since April 11 (and again mentions the pain on April 15 and 18), but has not treated […]

  4. […] I read the entries about Grandma’s toothache (April 11, April 15, April 18), and how she was in pain for almost a month before she tried to visit a dentist  on May […]

  5. […] 6 entry); and she’s been complaining on and off about a toothache since mid-April (see April 11, April 15, and April 18 entries). I can’t imagine this kind of delay in treating a toothache today—I […]

  6. […] hurting. She first mentioned that she had a toothache on April 11, and again complained about it on April 15 and April 18. She then tried to visit the dentist in Milton on May 6 and again May 13 but he […]

  7. […] Diary entry, April 15, 1911 Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  8. […] the diary mentioned Grandma, Besse, and their sister Ruth having fun together. For example, on April 15, 1911, Grandma […]

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