Mrs White, the pears and the valentine’s box

When I was a little girl between the ages of 4 and 7, I lived with my family in a big house which was across the street from some railroad tracks. We had a cherry tree, a walnut tree, roses blooming near the fence, a chicken house in the back yard, a huge hydrangea bush growing next to the house(I always called it the popcorn ball tree and loved it!).

During the time I was growing up, we were able to roam around the neighborhood without parents getting upset from not knowing where we were. As long as when they hollered for us and we answered, we were close enough.

I had met our neighbor 2 houses down. Her name was Mrs. White. I had always thought that the name White was such an unusual name to me. It was so simple and easy to remember-which mine was not.  She was alone and (from my point of view) a very small and old woman. She had white hair and always wore those no-shaped dresses that were loose and always looked square on a woman. She had a pear tree growing in her yard. I could smell the fruit ripening and was always drawn to see if I could have some of them. If she was there, she always let me have some because I asked nicely.

One day, she invited me into her home. It was very quiet in there (especially for a girl who had 4 brothers and parents at home-it was always a good noisy at the house). She took me to her kitchen table and I spotted a valentine’s heart shaped box with ribbons and an artificial flower pasted on top. To me, it looked beautiful! I told her so, and to my delight, she let me have it.

I kept that box for many years. It held a little girl’s treasures and dreams. When the box disintegrated, I kept the flower and the ribbons until one day, I felt I had outgrown the memory.

Now that I am much older and have seen many boxes and eaten many pears, I remember that wonderful little old lady who was willing to give something just to see the light in a little girl’s eyes.

There were times I wondered who had given her the box. Who had cherished her. I regret that I am unable to go back and ask her about her life, to become a true friend. But I do know, that while I was there, I always felt welcomed in her home(it also did not hurt to go get a pear now and then as a treat).

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