I remember our summers to be extraordinary. We spent the majority of them at my maternal grandparents’ house. My paternal grandparents both passed away before I was born (I am named after my dad’s mother) and my maternal grandparents were the only grandparents I have ever known.
Baba and Deda as I called them, owned a house with a large garden. They built that house with their bare hands after the war. My mom still remembers moving into the house before the floors were down. Thankfully, the floors, heat and plumbing had all been there by the time I came around :-).
Baba and Deda’s house, garden and yard were magical. There was a vegetable garden where they grew delicious things like red and black currants, gooseberries, strawberries, rasberries, and rhubarb. There was what seemed to be an endless row of fruit trees of every kind — tart cherries, bing cherries, peaches, apricots, apples, pears, plums (red and yellow), and walnuts. There was the vegetable garden where they harvested potatoes, beans, peas, carrots, squashes, tomatoes, and peppers.
The gazebo right outside the front door covered by grapevines that provided a welcome, shaded refuge from the summer’s sun. Everything tasted better, brighter and more special when consumed while lounging in the gazebo.
Last, but not least and perhaps what I cherished the most, was the flower garden that surrounded the house itself. I remember vividly, springtime’s pungent aromas of peonies, tulips, lilly of the valley, daffodils and roses and a faint buzzing of the bees as they worked their magic on the garden and flower beds. The flowers at our wedding reflected my Baba’s garden. We didn’t miss a single flower, each had a meaning and that is how I made sure Baba and Deda were there with me on my wedding day.