Saturday, March 20, 2010



As I look outside the window, watching the snow fall from the dark endless sky, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sadness. My grandmother is moments away from passing from this world into the next and the family has gathered to give her company and say their goodbyes. It isn’t right for these last moments of hers to have been spent indoors during this wicked cold.  She should have been able to spend her days outside in the garden that she so loved.
I remember spending many hours in that garden with her, when I was a child and I would come visit her during my summer vacation. She taught me all there was to know about the art of gardening. She would grow everything from pumpkins to strawberries and flowers to fruit trees. I remember squealing in horror as my fingers touched a wiggling worm when I was pulling out weeds one day and my grandmother gently explained to me the purpose each worm had to the overall health of her little patch of paradise. Worms didn’t frighten me so much after that.
My grandmother was also a great children’s author and I do believe that she found her inspiration for her stories within the confines of her garden. Her stories were about a magical land called “Magnolia” were tiny little people lived and played. The main characters in her story were a brother and sister named Edwin and Tilda. She described them as little angels the size of a large butterfly. Her stories were very popular and well loved by children and adults alike.  Tilda and Edwin would get into all kinds of mischief, not unlike regular children, the only difference was their small size and that they could fly with little angle-like wings.
According to her stories, the Land of Magnolia is a most wonderful and magical land. The flowers that live in this land are more vibrant then any flower on Earth, and they glitter and shimmer with their own inner light and the hummingbirds that drink from their nectar glow softly as a result.
The little bubbling brooks are filled with beautiful fish painted with every colour of the rainbow and the water’s edge and floor are lined with all sorts of precious stones including, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds instead of rocks.
Another mystical aspect of this land is that little Edwin and Tilda are able to communicate with all the tiny creatures that inhabit Magnolia. Their puppy “Rufus” is more like a friend to them, then a pet, as are many of the other animals of the land.
One of my favorite stories of hers was the one about Edwin when he tried to prove to Tilda that he was a much better cook then she was. He had discovered a giant mushroom patch and decided he would show off his cooking skills by producing a most delicious homemade mushroom soup. Luckily before he caused too much damage he learned that this was no ordinary patch of mushrooms, but rather a little elf village that housed new found friends Alf and Alva, who had many adventures of their own.
I smiled fondly at the memory and vowed to read each and every one of my grandmother’s books to my own children before they outgrew such tales.
“Catherine?” My mother whispered as she gently tugged me away from the window. “Mom wants to see you now.”
I silently made my way to my grandmother’s bedroom, leaned over and kissed her check. “Hello, Grandma.” I said quietly.
“Catherine,” she smiled sweetly “It’s time to let me go. I know you worry about me, but don’t you fret Catherine, my dear, for I won’t be alone.  My little Edwin and Tilda will be with me, I have been waiting a long time to see them and I am anxious to go.”
“Yes, grandma.” I said and frowned. I had so wished to have a meaningful goodbye, but it appeared as though her mind was slipping as well as her body. She was right about one thing though, I had been holding on to her. She had been sick for a long time now, but I was still unwilling to believe that my time with her was at an end.
“Don’t you frown Catherine, I’ll be just fine, you will understand.” she struggled to speak these last few words and pointed to her desk drawer, “In there is a key. Remember the little piece of my yard that is fenced off, near the back. The key unlocks the gate…” Her voice broke off, but I understood where she meant. I opened the drawer and picked up the key, but when I turned to thank her, she was already gone.
“Goodbye Grandma.” I whispered and stood there for several moments, tears streaming down my face, trying desperately to regain my composure before I went to tell the others that she had moved on.
            I slept restlessly that night and as soon as the sunshine hit my window the next morning I was up and dressed and heading outside; key in hand. The snow crunched beneath my feet as I made my way towards the little iron gate at the far back corner of my grandmother’s property. As a child I had never questioned why I was not allowed to play beyond the fence, I just assumed it was just a patch of grass that she didn’t want little feet to trample on.  When I opened the gate, however, I realized that I was entering a mini cemetery with only two small tombstones marking two small graves. As I approached the graves and read the markings upon them, I finally understood why my grandmother was so anxious to move on to the next world; for Edwin and Tilda were not just characters in her stories, but the children whom she had only known a day and longed to see again in heaven. I then realized that this garden was dearer to her then I could have ever imagined and it was at that moment, that I felt peace.  

Jenny Laszlo


paola said...

What a sad tale, but having said that one of the most beautifully written pieces that i have read in a while. Wish i could find some of these stories to tell my children.

Only By His Grace said...

Dear Jenny!
Yout story really brought some strong emotions to the surface for me as I remembered sitting at my Mothers bed before she passed away.
The story even though sad as Diana already said was so well written and a really beautiful story.
Yes! I did cry.
Hugs Marion

Teri said...

What a dear story! It did bring tears to my eyes and was beautifully written.. I know I will think about it for a long time.....

Vivi Casale said...

Oh Jenny, what a sad and beautiful story.. for a moment I could walk in that garden and cross the gate with Catherine!! you are a great story teller!!!

monica said...

What a very touching story, it brought tears to my eyes. It is very well written, you can tell that a lot of heart went into writing this story. I'm very glad I had a chance to read it.
Hugs Monica M

charlene said...

What a beautiful story ! It is so well written it was like it was actually happening great talent you have !

Anonymous said...

That was so sweet. It was beautiful and amazing. I loved it so much. My grandma is the same way. She teaches me so much(And now I'm not afraid of worms! Hee hee!) I love her a lot and I thought your story was so amazing. It brought tears to my eyes and I think you should keep writing!

Julia said...

Thank you For such a wonderful story. It was so sad, yet heartwarming. So well written. Words are hard to come by as it was just so from a heart-felt emotion that made it so beautiful.
Julia B.

Candy said...

Dear Jenny,
I cried when I read your story because it brought back all the wonderful memories of my grandmother. We were so very close!
You wrote this so well. I am sure it came straight from your heart!! Bravo
Hugs, Candy

Nancy said...

What a beautifully written story Jenny. Thank you so much for sharing this it was very touching. I love the cover of your book you did a awesome job with this project!

Crystal said...

Jenny, your story is so wonderfully well written! You did an amazing job, it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing it with us :)

♥♥RubyM:)♥♥ said...

OH my goodness!!! What a touching fairytale.I personally can relate to this story.My mother is obsessed with roses and pretty much her BIG GARDEN.Every summer she looks foward to adding and adding to her garden.One time she told me that when she passes,she wants me to continue in brightening her garden.I was told please don't let my garden dry because it will make me sad.It brought me back to that day which was a bitter sweet moment from her.I also agree with the others.Your story is sad yet breathtaking and beautiful.I really like your translation of the monthly words.Congratulations!!!LOVE,RubyM:)♥