Saturday, May 1

Flea Market Saturday: May Day

As a child, the last school day before May 1st was devoted to making dozens of paper cones with handles out of construction paper.

These we'd take home to be filled early on May Day morning with whatever flowers were available. On my block, that was Bridal Wreath Spirea (above) from a kindly neighbor's yard.

We'd load a little red wagon with our creations and leave one at each front door on the block, ringing the doorbell where possible, knocking lightly if not, never waiting for the occupant to answer.

We naively assumed they wouldn't know who left the May Day "surprises", but of course they all did and looked forward to pretending to be surprised when they did open the door.

Well, all except the grumpy old man who'd come out shaking his fist and yelling "Those damn kids!" while behind him, his wife would be smiling broadly as she proudly carried the bouquet into the house. Far as we could tell, these were the only flowers she received all year, so we always stuck a few extra sprigs into her "surprise".

I don't recall ever dancing around a Maypole at school or
Sunday School, probably because it's a pagan tradition.

Therefore, I'm guessing the little girls
above didn't live in the Bible Belt!

May 1st hasn't always been a happy celebration of the beginning of summer. Tyler McClelland tells about the dark side of this day in Of Maypoles and Massacres: A Short History of May Day in America.

If you or a friend or relative has lost a camera, memory card, memory stick, or even a roll of undeveloped film, someone may have found it and is trying to reunite it with its owner at Found Cameras and Orphan Pictures. You can search by country or U.S. state.

If you recognize the couple at right, please go to Camera Found - Athens Greece and leave a comment to that effect so that the memory card that this and other photos are on can be returned to its rightful owner.

"Found Cameras" was in this week's Passing It On: Five We Like at the genealogy blog of Larry Lehmer, former senior editor, reporter and newsroom manager at the prestigious Des Moines Register who now runs When Words Matter, an editorial services company specializing in preserving personal, business and organizational histories.

Buddy Holly fans may know Larry as the author of The Day The Music Died: The Last Tour Of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens.

Last but not least, genealogists and family historians might appreciate the following from the Family History section of the Mormon Times:

Have a great weekend!

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pinkpackrat said...

A fabulous post-- one of your best and I'll be on the lookout for stray memory cards and cameras.

Hey, are May baskets a Kansas tradition? I remember making them in Salina as a really little kid but have never encountered them anywhere else I lived. Interesting!!!!

JamaGenie said...

Gosh, I never thought about May baskets being a Kansas-only thing. I don't know. hmmmmm.... I do know that in other places, small bunches ("posies") of flowers tied with a ribbon are left on doorsteps on May Day.

Susan said...

I've always wondered about May Day.
When I was a kid in NJ and NY, it was a non-event. Even at school.
It always looked like a lot of fun.
I thought maybe it was a rural thing; but then I would have though my mom, the Indiana farmer's daughter, would have brought it East with her.
Sounds like a holiday I would have loved.

Scout's Honor said...

What a great tradition. Love it. Wish I lived in a community like that as a child. All we kids did was collect flowers for a bouquet for my mom....with ALL the neighbors' tulips, daisies, roses, etc. Now as a gardener, I would freak out if some kids picked my flowers. Heh! Yep, I am now the crotchety old man of whom you mentioned. :)


Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

I've never done the Maypole dance as well! ~Wonderful weekend!