615. Old Mrs Greville

© Bruce Goodman 17 June 2015

615greville

Old Mrs Greville leaned over her garden gate and surveyed the street. She was eighty-four and had lived in the same house for sixty-two years. The street hadn’t changed much. Some hedges had come and gone. New owners had planted others.

Three children; nine grandchildren. That was satisfying. Her husband had died now nigh on thirteen years. And the garden here! Goodness! She had planted yellow climbing roses at the gate early in the marriage. Long gone, the roses. Long gone. But the pansies had wept a stint of sixty-two generations. They’d reverted to a common blue but each with different flecks of black. Year after year. Never the same. It used to be a cottage garden, but now it was too much work and quite overgrown.

Two dogs, three cats and a canary all buried in that garden. Pets. Little crosses had once marked the spots. Rotted away, the crosses, some time ago.

And the cook-outs. The fun! The kids playing ball and camping in the back garden in summer. Pretending to be in some great national park with bear and moose and chattering wolf, but with nothing scarier than a cat or a dog. And mumps and measles and chicken pox. Year after year of kids’ home works and sports games and girlfriends and boyfriends… And then their weddings celebrated in the garden…

And friends. Young Mr and Mrs Greville’s friends on the back porch. Calling and drinking and laughing on occasion, sometimes till almost the sun came up. Most passed now. Most long passed.

Old Mrs Greville left the gate and went into the house. She made a nice cup of tea.

The house was sold. Tomorrow she would move to the retirement home.

34 thoughts on “615. Old Mrs Greville

      1. Cynthia Jobin

        Oh the schmaltz and sentimentality! The loved ones are gone, the days are gone, what good is the house? I don’t think of this as sad. She made a nice cup of tea. She’s moving on. All the forget-me-nots in her garden are turning into forget-me-do’s. Very nice writing, Bruce.

        Reply
        1. Bruce Goodman Post author

          Thank you. It doesn’t hurt to remember of course, and even with a certain degree of sentimentality! At least it’s not regret! And yes – life if an adventure and not a remembrance!

          Reply
  1. ladysmock

    What I like about this piece of writing is the combination of schmaltz and matter-of-factness. I quite like ol’ missus Greville and her garden of memories.

    Reply
  2. Susanne

    I thought it was Yiddish but it’s a common enough word here. Apparently it’s clarified poultry fat but in this case it means excessive sentimentality larded liberally on a story to make it extra delicious.

    Reply

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