Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson here, for a change NOT writing about the newly released Crime&Punctuation. Go to my last few posts if you want to know about the new “Deadly Edits” series now that the first book is in stores. No, today’s topic is about the one “sign of spring” I look for every year, one that makes me very nervous if it’s late in appearing.
What am I blathering on about? Forget-me-nots, of course.
I’m not entirely sure where my attachment to these little blue flowers comes from, but it seems to go back at least two generations in my family. When I was nine and asking everyone I knew, family and friends alike, to sign my autograph book, my grandmother, Katie Hornbeck Coburg, wrote the following verse:
She died unexpectedly twenty-six days later. That was the first time I ever lost someone close to me.
My mother’s good china, the subject of another post here at Maine Crime Writers, also reflected a fondness for forget-me-nots. They are on every piece of the hand-painted set she treasured.
Forget-me-nots always grew in her gardens, too, and when I wanted some in my bridal bouquet, and they were not yet flowering in Maine by the tenth of May, she dug some up and hand-carried them north from New York State to give to the florist.They’re hard to see in this photo, but they’re there.
Some of Mom’s forget-me-nots still come up every year at my house, although I did not inherit her green thumb and have killed off every other flower I’ve planted. That’s where the nervousness comes in. The forget-me-nots have flourished, year after year since 1976, when we first bought this place. The photo at the top was a particularly pretty crop. I use this picture on my Facebook page.
These last few winters, however, have been . . . odd. Last spring and again this year, I despaired of seeing a single bloom. Last year only a few eventually appeared. This year was even more of a nail-biter. It wasn’t until the seventeenth of May that a couple of scraggly-looking forget-me-nots popped up in the tall grass next to the day lilies. A week later a few more bloomed between the two big trees in our front yard and I could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
I’m not sure what I think will happen if a spring comes and the forget-me-nots don’t. It isn’t likely the world will end, but it will be a sad, sad day at the Emerson house . . . and a good time to reread the other piece of advice my grandmother wrote in my autograph book.
Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett is the author of more than fifty-five traditionally published books written under several names. She won the Agatha Award and was an Anthony and Macavity finalist for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category. She was the Malice Domestic Guest of Honor in 2014. Currently she writes the contemporary Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries and the “Deadly Edits” series (Crime & Punctuation—2018) as Kaitlyn and the historical Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries (Murder in a Cornish Alehouse) as Kathy. The latter series is a spin-off from her earlier “Face Down” mysteries and is set in Elizabethan England. Her most recent collection of short stories is Different Times, Different Crimes. Her websites are www.KaitlynDunnett.com and www.KathyLynnEmerson.com and she maintains a website about women who lived in England between 1485 and 1603 at A Who’s Who of Tudor Women.