Friday, March 21, 2014

My lifelong love and obsession

My first memory of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC was at age 6.  Mom and Dad packed up the Oldsmobile, my brother and I for a weekend road trip down to Washington DC. It was then my lifelong love and obsession for the blossoms began. Ever since, each and every year my appreciation grows stronger. Mid March I start checking projected peak dates on to plan out our annual pilgrimage to witness the trees ephemeral beauty. Perhaps it is because of their fleeting beauty my appreciation has become more precious. 

In this post I will take you on a mental journey to DC, then to ponder my poetry about an elderly couple reminiscing on their 50th anniversary of the date they met during the cherry blossom festival of 1963. Then back again to our row home for a blossom ballet and I'll leave you with a gift of beauty.

2014 is the 102nd anniversary of the city of Tokyo, Japan's gift. Tokyo gave DC and the US citizens as a gesture of friendship 3,020 Cherry Blossom trees. First Lady Taft and the Viscountess Chinda the wife of the Japanese Ambassador planted the first two trees in 1912 on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin. Still standing today - near the John Paul Jones statue. There are over 3,700 Yoshino cherry blossoms just along the Tidal Basin. The flowers range from white to pink and peak season is considered at 70% bloom.

Last year with friends after a delightful Saturday meal we drove into the Tidal Basin. It was during the festival - but because of Mother Nature's cold days not yet peak, it would take another 30 hours before the blossoms opened up beautifully. But to John and I being with close friends walking around the monuments and taking in the fireworks display over the Potomac river it was an enchanting memorable evening even with the blossoms only at 60%.

No doubt about it, John and I are Francophiles and we try our best to annually go down to DC and spend the weekend with dear car friends in our vintage DS. We own a 1972 Citroën DS Pallas that we painstakingly restored and it has now become familiar with DC and Bethesda MD. This photo was taken by John under peak blossoms in Bethesda MD on a Sunday drive through the Kenwood section with friends. Our tour guide is mon amie Judy. Our car is painted a nuanced original Citroën color that throughout the day and night changes. Daylight it appears Taupe and come evening it is it's true color of Grey. The DS when designed was referred to as "the Goddess" both John and I agree the dubbed name fits his personality. We named the DS Jean Claude. We purchased it 20 years ago from a retired secret service intelligence agent serving under the Reagan presidency who lived just outside DC in Chevy Chase, Maryland. 

Kenwood section of Maryland has very mature (some of the oldest cherry blossom trees). The entire area has gorgeous houses and beckons us with a long Sunday Drive with amazing photo opportunities. 

 This is a 2CV that's owned by our tour guide Judy. Her chosen profession is a nurse but her knowledge of all things French (she lived in Provence for many years) and love of gardening delights us all. She annually takes us through a tour of the best blossoms in Bethesda. In case you are wondering the Deux Chevaux ( means two horsepower, as in the French tax code) most affectionally called the 2CV. Introduced in 1948 at the Paris auto show.

Madam Judy also owns this adorable Citroën Truckette. A derivative of the 2CV. During our Sunday drive we always become part of a question and answering visitation of other peoples blossoms tour. It is a hardworking hauler and under 150 are in our country today. Trust me you don't own a Citroën without sparking curiosity and a whole lot of questions!

This painted signage appears on Judy's side of her adorable Truckette. Brought over from France and now lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. 

Below is my poetry ... 

April of '63

It was 50 years ago, on this very date we met and instantly fell in love in this enchanting place.
So today we celebrate our anniversary with cherished memories that time can not erase.

Right here, right on this very bench in West Potomac Park, in the season of Spring,
when our eyes first met, I thought perhaps only a fling our acquaintance might bring.

The nations capital on that day was visually a blurred ephemeral canopy of pink.
Blossoms rained down as you sat next to me and smiled and gave a flirtatious wink.

Whimsically in a sea of people from all over the world, it seemed like only you and me.
Leisurely sharing stories and passion right under this romantic pink cherry blossom tree.

Just a chance meeting ... serendipity during the Cherry Blossom Festival in April of 1963
and surprisingly we became passionate lovers on that day, here in Washington, DC.

Our hearts intrinsically united together, right under this old magnificent tree.
When you are young and free spirited it's easier, you'd probably agree.

Without any expectations of tomorrow, a true love one quickly discovers.
Funny that day in '63 who knew we would become lifelong lovers.

