The Detective’s Daughter – How Does Your Garden Grow?

kimspolicehatBy Kim, enjoying the warm weather in Baltimore.

Me as a child in my garden.
Me as a child in my garden.

As a child I lived in a row house on the end of the block with a yard that ran the length of our house. There were rose bushes at one end and tulips along the fence. It was my grandmother’s pride and joy, though my grandfather kept it going. I helped him. It was my job to hold his beer as he mowed the grass or weeded around the flowers. Summer was the best season. We would sit in the yard after dinner, shaded by the tree, reading, talking, or just listening to the Orioles game on the radio.

I miss that house, but mostly I miss being in the garden. The house was built in the 1860’s and our family had been its only owners. Every occasion, big or small, was marked by a photo next to the gate. I believe all families have a special place where they gather to take their photographs. I have hundreds of photos of my own children standing on our front steps. I wish I had taken more of them in the garden at my father’s house.

My great grandmother in 1867.
My great grandmother in 1867.
My grandmother and her brother in the early 1900's.
My grandmother and her brother in the early 1900’s.










After my grandfather passed away Dad became the caretaker of the garden. He put in a fish pond and planted bamboo that overtook the flowers. My grandmother was suffering from dementia and only seemed to notice that Dad had taken our statue of the Blessed Mother from the garden. He’d wrapped it in a Hefty bag and stored the statue in the basement.

Dad as a boy in the 1930's.
Dad as a boy in the 1930’s.

The statue didn’t survive the fire, not much did. Dad was at a restaurant when the blaze started. My grandmother had died a few years before and he was now living in the house alone. I was in my own home fixing dinner with the television on when I saw the Action News helicopter hovering above a burning building that looked oddly familiar. By the time I reached the house the firemen had been evacuated and were standing across the street with Dad smoking cigarettes. The fence melted, the tree was charred and only the brick walls and marble steps remained.

I thought of snapping a photo the next day when I went back to see the damage, but I knew I wouldn’t need a reminder, it was forever burned on my brain. As hard as I tried I couldn’t salvage the house, but I was able to rescue the rose bushes that now grow in my own yard.

Readers, where is your special place to take family photos?

16 Thoughts

  1. Not one particular place for pictures, at least after I stopped taking them at the end of the driveway on the first day of school. How fabulous you were able to rescue the rose bushes, Kim. Do you know what variety they are?

  2. We don’t have a special place to take pictures, but there are a lot in both our front and back yards when the boys were little. I seem to take more pictures of things rather than people lately. I think I’ll get some shots of the family when we’re all together this weekend.

    Kim, I love your stories. Maybe you’ve mentioned it before and I missed it, but have you ever thought of compiling them all into a book?

  3. Since we moved so much we don’t have one special place. But there are lots of pictures on different porches so we much be porch people.

  4. Kim, this reminds me of my own grandmother’s house, which now belongs to one of my cousins. They painted it, but take good care of it. Right in the front yard is the statue of the Blessed Mother, set up against an arched brick wall to keep the sun off her head.

    1. Ramona, so funny you mentioned the Blessed Mother. Originally my post was to be about her. One year there was a great commotion involving this statue. My Pop-Pop broke her while mowing the grass and Nana was hysterical. We were sent immediately to the Tommy Tucker’s to buy a new statue. They only had a blond Mary and Pop-Pop bought her knowing he would catch hell if he came home empty handed or with a blond Mary. There was no peace in our house until the next week when Nana was able to go out York Road to purchase a brunette Mary. She insisted it was only Mary if she was brunette! Too funny!

  5. Our stock photos are seasonal. The first day of school on the front walk. The Christmas photo at the top of the stairs. The photo of all the cousins at Easter.

    When I started scrapbooking, I realized no one in my family every took enough “B roll,” photos of houses, cars, school, etc. I have all these photos of friends of my grandparents standing in front of their car. I have no idea who the people are. It’s the old Dodge I want to remember.

  6. Even back when my mother was young (1930s) the special place to take family pictures was in front of your grandmother’s yard.

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