One of the classes I am in is "The Art of the Memoir." I submitted this last week and just got it back with the comments from my professor. He gave me a very positive review with the one suggestion that I include where it was I wrote about geographically. I grew up in rural central New Jersey.
His comments make me feel confident to post it as a piece of writing good enough to post publically. Enjoy...
I used to pick wild strawberries behind the forsythia, already green by the time the strawberries were ripe enough to eat, which lined the back of the flat, green lawn in back of our house. Changes of season brought excitement and family times here. It was paradise thinking myself a princess prancing around the yards and fields like a joyful horse. Sometimes the strawberries got eaten right away. Sometimes my family was lucky to have strawberries for a dessert or cereal topping. Left of the line of forsythia bushes which lined the back of the lawn and graced by a garden of flowers at their base, the lawn’s edge curved down to the left and up a slight hill. In this corner my mother’s beloved rock garden and the place where the most precious family photos, that of my grandparent, aunts, uncles, cousins and sisters of mine were taken. The lawn extended as an “L” wrapped around the house at the edge of which was a very large maple tree where on hot sunny days I would sit in a chair or blanket and read Nancy Drew books. Beyond that, up a few footsteps of hill was another large square lawn. Beyond this was a huge garden of summer flowers my father would grow for the woman who owned part of a much grander estate whom he worked for as her gardener. To the right of this patch of lawn behind the maple and caddy-corner to the back lawn for picnics and family time was a football field sized garden the edge of which lined the grass with the first row of dahlias or marigolds depending on which year that was. These were flowers for cuttings in vases for display in the big Georgian house down our driveway my parents worked for. Beyond these rows of dahlias were more rows of flowers and then the expansive vegetable garden with rows of stringed beans, lettuce, tomatoes, peas, carrots, onions, various squashes, pumpkins, must-melon and several rows of corn. To the left was the pheasant pen which housed five hundred birds.
One year we had two golden pheasants: a cock and a hen. The cock was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen with rich colors of red, yellow, and blue with orange and bronze colored feathers that striped around the back of the neck. In 1966, a Christmas snow storm, just before the dawn of the Cultural Revolution in China, caused these splendid birds of Chinese ancestry to perish.