A Moment in Time from May of 1959: Blessed Be, Earl’s Bountiful Rose Bush

 

By Richard Mabey Jr.

 

In May of 1959, I was just four years old. At the time we lived on Madeline Avenue in Clifton. Every Saturday, my mom, my dad, my sister Patti, and myself would take the long ride to a town called Lincoln Park, to have dinner at the old Mabey Homestead. There, my aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents would gather to visit my great grandmother, Dora Dolson Mabey. 

 

As we would enter the old Mabey Homestead, my three great aunts, Myrtle, Alberta, and Marie would be cooking a big turkey, complete with all the dressings and side dishes. The aroma of apple and blueberry pies would fill the air of the kitchen. At the age of four, I had thought of the old Mabey Homestead as a most magical place.

 

There comes a time when God’s blessing descends upon a person, and a once-in-a-lifetime moment is etched into the marrow of bone, the fiber of heart, and the sacred core of soul. Such a moment in time, came to me in May of 1958. As my great aunts cooked the big feast for Saturday dinner, Great Grandma Mabey asked me to help her water her flowers.

 

Flowers abounded upon the three-acre estate of the old Mabey Homestead. Flowers of all kinds flourished along Mabey Lane. Great Grandma Mabey would fill her watering can at the outside faucet, then begin her sojourn to water the scores of flowers that adorned her beautiful yard. 

 

What is that makes a moment so all unforgettable? What is it about one sacred moment in time, that tears at the deepest chambers of our heart? O’ dear and cherished grand matriarch of another time, another place, so dearly does thou memory overfloweth in my heart. 

 

I remember it like it was yesterday, when Great Grandma Mabey came upon the big rose bush in the front yard of the old Mabey Homestead. The big rose bush grew and flourished between the big farmhouse and the little house, that once stood right at the corner of Mabey Lane and Route 202. 

 

“Dicky Jim, I planted this rose bush a long, long time ago. I planted it to honor your Great Uncle Earl. He was killed in World War I,” Great Grandma Mabey gently told me as she reverently watered the beautiful rose bush. 

 

I looked up to the eyes of Great Grandma, as her left hand held mine and her right hand held her watering can. Her eyes began to water as she sprinkled water upon Earl’s Rose Bush.

 

“Dicky Jim, you would have liked your Great Uncle Earl. He would have liked you,” Great Grandma Mabey quietly said to me as she continued to sprinkle water on the beautiful rose bush. “I still miss my boy, Earl,” Great Grandma said as she still held my hand. We turned toward the old Mabey Homestead. We began walking to the front door. In cherished memory, I hold dear to my heart that sacred moment in time that I so dearly shared with my Great Grandma Mabey.  

 

Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He can be reached at richardmabeyjr@hotmail.com. Please write on the subject line: May Flowers. 

 

 

 

 

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