Happy May Day!  

Posted by Heidi in



It's May Day! I am always so glad when May is finally here. I have the fondest memories of how we celebrated May Day when I was growing up. The night before, we would go to the penny candy store next to the five and dime and buy a bag's worth. We bought smarties and tootsie rolls and those little suckers on the looped handle and other kinds I can't remember that you just can't find anymore. We would then go home with our bounty and make little baskets out of colored construction paper. I don't know if my mom came up with the idea herself-- the cutting and folding that resulted in a basket with a handle--or if someone taught her how to do it at some point. The candy would then be carefully divided amongst the number of baskets and left on the kitchen table for morning when we would fill them with flowers from the yard. ( My dad had boundaries as to which flowers we could take from his garden and which we couldn't. I suspect May Day wasn't his favorite holiday, especially those times when someone managed to snag some prize bloom that should have been off limits.) We went to bed, happy and excited about our plans to leave candy and flower laden baskets on the doorsteps of our neighbors and friends. Meanwhile, my mother was busy running to the store buying flower for her friends, mostly carnations but there were always some roses and other kinds, as well. I don't know how many friends she treated to a may day basket but she loved arranging flowers and I am sure the recipients of her baskets counted themselves lucky to get one. One year I remember well, she must have done quite a number of baskets because it seemed to me that the kitchen counters were covered with pitchers and vases filled with flowers. I recall complaining that we couldn't use any of those for the baskets we had made but then it was time to make the neighborhood delivers and the excitement could begin. I especially loved it on foggy mornings which gave it the guise of a cloak and dagger activity as the baskets were always left on the doorstep, ding-dong-ditch style. On weekends, we were allowed to ride along with my mom in the old brown station wagon for her deliveries to her friends which was always a treat. May Day baskets are a lovely old tradition that are a thing of the past. Even thirty five years ago we were the only ones we knew who delivered May Day baskets, at least in the San Francisco bay area where we lived. Perhaps it is more common in the midwest from where my mother hails. I like to think that someone, somewhere, still delivers these little bundles of happiness.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 1, 2008 at Thursday, May 01, 2008 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

1 wise, witty and wonderful comments

Heidi,
What a lovely memory that is and what a great way to share it. I am not surprised by the thoughtfulness of the act, your mom has always been so kind and generous.
Roxanne B Seely

May 2, 2008 at 4:03 PM

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