Today it's our anniversary and we are enjoying our stroll down memory lane,
commemorating 50 years of living together, deeply in love we joyfully proclaim.

© Vera

You might remember my very first blog post, Holiday Wintertime Ballet. Every season I stage a production with Violet, a mouse who inhabited a centuries old abandoned French Opera/Ballet theater of decay. The theater was created by mon amie and very talented artist Doré Callaway of Burlap Luxe. The theatre sits on our credenza in the dining room.

Our Spring Cherry Blossom ballet finds sweet Violet frazzled and emotionally drained a few days before opening night. So much to design and create for the set design, so little time. With Violet's love of the blossom trees she wants everything pink and beautiful.

Suddenly a Bunny appears on the stage. As Violet lets out a eww! Violet has never been up close and personal with a bunny before. Plus a bunny in a tutu!!! She turns her back in protest and jealously.  Thump, thump, thump what is that annoying sound, as Violet spins around. 

Bunny who seems nervous announces herself. My name is Cherise which is French for cherry and I'd like to dance in the blossom ballet. Showing Violet her dance by frolicking with sideways kicks and mid-air leaps. Out sweet Violet was impressed. When Cherise name-dropped Violet's favorite tutu and ballet slipper designer's name all attention was on the bunny. Awwwwww ...  you know Penny White? She only creates for the best ballerina's! She is all I wear. Then when Cherise volunteered her artistic talent to craft cherry blossom trees for the stage Violet was thrilled.

Violet and Cherise shared stories as they worked into the wee hours of the night.
Laughing and decorating while having such fun, Violet had finally met her BFF.

Violet climbed the ladder to string the cherry blossom garland as Cherise worked on the trees.

Opening night their performance was flawless. The audience was jubilant ...

As Violet and Cherise were each given a white rose bouquet with pink edges. BRAVO, BRAVO the packed audience shouted.

Then a homemade pink three tiered cake was presented to Violet and Cherise to enjoy with cast and crew. It was lovingly baked by Anita Rivera a patron of the arts.

Wonderful Penny White from Angelsdoor blog custom created Cherise for me to join this production. Penny truly creates magic by transforming wool into needle felted spellbinding objects and adorable animals.  Violet was also created by Penny. 

Photo of the tag that came with Anita's handmade gift of friendship to me. Anita's poetic and beautiful blog is named Castles Crowns and Cottages. Anita, thank you for your friendship and kindness that comes from your playful heart. 

A gift of beauty ... A print of a cherry blossom tree watercolor titled "Beauty". Mon amie Kerrie Sanderson from the blog Sea Cottage gifted me with. Recently I purchased a rain painting from her Sea Washed etsy store and this print was included in the box as a gift. John cut the grey matte with a charcoal core and we purchased a Ribba frame from IKEA for it. Stunning print.

The serene and ethereal Rain painting by Kerrie will be seen soon when I post on our upstairs bathroom. A visit to Kerrie's Sea Cottage always embraces me with a peaceful feeling, thank you Kerrie for giving and sharing from your gentle sea maiden heart.

A photo to show where "Beauty" is hung in our Dining room. In the months I have been blogging I have met the most amazing bloggers and I am graced by their friendship and kindness. I ventured into blogging feeling fragile dealing with sudden loss and what I quickly discovered was the warmth, sincerity and kindness of others. 

Join me in two weeks when I share another photo essay and poetry.

Photo sources: 1,2 and 8 google images
Photo's 3,4,5,6,7 hubby John

Photo's 9-18 by me, Vera


  1. I have savored every moment of your tour in the cherry blossom lined streets of Maryland. Then I was transported to a park bench back in '63, when I was only five years old. Those two lovers could have been my was lovely to get a feel for how nature could effect the lives of others who do watch and are moved by the fleeting beauty.

    Then, the show begins. Rivals become friends through a mutual interest and passion. Vera, where can begin to say how much your heart beats at the same tempo of mine? Of Penny's? Of our dear Violet Skiles, The Dutchess, Irina, and many more dear bloggers? Doré's theatre is fabulous, Penny's work, well what can we say but that she is genius, and then to see the little cake adorable are the dancers with their bouquets. This has been a perfect way for me to spend my Friday night, going into the weekend with a smile.


