Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Happy May Day with a Repost

Tomorrow is May Day, a favorite day of mine. I had hoped to surprise my friends with May baskets like I used to do when the boys were small. Well, the best laid plans of mice and men...or something like that. So I will repost from May Day 2010 in hopes new readers might enjoy a verbal May basket tonight!



Friday, April 30, 2010

Do You Remember May Baskets?

Today I bought some Gerber Daisies for the May Baskets for my friends. Well, it will probably be just a flower this year instead of a real basket of anything, but the thought will be same. The clerk admired these lovely daisies, and when I told her what they were for, she tossed me a blank look. A woman sporting a wrinkle or two and with teenagers at home, she had never heard of the May Basket tradition. I think it is sad that this lovely toast to spring is fading away.
When I was a child, everyone made a May Basket or two. Our class made some at school for decorating bulletin boards. At home, I spent several evenings each spring making them at the kitchen table for my little pals and older neighbors. Sometime in April Mom would drop by the lumber yard where she picked up old wallpaper books that had been saved for us. You had to get your name in early as many families asked for one or two of the huge books with wallpaper samples. Once the books were home, I tore out my favorite pages choosing colors and patterns carefully. I rolled the pages into cones or mitered corners on squares and stapled on a paper handle.

My paternal grandmother lived about a block away and had a large yard with lilacs and spirea that she let me cut for my May baskets. The branches of fragrant flowers were worked in around candies, gum, and a cookie or two Mom had made. Then about dusk she drove me around to my friends’ houses, parking discreetly a half a block away. I snuck up to each porch, hung a paper basket on the door knob, and gave a quick knock while shouting, “May Basket!”. Then I raced so fast back to the car I thought my chest would burst as we tried, successfully once in a while, to make a get clean get away, leaving the recipient to puzzle out who left the basket. What fun! What a simple and harmless tradition, one infectious with nothing but pure joy.

The clerk today at the gardening center was excited when I left. She said she was going to tell her young teen daughter about this tradition and try to interest her in doing May Baskets. I am not sure such a humble event can compete with texting and such, but I hope the girl gives it a try.


Sioux said...

Claudia--Thanks for reposting this. I remember celebrating May Day when I was a kid.

Sadly, it's been many years since it last happened...

BECKY said...

Hi Claudia! I think I remember reading this when you first posted it. We didn't do May Day at my school when I was a little girl. Not sure why! Happy May Day to you!

Nancy's Notes said...

Love that tradition and enjoyed reading about your sweet memories. Sad it's not done much anymore! Great post~

Elephant's Child said...

How lovely. And no, we didn't do May Day here either - which is probably not surprising because we are well into Autumn.
And didn't celebrate Spring in that way either. A sadness.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Gosh, I've never heard of doing this. What a wonderful idea! I spent the afternoon today getting my front porch planters and the hanging baskets done. I've not much of a green thumb, unfortunately, so here's hoping I can keep everything alive through the summer!

Susan said...

That was sweet of you to buy flowers for friends' May baskets, Claudia.

You know what? I never got one in my entire life but then, I don't think I ever gave one either. Lovely as it is, it wasn't a tradition around these parts.

Hope your day was happy. Susan