I managed to grow forget-me-nots from seed this year. They actually flowered and everything. Growing things from seed feels like a pretty remarkable feat anyway, but I’m particularly pleased with the forget-me-nots because they look like, well, forget-me-nots.
The house we moved into when I was about three was full of the life leftover by the old woman who sold us the house – beaded vintage dresses, white gloves and a whole pile of flowered greeting cards. I spent a lot of time admiring them as a kid. Many of them were from the 40s and 50s and my mom remembered ones similar to them and always said they gave her a feeling of nostalgia.
Being imprinted with forget-me-nots at a young age seems to have stuck. In about 1991 I lived in Oklahoma briefly and an old woman in the church I attended painted flowers on porcelain. I expect she was of the same vintage as the greetings cards I grew up with and she signed her checks: Mrs [husband’s full name]. When I saw her vases and paper weights at the church bizarre I had to have one.
Ten years later I went through a burst of buying china on ebay.
Nostalgia means various things, but for me it includes in particular the way that flowers looked on greeting cards from the 40s and 50s: forget-me-nots, violets, lilies of the valley and lilacs in particular. As an adult, I found a carefully kept collection of the same cards (some of them really were the exact same cards) and bought them. The woman who kept them started in 1942 with her wedding cards, and added the cards her husband bought her on Valentine’s Day and their anniversary and her birthday.
I felt irrationally sad about Myrtle’s careful collection of love disappearing into someone’s antique shop, being bought and cut to bits. I don’t know what I’ll do with it, but it’s in my closet. And the forget-me-nots are blooming in my garden.