Growing up my family and I moved every four years. We went from New Jersey to Italy to Charleston, South Carolina in the space of 8 years before landing in Pittsburgh where we stayed for 20 years. My family and I loved Pittsburgh. We were and are fanatical Steeler fans, we learned to eat French fries on everything including our salads and as the youngest child I embraced the Pittsburgh dialect which makes the Brooklyn accent sound smooth.
The biggest negative to life in Pittsburgh was the weather. We would celebrate the beautiful crisp fall days knowing that once we got past the middle of October we could expect a series of endless, grey, snowy days that would last well into April and sometimes May.
As winter marched on we would gather at least once a day at the kitchen window. Right after we moved in to our house my mom planted a forsythia bush outside our kitchen window. When buds started to appear we knew that there was hope that spring would soon be here. We tracked that tree daily until we started to see buds and then the bright yellow flowers that would cause the mood in our house to shift from the winter blahs to the hopefulness that spring brings.
As surely as the seasons change, one morning my mother would announce “the forsythia is blooming!”
My mother would launch into our spring time activities; cleaning the house from top to bottom, sweaters would be pushed to the back of closets and sun dresses moved to the front, bathing suits would be examined to see if they would last another year.
When my parents decided to retire to North Carolina we all knew we would miss that house and that forsythia bush. Not able to say goodbye to the forsythia my mother took a clipping and nursed it on the long drive south. When they arrived at their new house in Wilmington one of the first things she did was plant that clipping. The forsythia flourished.
My mother gave cuttings from the Pittsburgh Forsythia, as it was now known, to both of my sisters who still have flourishing Pittsburgh forsythia’s. When I moved from NYC to my house in Atlanta, the first thing my mother gave me was a clipping from the forsythia. When I moved from Marietta to Dunwoody I did not even think twice about taking a clipping and planting it in my new yard where it has grown to twice the size of the original bush. Clippings from the Pittsburgh forsythia have made it with family members living from Seattle to Maine and several places in between.
It is hard to say goodbye to our homes. When we decide to sell because of a new job, a growing family or because we are entering a new phase of life it is nice to be able to take a little piece of our old home to our new home to serve as a reminder of our past.