Peonies and Pictures and Pondering

Jun 9, 2022 | 4 comments

From Fred and Vicki

The first bouquet came today and I could scarcely believe the two lovely peonies front and center.  Peonies!  Or Pea-own-knees, as Nyel was taught to call them by his Grandma Martha.  His favorite flower!  But they have always been a bit cranky about growing here in our mild climate.  Not like in Idaho.

“Put ice cubes around their base every morning,” someone said.  We didn’t but they grew anyway, even if ever so slowly.  “This year you’ll have a bumper crop,” I told Nyel. Lotsa buds but they’re even slower than usual.  When they finally come, the season will be long over.

From John Snyder

And how I’m enjoying the pictures of Nyel that friends are posting!  One from my former team-teaching mate, John Snyder.  It shows Nyel in front of our old “Bay House” probably in 1984 or 1985.  I’m not sure what he was doing — maybe transplanting a baby tree — but he sure was handsome!  And that never changed.

I remember that he planted a grove of alder trees just south of our road — transplanted the babies that would “grow into our wood lot,” he promised.  They did, but by then we had moved into town, into the family house.

They say that a house becomes a home after it has seen a wedding, a birth, and a death.  My great-uncle Cecil was married here in 1910 by my Grandfather, then the Justice of the Peace.  I don’t know that there has ever been a birth here — except for the batches of kittens that are periodically born underneath the once-upon-a-time parlor. (My grandmother went to Portland or Olympia to have her babies.)  And I’m not sure if anyone has ever died in these rooms.  Until yesterday.   So finally, after 153 years, is this officially a home?



  1. Sara Jane Chase

    You and Nyel had a great life together! So many memories made, they will help sustain you through the coming days, months and years! It is a process that is one moment one day at a time!

  2. Pat Wollner

    My heart is breaking for you Sydney. Love to you and your “Earth Angel”.

  3. Joan Akines Andrews

    Dear Sydney,
    You are in our thoughts, not only today but for the last 41 years.
    You were a sweet shoulder for Eric to lean on after the boat
    accident. Thank you from the
    bottom of my heart! and Eric’s.
    With fondest memories and deepest sympathy!
    Joan Akines Andrews

    • sydney

      Joan, thank you so much! I am so happy that Eric and I have been in touch and now to hear from you, too, is almost beyond imagining. I’ve wondered about you both over the years and am so very happy that you seem to have not only survived but thrived. I hope we’ll get a chance to visit in person before too long!
      With fond memories, Sydney


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