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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Everyday Treasures


The early morning sky can put me in a very reflective mood -- and so it was yesterday with this sky from my kitchen window.

As I sat at the table my eyes fell on the rose in the vase on the tile and I realized that all three reminded me of wonderful people who have blessed my life. The tile was a souvenir from my parents when we were all in Canterbury together many years ago. It was a wonderful visit with many surprises and many wishes fulfilled. In addition to Canterbury my mother was thrilled to visit Sissinghurst gardens and Knowle House. The gardens were at their peak and the white garden there turned out to be my favourite all time garden experience! In London we all went to the Royal Albert Hall and saw the ballet Romeo and Juliet -- it was fabulous... My favourite memory of the trip was insuring that they had their passports on them at all times without letting on that on the pretext of going to Canterbury, we were actually heading for the Channel Tunnel and a quick day trip to Lille to visit with my sister-in-law. They were thrilled to be the first of their friends to cross the channel this way! 

The vase is sterling silver and was given to The Man and me from one of my dearest friends. She is originally from Germany and was a neighbour of my parents when they lived in their last  house. Besides the fact that she has more energy in her 70's than any person I know she is also one of the most talented and interesting. She also saved my son from a very dangerous disease.

In August 1997 our family was visiting my parents in Connecticut. The Man always liked to help my Dad in their garden and there was a lot of work to do clearing up overgrown bushes and brambles and carting them to the woods at the edge of the garden. A few weeks later my youngest son, Robert, came down with a terrible flu and very high temperatures. A week or so later one side of his face was frozen and he was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy. The prognosis was that it could last a few weeks to a few months, but was not usually permanent. In the meantime there was a big wedding in the family at the end of the month just before we were due to return to the States and we all headed up to Vermont for the celebrations. Other than the palsy, Robert was OK and we all went, enjoyed ourselves and hurried back to pack up and leave the next day.

While The Man was putting our suitcases in the car, my friend drove by, realized we were leaving momentarily, and came in to say goodbye. As soon as she saw Robert she realized that in all probability he was suffering from Lyme Disease!! This disease can usually be taken care of by antibiotics, but it is important to seek treatment immediately! The Man and I left for England very worried. When we got back to England England was a very weird place and even more so for us. The end of August 1997, the day of my brother's wedding was the day Princess Diana died! The first thing we did upon our return was see the GP. 

Not experienced at all with this affliction he thought it unlikely that this was the problem. However, bless him forever, he said that he would be in touch with the experts in the field of this sort of disease for advice -- which he did immediately, because the very next morning we had a phone call from him to get down to a hospital in Liverpool -- the poor boy had to have a spinal tap. The results of his tests showed that there was a problem and for 10 days we were having daily visits for massive  intravenous doses of antibiotics. It was incredible to see him respond to this treatment -- noticeably within 24 hours. His reaction to the disease was neurological and is the most serious -- a lot of things just don't bear thinking about -- so many what if's. 

Amazing the memories a little silver vase can trigger!

A finally we come to the rose -- it's the last one from my Valentine bouquet from The Man himself! Believe me there are a lot of memories there!!


33 comments:

  1. It is amazing how so many things can bring back all sorts of memories. I have many things of my mother's in our house and I often find myself chatting to her as if she were still around.
    Living in S.Africa I know all about tick bite fever which I presume is similar to Lyme Disease. Both of my parents had it at different times, my Mum was desperately ill. We caught my Dad's in the very early stages and he was not so bad. Take care and enjoy your memories. Diane

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    1. I think it must be similar to tick bit fever. For those people who live in Connecticut it the countryside it is not uncommon to be bitten on an almost regular basis -- especially where there a lot of deer -- and there are a lot of deer in north western Connecticut where I grew up. The key is always early detection otherwise it's a long process getting rid of it.

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  2. I know about Lyme Disease, and it can be very difficult to eradicate. Your husband was lucky, indeed.
    Objects do that, don't they? I have a tea set from my Mum that instantly brings a smile on my face each time I open the cupboard and stare at it!

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    1. Indeed, my husband also contracted the disease and while its effects were not as serious as those of my son, it was still over a year before he was able to stop taking anti-biotics.

      I hope you managed to use your tea set sometimes...

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  3. What a lovely, reminiscent post, Broad. Given what might have happened to your son, I'm not at all surprised that the vase is full of grateful memories of your observant friend.

    You must see a lot of sunrises, as I'm guessing you're very much an early-morning person. Your comment on my latest post was timed at 6.35am, a hour at which I'm very rarely awake :-)

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    1. For several years I would wake up just before 5 a.m. everyday and toss and turn trying to get back to sleep. Finally, in frustration, I found it easier to get up have breakfast and watch the news for an hour or so, maybe check what's happening on the computer and then go back to bed for another couple of hours. I then fall into a deep sleep and get up again. Sunday is the only day I regularly get up around 7.30 or 8 in order to get to church. Fortunately, I have always liked early mornings -- especially in the summer...

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  4. Lovely post Broad. And how lucky for you that you have such observant friends and Doctors who follow up with speed. Your last paragraph made me smile. Delicious memories. Smiles.

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    1. We were so lucky -- once we'd got back to the UK it would never have occurred to us what might really be wrong with him.

