Witnessing a Memory

At work we have several volunteers that help us in the office. This week we had someone on vacation so we used volunteers to sit at her desk and answer phone calls. All of these sweethearts are happy to help and I love having them in the office. It breaks up the monotony of the day to day work week. I find myself drawn to these golden agers.

This afternoon we had an 80 plus year old helping. She had walked into my office and spotted my computer wall paper. “Oh what a beautiful bird. That picture is just lovely!!” She said all of this with her trace of New York accent. She has lived here for years, but the accent lingers.

The picture was a bird sitting on a apple tree branch. The tree was blossoming. She just stood there for a moment really taking in the photo and really appreciating the beauty captured.


Then she closed her eyes, smiled, and tilted her head back. The sun was shining though my floor to ceiling window and fell across her 80ish year old face and she began to recall:

“When I was a very young girl in New York my father would take us out into the country. It was out along an old dirt lane, that just rolled on. It curved and went up and down. We passed old fences that were falling down along the side of the rode. Then we would round the bend and there it was!” She opened her eyes and looked at me and said “The most beautiful apple orchard. Just rows and rows and rows. They seemed to go on forever. My father would ask the farmer, May we come in? The farmer would open the gate and let us in. My father allowed no running and screaming. There was no fooling around.”

She closed her eyes again and said, “When I close my eyes it all comes back to me. The beautiful canopy of flowers. Just a sea of beautiful pinkish white blooms. The chartreuse leaves, the golden sun spilling down through the branches. AND THE SMELL! Very pungent, but lovely.”

“We would walk quietly among the trees. A gentle breeze would come and the petals from the trees would fall like snow. It really was something. But you only had a short time to catch it. Some years we would ask, Can we go to the apple orchard? and my father would say, It’s too late. At the time I never realized how that memory would stay with me.”

She’s talked to me about her father before. He was a very hard working man that provided for his family. But there didn’t seem a lot of affection from him towards her or her sister. But the apple orchard was special to him and he passed that on to her.

Before she left my office, I told her “How wonderful that your father shared that with you!”

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