The story of Grandma’s Rose actually starts with my dad, who was, at the time the rose first appears, a young man growing up in Franklin County, Massachusetts.
But first a bit of history. My grandparents were polish imigrants, and grandfather came to America and worked in the Pennsylvania coal mines. Grandfather Joseph moved his family north after he developed the “black lung”. I’m told that they moved because the air was said to be better here. After Joseph passed away, Sophie (grandma) made ends meets by using one of the skills she learned while working at her father’s bar in Poland. She made hooch. Being that it was probition at the time, Sophie was able to sell her product to many businesses in town. Yes, Grandma made moonshine.
As a young man, my father said he hunted for meat to help feed his mother and siblings. He roamed the hills of Franklin County with his border collie, and had many adventures. Dad was a born woodsman, and whether he was exploring a forgotten trail; finding a natural spring; or checking out the far side of a mountain, that’s when he was the happiest. That is until he met a cute brunette that rocked his world, but that is another story.
There was an interesting area that my dad and others always called the old world. No one know why it was called that, but I think perhaps because it used to be a settlement that died out long, long ago. You could still see the remains of cellar holes, and piles of rocks that may have been a fence or perhaps a fallen chimney. One day my dad found a rose bush growing near one of those ruined cellar holes; dug it up; and replanted it at home for his mother, Sophie. The bush took well to the change, and grew there for as long as I can remember.
A cutting of the plant was taken by Sophie’s daughter, Veronica to her new home when she married her farmer beau, Henry. The rose did well on Henry’s farm and when they retired from farming, a bit of the rose went with them to live in a small town in the Berkshire’s. Eventually Veronica needed to give up her home on the hill. She spoke to my dad who bought the house and moved in with my family. The rose plant was still thriving at the time, and was lovingly tended by my mother. So the rose had now come full circle and I began thinking of it as “Grandma’s Rose”.
A few years back, my dad passed away, but before he did, he gave me a tiny potted shoot of “Grandma’s Rose”. Over the years since, I have admired the spirit of this plant. It was accidentally snipped by shears; mowed down by my husband; mowed down by a lawn guy; and possibly weed wacked once. Each time it grew back and perserviered through hot summers, cold winters, and (um er) weeds. Finally we wised up, fenced it in, and today, for the first time, it bloomed for us. I believe that this tough little rose, that was probably planted by a hopeful family living in colonial Deerfield, has decided to stick it out.