My Grandmother’s Legacy

Flowers all around Mom & Pop!

Flowers all around Grandma & Grandpa!

When I was growing up in southern Louisiana, occasionally my parents and us kids would go to visit my grandmother. When we arrived, my older brother and younger sister and I would rush to the back room to play with what we thought were Lego blocks.

In reality, they were 4.5X3X1″ packages of Gulf Paraffin Wax. She always kept hundreds of them in the back room. Later, I found out just what the paraffin wax was for. It seems that my Grandmother had a hobby. She would make artificial flowers from crape paper and very fine wire. She would shape the leaves of the flowers and support them with the fine wire. She made mostly roses in all the usual colors.

Her other bedroom was filled with these flowers. She would sell them to people who had just lost a loved one to be put on the gravesites.

After she died in 1966, we moved into her old house. After about three months, my father decided to rebuild the house to bring it up to date. We tore it down to the foundation and rebuilt it with three smaller bedrooms instead of two large ones. We also made the kitchen and living room smaller. We also installed a bathroom. It formerly had an outhouse around the back. We all lived there until the kids went their separate ways. My parents still live there today. I still think of it as Home.

In 2003, my Father developed an aneurism and I needed to make an emergency trip back there. I was there for a couple days, my father was recovering in good condition.

My mother suggested that this would be a good time to go to the grandparents gravesite and clean up the area. We went back home and got cleaning utensils and proceeded to the graveyard.

When we arrived, I looked around and saw literally hundreds of bouquets of artificial flowers. I asked my mother who took over making the flowers after my grandmother died. She said “nobody, those are the same flowers she made”.

That was over 35 years ago. The flower bouquets were still beautiful and vibrant. Everybody in town knew her as “The Flower Lady”. I wonder how much longer those flowers will last.

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