Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Tulip Lady

When I was in Kindergarten we went on a field trip. Some twenty kids walked in two lines holding hands. We left school that morning. It was a surprise to us. All that Miss Mabry, our teacher, said was that we were in for a beautiful adventure that we would remember for a really long time. “Maybe all of our lives,” she said.
Everyone was excited and wondering what it could be. I was excited too. We all lived in the neighborhood. What surprise could there be that we didn’t know about?

We walked about eight blocks and turned the corner. We went to a house and into the back yard. You could not see the yard from the sidewalk or the street. Yet once we got past the hedge we were in another land. It was called Holland then. It was filled with tulips−reds, yellows, purples, striped ones and even black ones! Everyone’s eyes got as big as the plate in the lunchroom. Far in the back was a windmill made of stone with wide white blades that turned in the wind.

The Tulip Lady came out of her house through the kitchen door. She passed real wooden shoes on the stairs . She was wearing a real Dutch costume. She said to call her the Tulip Lady because her name too was hard for small children to say. She told us so many things about tulips and why her garden looked so beautiful. I could barely hear. My eyes were so bombarded with color.
I often think that was my best day in school ever. I can’t forget how amazing it was. A few years later out riding my bike on a spring day, I turned down a street and found her house again and I got to relive the field trip all over again. It amazed me to think that this dreamland had been within blocks of my house and I didn’t know.

I went back there this summer to see the Tulip Lady’s house one more time. My son was with me. I wanted to tell him the story, but times change and she’s gone. No wooden shoes sit on the stairs.

Miss Mabry was right though. I still remember. I still see pictures of tulips and the Tulip Lady whenever I close my eyes.
−me strauss Letting me be


Sebastian Prooth said...

Hi Liz: I just read this entry about tulips and "The Tulip lady." What an awesome little adventure to have so close to home. It must have been an amazing experience to imprint on your memory so severly!

Did you ever find out what the real name for the Tulip Lady was, it might be interesting to see her heritige, maybe she had children you could contact about her, seems to me that any family she has would love to hear a story like that, I know I would.

Thanks for the story :)

Great Blog BTW.
-Sebastian SEBRT.COM

Marti said...

What a lovely story! And what a lovely storyteller!

Best wishes to you for a wonderful weekend!

ME Strauss said...

Hi Sebastian,
No, I didn't find out where she lived until I was about 9 or 10 and I was very shy. Then I think she sort of faded into memory for a while when I got a little older. By the time I went by to find her she was gone.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Marti!
Great to see you! Yor stories are such fine. Mine are just romantic goings on . . . but the flowers were beautiful. have wonderful weekend too.

Trée said...

Liz, wonderful story. I'd like to think I'm just the closing of my eyes away from everything great that has ever happened to me. Have a great weekend magnificent storyteller. :-)

ME Strauss said...

A good storyteller is nothing without someone to tell stories to. You are the reason I tell them. Have great weekend yourself story man.

Praying for your Prodigal said...

I feel the same way about Lilacs and Roses.


ME Strauss said...

Hi Diane
It's grand isn't it how flowers can mean so much to our hearts.

Mama Mouse said...

That breeze you felt earlier was my sigh ... I can only imagine the site of the tulips and the windmill. It must have been utterly fantastic and one that obviously you never have forgotten. Your teacher was right!

She was a very wise woman and you were very fortunte to have her as a teacher.

ME Strauss said...

Yeah mama Mouse,
it was so amazing. She was a very young teacher. As I remember it must have been her first year. She was gone the next year to California. I think she got married and moved away. But I never forgot her either. She was beautiful too --like those tulips.