Friday, May 1, 2015

M'aidez !!

Look what turned up on the front door handle this May Day morning!
I suspect I know who left it -- her Mother hung a May Basket in the same spot maybe 40 years ago.  And my daughter may have had something to do with it also.
Was (is?) this just a New England custom?  When I was in grade school, back in Boston, we were each allowed to choose a single sheet of construction paper (this was during the Depression after all ) and make a May Basket to take home.  (Remember construction paper?)
In Louisa May Alcott's book Jack and Jill, a whole chapter is devoted to the girls in the village (certainly Concord), excited about making May baskets.  They find only a pitiful few early flowers -- if I remember right, the kindly grumpy old neighbor rescues them by sending over lots from his conservatory.
And when I taught at a college in Maine, in the 1940s, there was plenty of excitement about May Day.  With no garden flowers out yet (it was a late spring) students went into the woods and picked early-blooming snow trillium to hang on each others' doorknobs. We can only hope there wasn't any worry, back then, about endangered species -- and that they weren't breaking too many laws!


  1. Three May Day cheers for Amy!!

    And I'll celebrate by giving you a few lines from Jean Ritchie's lovely Appalachian May Day carol, handed down through some of her numerous sisters who went to the Pine Mountain Settlement School in Kentucky:

    I've been a-wand'ring all the night,
    And the best part of the day,
    And when I come back home again
    I will bring you a branch of May.

    A branch of May I will bring you, my love,
    Here at your door I stand;
    It's nothing but a sprout, but it's well budded out
    By the work of the Lord's own hand.

  2. Another tradition of May Day - We had several thousand people protesting on Commercial Drive (the Hipster part of town), and the cops shut down the party about 2 AM. Happy May Day! CMS