Saturday, May 20, 2017

It's Lilac Time

It’s lilac time. Those wonderful, sweet smelling flowers are in bloom. They bring back memories and they are filled with history. The old-fashioned ones come in white, deep purple and lavender and the bushes will grow twenty-feet tall and have trunks as thick as a small tree.

I will never forget the lilac bushes that grew along the southern fence at the one-room school that I attended for eight years. When the lilacs appeared in May, we knew the end of the school year was near. Our teacher would fill a vase with lilacs, and the musty, left over smell of wood smoke in our school room would be replaced with the gentle smell of lilac. The smell of spring.

We have a row of lilacs growing in front of the windbreak at our Roshara cabin. They were planted in 1912 when the farm buildings were moved across the road from their original location that dated to 1867. No doubt the Coombes family, who owned Roshara then, not only moved their homestead across the road, but they also moved their lilacs. Our lilacs are thus 105 years old and still going strong.

This time of the year is an especially interesting time to travel around Wisconsin. As most people know we’ve lost thousands of farms over the past several years. The barns are gone, the farm houses are gone. But a clump of lilacs often remains, like a tombstone that marks a grave, lilacs mark where once a farmstead stood. When I spot these often lonely bushes, covered with flowers, I think about the farm family that lived there. What were their stories? The lilac bushes remain to remind us of an earlier day.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Stop and smell the lilacs and think of the stories they have to tell.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088. Limited enrollment.

May 25, 7:00 p.m. Richfield Historical Societ Never Curse the Rain. Richfield Fire Hall, 2008 Hwy 175, Richfield, WI.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984


Anonymous said...

I had the same thought as I drove along Hwy 21 yesterday and saw a lonely clump of lilacs. What happened to the family or families that once enjoyed the lilacs?

Dennis Roitt Sr said...

It is like you read my mind. Lilacs are so nostalgic to me as well. And they do mark the passing of a farm and a family. Thank you.