Saturday, November 16, 2019

Picking a Peach in the Garden of Love

All her life, my grandma told us "I was the only farm girl, back then, who rode for pleasure."  ("Back then" was the last years of the 1800's and early 1900's, when horse and buggy was the usual transportation.)

One day, she galloped into town, stopping her horse with a flourish that raised dust, catching the eye of the town's most eligible bachelor, the handsome new bank manager, Wilford Marr.

"Who's that?" he asked.

"That's Florence Fitzsimmons," came the reply.

Soon he came calling. She was his "Floss" for the rest of his life.

"The town girls were all mad that he chose a farm girl," my grandma would always say, with satisfaction.

They raised five kids through the Depression, in a big old white house on Lorne Avenue, in Saskatoon. My grandma did the family laundry by hand in the bathtub, all the sheets and pinafores and dresses that created so much laundry back then. In the prairie winters, she hung the wash outside, where it froze solid. Then she brought it indoors and stood the pants and dresses up around the rooms to thaw and dry.

Jobs were scarce. My grandpa did accounting for whoever would hire him. Often, in those hungry years, he got paid in coal, or potatoes, occasionally a chicken - whatever a client could pay, he brought home to feed his family and keep them warm.

My grandma had a kind heart. Even when life was so harsh, when tramps came to her door, she found them something to eat. (And they came often; word got out.)

My mom recalled walking home through the brutal prairie cold, anticipating a pork chop for dinner. When she arrived, a tramp was sitting at the table polishing off her chop. She told the story with chagrin sixty years later, still missing the taste of that pork chop she never got to eat.

My grandparents passed their fiftieth, and then their sixtieth anniversaries before my grandpa died at ninety-three. Grandma lived on to be a few weeks short of a hundred years old.

"I picked a peach in the garden of love," she would muse. "Those town girls were so mad, but Wilf chose me."

Inspired by the photo at The Sunday Muse, and also 367 words for Rommy at the Pantry of Poetry and Prose  at Poets United.


  1. I love this beautiful story Sherry. Your grandfather made a wonderful choice, and I am certain many of those deep rooted strong qualities they had have passed on to you as well. It is a real life Cinderella story!! I love it!

  2. Sherry, I love your grandmother's spirit.

    She was lucky to find that perfect peach.

  3. I love this... and maybe in depression coming a farm-girl is best..

    Though love always comes first.

  4. Love the warmth in this, and the joy.

  5. It seems the both were lucky to find the perfect peach. :) I love a good love story.

  6. Oh my heart this is so evocative, Sherry!❤️ May we always find strength in one another, cherish love and everything that it represents.

  7. Your grandma chose well. Those times would be strange to our current workshy youngsters. I lovely story :-)

  8. Is there always a good story where love is concerned? There was in this case, Sherry. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Oh Sherry I LOVE this. In fact, after I read it … I read it again … out loud to Mike. There was so much in it that we both related to - having grown up in the (I'm sure: equally cold) barren wilds of Northern Ontario … and yes, with parents and grandparents who had many stories of how life at the turn of the century was even colder and more barren ~ smiles ~ That said about the content … I must add that the writing, itself, is wonderful … truly in sync with your utterly delightful story. Florence and Wilford would be so proud and pleased. This was a joy to read!

  10. What a wonderful story! And what a wonderful heritage for you.

  11. What a beautiful account of your Grandma's life, Sherry. I loved to hear of the barter system too when cash was in short supply.

  12. What a heartwarming story - beautifully told.

  13. Oh my goodness, Sherry, I love this story so much. And it is so beautifully composed and complete. Thank you for sharing this. I think it is so important to keep stories of life that came before us alive. Really deeply moving.

  14. I just wrote a long comment and it disappeared.Love this poem. Love Flo and Wilf.

  15. This is heart-warming, Sherry. So many years together, and so much love.

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