      Glad I made you smile at the end ;-)

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  5. G'day Broad. Lovely post. Lovely memories and I do love that rose. Take care. Liz...

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    1. Funny! I thought about your roses when I was photographing it!

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  6. I agree, what a beautiful post. Memories, good and bad, are important to us and I'm glad that the Lyme disease was spotted in time.

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    1. I find these memories become more and more important the older I get -- just hope I don't become one of those boring old dears who wallows in the past!

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  7. What a beautiful post, Broad, filled with treasured relationships, experiences and memories! Isn't it amazing what comes up when one takes time to really look at and think about something right it front of us -- and how rich life can feel?

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    1. Exactly -- how often it is that if we would stop and look at what we have right in front of us our spirits would be lifted -- and often its the simplest things that are the richest...

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  8. Your top picture said "England" before I read any of the story. I don't know why I thought that, except that the image is so different from anything Canadian.

    Glad you've had such wonderful memories, and that Robert received good care. Lyme Disease and the like can be very nasty, indeed.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean about looking like "England". There is a definite distinctiveness about the Victorian buildings and the light.

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  9. Your son had a narrow escape, it must have been a difficult time for you all - no wonder you love your little vase - to remind you that you pulled through.
    I think this is why my house is full of bits and pieces of little beauty and doubtful usefulness - I can't bear to part with the memories attached to them.

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    1. It was such a narrow escape. It also reminds me how important human beings are to each other -- it's easy to loose sight of that sometimes...

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  10. Lovely story. Amazing how often chance plays such a huge role in our lives. If your friend had not came by when she did and recognized your son's disease things could have turned out very differently. That sweet little vase reminds you to treasure the people in your life always.

    Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog. I enjoy your visits here so many miles away.

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  11. Thank you Elaine! When she was a child my mother made a piece of embroidery that said, 'A real friend is a great treasure' -- how right that sentiment is! Friendships have been my life's greatest treasures for sure...

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  12. Treasured objects can last forever to be passed down with their insightful stories. That's what you're doing...creating an archive for your descendants. Your blog is a treasure in itself.

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    1. Thank you so much for your very kind words. I've never thought of this being an archive for my descendants -- a nice thought!!

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  13. Hi, dear Broad,

    I have just read all your recent posts which I missed. I love your account of getting to grips with life in the UK. I am still not quite used to some of the ways of the natives. Still putting my foot in it with my big mouth saying what I mean rather than saying what is polite.

    Your life seems to have been idyllic compared to mine, my first attempt at settling in was in the company of a bounder; it's only during the last 25 years that things have turned sweet and dandy.

    Say 'Guten Tag' to your good German friend for me. Is she also a UK inhabitant?

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    1. I so wish my German friend did live in the UK! No, Sabine lives in the U.S. and splits her time between northwestern Connecticut and Portland, Oregon, where her two children live with their families. She did come to England as an au pair when she was a young woman. I think of her often when reading your posts!

      So far so idyllic! I'm about to get to some of the nitty and the gritty which were not so idyllic!

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  14. Dear Broad,
    Whenever I'm able to take time out to read other blogs, I always look forward to yours, eager to learn about your life in England and to enjoy the happenings you share. This posting about the tile, the vase, and the rose spoke volumes to me because in my home--probably in everyone's home--there are objects d'art that recall love and comfort and story and the spirit of those who have raised us or taught us or befriended us.

    One question: Did Robert have Lyme's Disease? I have a friend who's had in for many years. Not a nice disease at all to have. Well, I suppose no disease is nice to have, but some have worse, ongoing, symptoms than others.

    Peace.

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    1. Yes, Robert did have Lyme Disease. In fact from time to time he still has occasional twinges that remind him of the paralysis in his face.

      Thank you for your so kind comments about reading my blog -- that feeling is very mutual!

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  15. I was reading your past posts and enjoyed them all. About dual citizenship – I think this is good when it is allowed for people who live in different countries. I did not want to lose my French citizenship and at the same time I wished to have the same citizenship as my children and be able to vote in the US, so am pleased I have both. I wish I could be a British citizen too. I went to England the first time, alone, when I was 13 ½ years old and have lived there and do go back often. Your rose is lovely and the story about the vase and the tile too. It is nice to have objects around us which remind us of our past and the people we care for. Lymne disease is a serious malady and one that is not well recognized yet so it was good that your friend noticed it.

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    1. Lyme Disease can be devastating. Being from that part of the States I've known several people who have been affected by it. In addition to my son, my husband and my niece have both had serious problems. My niece will have to take medication probably for the rest of her life. Since the medication is not safe to be taken if you are pregnant it has meant that she will probably never be able to have children. All the result of a brief visit to the area.

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    2. these are the type of things we will all grab if there ws a fire!

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  16. What a tremendous journey of gratitude infused in the essence of that vased rose. Wow.

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    1. Gosh, Ruth, I could not have said that better myself! Thank you...

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  17. Hello! Just found your blog via Tom Stephenson, It is delightful. As a nurse my heart was pounding with the story about your sons illness. So happy it worked out well. And that silver vase? It is sweetness

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    1. Welcome, Donna. Thank you so much for stopping by this blog and becoming a follower and for your very kind words. It's so appreciated!

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