My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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Swooning Under the Jacaranda Trees

The Jacaranda trees are blooming again; as I make my daily walk I'm dazzled by the purple haze blotting the sky, the dropped petals sticky beneath my feet. For the walk to do any good, it's supposed to be brisk, and I know I need to keep up the pace, but the lushness of the purple always takes me by surprise, stopping me in my tracks. I take pictures with my iPhone, wishing I were an Impressionist painter, Monet, Manet, I don't care. I just wish I could capture that feeling of being enveloped in an heart-stopping ultra-violet cloud of color. It happens every year in April, there's something decadent, sensual, almost sexual about the assault of purple passion. Sometimes as I drive the streets of LA, I catch myself half looking up at the canopy of blooms; distracted driving just as dangerous as texting. That feeling of being swept away is unhappily, as fleeting as pulse-quickening desire, and if you feel the urge to make love under the trees, you need to act quickly: the Jacarandas only bloom for about six weeks.

The trees are not native to our California; they're subtropical in nature so you'll find them in most south of the equator countries. The theory is that the Jacarandas came to Los Angeles in the mid 1800's by way of travelers from Brazil; in Buenos Aires the trees bloom more blue than our purple profusion. Oh, Jacarandas, you take my breath away.

If you stopped by for the memoir, you might want to head up to the pieces under the On the Street Where I Lived heading. For the month of April I'm diverting from my norm, which is mostly memoir, and posting every day but Sunday as part of the #AtoZChallenge. J is the letter of the day.


  1. Jacaranda trees are absolutely stunning in flower. Such a pretty purple. Carolyn @

  2. Jacaranda trees are absolutely stunning in flower. Such a pretty purple. Carolyn @


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