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Under the cherry tree

We grew up in a cherry tree — the biggest we’ve ever seen. We knew it by heart, each shiny hand- or foothold on its banded, silver limbs. Its base was a receptacle for children. You pulled yourself up on the shallow stump always leaking amber gum. Then you climbed your chosen route, to the roof, the tyre swing, or simply up. In spring petals snowed over the lawn.

 

We waited until the cherries were densely freckled with pink before we ate them. They were best nibbled lying on a sunny bed with a roll of ten June and Schoolfriends from the church fair sorted into chronological order.

Before we and the birds had taken them all, our father climbed the tree with a handful of our mother’s stockings.

One evening a week or two later when the stockings had turned greenish, he harvested the cherries.

Talking of stockings, I made my first pony, Sandy Bay. Beige sock, two buttons, brown wool, and a bridle of bias binding.

As you can see, he lived. My heart gave a leap when I thought of him waiting for me in the corner of the bedroom.

Talking of socks, one hot day after school, Jillian and I filled the barrel with water and climbed in.

My brother and his French horn-playing friend John Maurice took away our clothes. John turned up on FB recently. His daughter Renee is a truly remarkable singer.


9 Responses to “Under the cherry tree”

  • Penelope Says:

    Elizabeth, this blogger hasn’t helped your timid heart any — I just found I hadn’t ‘approved’ your comment so it’s only just appeared. So you’re a plum tree girl. Wonderful. Thanks for writing. xx

  • Penelope Says:

    Yes, I’ve read that you were a tree girl, too, Melissa. I would have been delighted to find you there amongst the leaves.

  • Melissa Green Says:

    Dear Penelope, an absolutely endearing and charming post. How easy to picture the young girl you were, so full of liveliness, curiosity, the ability to experience deep pleasure from the cradle. What a playmate you would have been. Wish I could have been in that bountiful tree with you. xo

  • Elizabeth Says:

    Your cherry tree did it for me. (I grew up under a plum tree – so some transference going on!) I’ve finally managed to pluck up courage and respond to your blog – one of several that I silently enjoy. Your drawings, your commentary and the tender spirited heart that beats through them, warmed the cockles of this timid heart.

  • Penelope Says:

    Sooner or later we might have met up there, Prue. On the moral high ground.

  • Prue Says:

    Ah yes, those trees. I used to read in them. While I was sitting in one, my ten-year-old brother, not suspecting that he could be seen, decided to check out in what way exactly Lynette Walpole was a girl. She seemed equally curious about his boyness. My my, did they ever get a fright when I shouted out from my moral high ground that they were disgusting…

  • Prue Says:

    Ah yes, those trees. I used to read in them. While I was sitting in one, my ten-year-old brother, not suspecting that he could be seen, decided to check out in what way exactly Lynette Walpole was girl. She seemed equally curious about his boyness. My my, did they ever get a fright when I shouted out from my moral high ground that they were disgusting…

  • Penelope Says:

    Well, pragmatism aside, as in your situation, any of us might do well to take the chance the internet offers and try out an alter ego.

  • Isabel Doyle Says:

    lovely memories and pictures
    don’t worry Isabel=me=Isabel just a label, no subterfuge. I feel more like Isabel than I do like Mrs Boss, I assure you.

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