  2. WOW!! I ditto Anita...her comments truly capture your amazing talent and creativity and delightful post! It is such a treat for us to be invited into your world of poetry and theatre.
    The cherry blossoms in Kenwood are truly breathtaking.
    Mary Alice

  3. This post is amazing! Beautiful photos of blossoms and cars, a romantic poem written from your heart, and a delightful production from Violet and Cherise...(and even more!)
    I so enjoyed it all! :)

  4. What a delight this was Vera. The Cherry Blossom trees are simply breathtaking! I see now why these magnificent trees have a special place in your heart.. I just love your poetry, and this one is so special... Just beautiful, Vera..
    The Theatre.. First, what a delightful story to accompany the photos... What a delight!
    Dear Dore creates magical Theatre's, and you have decorated it so beautifully... Then there is dear Anita, a multi talented woman, I love that cake! To see this beautiful print that was so generously gifted to you from Kerri.
    The world is full of kind and gentle souls.. I am blessed to have met you.
    I am humbled and honored by your kind words. Bless you!
    Beautiful post Vera... BRAVO!!!!

  5. Too many wonderful things to comment upon . . . love Jean Claude - never knew what deux chevaux meant . . . love the history of the cherry blossoms and the photos of the beauty . . . love Violet and Cherise . . . love the photo of them taking a bow with their bouquets . . . love your creativity . . . I could go on and on . . . WONDERFUL my friend.

  6. Oh Vera, where do I start ?
    Love the cherry blossom trees and have always loved the history in how we were gifted the trees of PEACE !
    Your vintage beauty is in perfect com and I love it's colour combination as to its paint finish. I so knew exactly what one would be a choice to my liking and its madam Judy's Citroën Truckette, I could see my logo painted on its sides offering French designs with all the French brocante pieces I could re- image.

    The spring production is as grand as could be, how penny's fingers felt her beauty and how Madam Vera set the stage of beauty with a performance that all who attend leave with a heart fill with the love of spring.
    Your dinning room walls delight, and loving sweet Kerrie's heart in giving, she is a doll and so happy you have made a connection with her, she is everyone's dear friend.

    Oh, Vera how my heart wishes it lived on your street as one of your neighbors so I could walk over knock on your door and visit your beauty, sigh!
    I am so looking forward to more or what's to come, I am in an awful mess here, a small cottage is not the place to pile things up from room to room and work around my flooring, I am waiting on contractors to get busy and fit me back in the schedule and while I wait Hannah and I clean up only to make a new mess tearing out the old, patching and piling up new stuff, will be glad when this is all done.

    See you soon beautiful.
    Lots of love your way.



  7. I don't know where to begin because every piece of this post is breathtaking. Those Cherry Blossoms are special to me as well. When I was about ten years young, I played First Lady Taft in a school play. I carried a basket of small pink flowers. Makes me smile to this day. Can you imagine wallpaper with those blossoms on it? Years ago I bought a blouse that looked like them, and a man I worked with said all I needed was a watering can. : )
    Your poem is nothing short of lovely. It is one of those pieces of art that should be framed and proudly displayed on a wall for all to read and enjoy.
    I also think very highly of Anita. Her artistic greeting cards are dear to my heart, and I think of her with a smile whenever I write in one.
    Your Violet and Cherise are so beautiful. I will return to this post again to find even more details in the production stage. My inner pink girl came out to play with them; they are so so delightful. Thank you for making me smile.
    Your DS looks like the one my g/f and her husband just bought in January. They live in CA, and he is thrilled with the purchase. It needs a lot of work but Angel will enjoy the journey. It's color is pearl white - so so cute! Is Jean Claude a manual transmission? I love it, and my husband would love that its prior owner was a SS full of mystery and history.
    Thank you Vera for all that you share. I am so glad that I met you here in blog land.

  8. Love the story of the gifted Cherry Blossom Trees and the stunning pictures. The poem is beautiful and little Violet and Cherise are adorable. This made me smile.
    Thanks for sharing your special gifted words and photos. This is always so enjoyable. Thank you my friend.

  9. Vera,

    This is such a beautiful post to begin Spring with. Thank you for sharing the history of the Cherry Blossom trees coming to America. I so love to learn. I have always wanted to see them in person. I can imagine their breathtaking beauty. What cherished moments you have had under the cherry blossoms.

