My mother was an identical twin. My mother was Mary Lavinia . . . sometimes Lynn, sometimes Lindy, sometimes Mary. My aunt to me was always Virginia. Lynn, Virginia, and my father all graduated from high school in Nevada, Missouri, in the same class. My dad, and my uncle Randall, another local Missouri boy, fought in World War II. and married their sweethearts. Randall and Virginia moved to the Tacoma area probably because Randall’s brother had already moved to Pierce County. When I was two years old my parents drove to Tacoma on their way to California to see Virginia and Randall and their baby girl Lavinia Lou, called Lindy. Once the sisters were re-united there was no continuing on to California.
Lindy and I were more like brother and sister than cousins. Her family lived in Tacoma, Sumner, and finally Puyallup. My family lived in Tacoma, Lakewood, and back to Tacoma. Lindy had brothers, but no sisters. I had sisters, but no brothers. My sisters came along when I was a teenager. Lindy’s brother Chuck, was four years her junior. Chuck was always a little wild, but sweet too. As children, Lindy and Chuck constantly butted heads.
I recently wrote an article about exceptional trees. My favorite tree as a youngster was a plum tree in our backyard at 2520 South Ferry in Tacoma. I would climb the tree and read comic books while sitting in it. If my next door neighbors David and Kathleen were around, I would climb out on one of the limbs, over the fence and drop down onto their picnic table. I loved that tree. It was sturdy and comfortable. We had a pear tree and two apple trees in our backyard, but they weren’t climbable like the plum tree was . . . besides I really liked the plums, and still do.
My mentioning the plum tree sparked a memory from Lindy. Her family moved to Sumner and then to Puyallup. They liked farm animals and growing things. Their place in Puyallup was ideal for them. There was room for a large garden and an orchard with an old berry picker shack on it. I remember we got milk, eggs, and vegetables from Aunt Virginia. The Whitworth property butted up against the Duris berry fields. In the 50s and 60s it seemed very rural. In those days there were many fruit and nut trees growing everywhere. My friends and I had a secret place under several filbert trees. I still love hazelnuts. My article on trees sparked a number of memories. Alex Dail wrote, “. . . it is hard to beat the smell of a pine during the summer time.” How true. Cousin Lindy, now called Lavinia, had a lovely memory to share.
“We had an old orchard/cow pasture on the Puyallup property off the River Road Highway. There was a plum tree very climbable by me and my younger brother Chuck. It also bore the fattest, juiciest plumbs – the size of tennis balls. Chuck and I fought a lot as kids. Mom would tell us that some day we would live far away from one another and that we’d long to see each other because we truly did love each other underneath the fighting.
Chuck and I would climb the plum tree and talk about what she said. We thought it improbable that we would ever miss each other, much less love each other. We’d eat a plum each, make a pact to get along better to make Mom happy. By the time we walked back to the house, we were inevitably fighting again. The plum tree was so well climbed by my brother and me, and probably siblings before us, that there were patches of bark worn smooth as mahogany from climbers.”
Lavinia now believes that perhaps her mom was projecting memories from her own childhood and her relationship with her younger brother, James.
You might enjoy this family article with photographs – thesubtimes.com/2017/12/21/the-true-story-of-lindy-lou/
Lavinia now lives in Detroit and Chuck lives in Cottonwood, Arizona. Lavinia is transitioning back to the Tacoma area. Both are returning for a few days visit at the end of the April. Lindy will stay with us (my wife Peggy and I) and Chuck will stay with my youngest sister, Deedee. We all remain close. There will be laughter and a few tears with this visit . . . and perhaps a plum or two to share.