-- Catharine R. Stimpson
When I was a child, we picked flowers from the garden on Mother's Day before we went to church. If your mother was dead, you wore a small spray of white flowers. If your mother was alive, you wore colored flowers, as bright as possible. White was for gratitude and grief; red and blue and pink and yellow were for gratitude. When I grew up, I abandoned this custom along with my childhood address. But since my mother's death, at the age of 93, I have been unable to pass a single white flower or a plant on Mother's Day---even ones barricaded in a flower shop---without remembering her and summoning up her ghost.