    Your Citroen(I do not know how to put the dots above the e) is absolutely stunning. Oh my, what a treasure. I love everything about it...the shape, color, style, and vintage value. My husband loves it too! What a romantic car to take drives in. You and John must look dashing in it.

    Your poem is so romantic and reminds me of how treasured falling and being in love is. Your words are just beautiful Vera.

    And then the delightful!!! You bring to life the joy of a theatrical performance. I love how you have the stage set and decorated with the flowers surrounding and then the BIG pink cake!!! Oh Anita creates such magic! So many talented friends have contributed. I do not know Penny but just her bunny is adorable. We have always loved the name Cherish (Cherry for short) and had it on our 'girls' name list but now it is on our 'pets' name list!. So I love the
    name Cherise.

    Thank you for your kind words Vera about the Cherry Blossom print and Rain painting. I am so grateful they found a home with you. You have become a friend so fast that I can only understand it as fate. I am thankful to know you. You are a kindred soul. I don't know if you know that I left a reply comment on my blog on the Lenten Meditation post. Your words meant so much to me. I look forward to you April post. xxo

    Spring tidings,

  10. What beautiful words you have written - such a wonderful talent. I am the biggest fan of cherry trees and nothing is more spectacular than Washington,DC in all of its glory. Love the dancers with their bouquets - adorable!

  11. Cherry blossoms will be later than usual this year ... as will most everything in the garden, I imagine.

    Your car reminds me of my Army Brat upbringing in Italy and Germany. I always picture a 2CV with a family of large duck stickers on the back of it, just like we used to see them.

  12. Oh Vera....those blossoms are just amazing! And look at all that green grass! Such a sight for winter-weary eyes. lol Your posts are always so informative and entertaining. I find myself swept up in the fairy tale magic that you weave. You are such a treasure! :)

    xoxo laurie

  13. What a beautiful post and blog dear Vera! You captivated me with your words in your poetry.
    I came from Junk Chic Cottage to thank you for your lovely comment to me. I appreciate your words so much.
    Thank you for enchanting me today with your Cherry Blossom Festival post!

  14. Such an incredible post, Vera. Tons of beauty, in words, and pictures. You are a true poet.

  15. Dear Vera - What a lovey post!!! So enjoyed seeing all the contributions from our blog friends like Anita, Dore, etc. And how lovely to see the cherry blossoms - I live very near Kenwood, MD and of course the Tidal Basin in DC. I can't wait to enjoy the cherry blossoms this year. It's been a long winter!! Cheers, Loi

  16. It is very beautiful post.
    Cherry blossoms are incredibly beautiful! It takes incredible luck ... while catching the cherries in peak blossom ...
    This was so enjoyable to read and look on the photos.

    Enjoy your week!

  17. I so enjoyed this sweet post! My kids were just in DC last week and a tad early for the blossoms! AND...I love love your little car!!!

  18. Good evening Vera,
    Thank you so much for wandering over for a visit.. I am happy that you enjoyed the squirrel and the painting..

    I just can't get over how you have displayed everyone and everything on stage... I just love the little story of Cherise and Violet. They had such a good time decorating. Best friends forever....
    Enjoy your week,

  19. Good morning dear friend,

    I just wanted to come by to see how the dancers are the show still going strong? Are they booked for yet another gala event? I hope they enjoyed their cherry cake, as it was made with love.

    Just wanted to pop by to enjoy the glorious cherry blossoms my friend. Winter still has its grip on us! Love, Anita

  20. Do mice have groupies? I'm in! LOL!
    Love everything about this...



  21. Your post is delightful!
    Thank you for your comment on the post at Kris' blog for the Saturday Spotlight Feature. You blessed me.

  22. Oh the joy of seeing the ballet here at Row Homes Theatre Productions again! VERA! HELLO! I was out today for errands and I saw a gorgeous harlequin painted table and thought of YOU, of us! How that pattern speaks to me!

    I thank you my dear friend, for coming to visit today. My whole family was swept away from this disease, but you are correct; love never, ever dies. It goes on for eternity. Much love to YOU today!

  23. yes the cherry blossoms are such a fun time here in DC although it can get a little crowded and stressful -it's our main tourist season!

  24. Vera!!!!!
    How fun to have found another woman who loves wonder, whimsy and PLAY!
    I adore your mouse created by Penny (with my name, tee-heeeee!)
    and I see you have one of Anita's fabulous cakes, as do I.

    ~ Violet