April 9, 2018
By Arthur H. Gunther III
Spring has not yet sprung in this part of the Northeast, a bit north geographically of New York City but with a history and flavor set distinctly apart. There may be daffodils in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, especially in the wonderful Botanical Gardens, but they do not compare to those once grown in the Burns greenhouses off Second Avenue, Spring Valley.
That was a long time ago, so many springs past but even a long winter of discontent, of snow and cold, cannot remove the scent of its moment.
Schoolchildren in that area back in the day attended either the North Main Street School or St. Joseph’s parochial. I was at the former, and come spring the walk home was sometimes changed from a straight run up Main to Hillcrest to a longer, leisurely hike up Ewing Avenue then down toward Pascack Road. This took me to the back of Slinn Avenue and the woods there, filled in early spring with daffodils, presumably from the large commercial Burns holdings.
By my time, so much of that was gone, and the “Hill” area of Spring Valley in Rockland County, N.Y., was soon to see explosive housing growth, part of the post-World War II boom. My moment with the daffodils was just two short seasons.
Appropriate, actually, as I was growing up and soon any flowers for a mom would naturally move to flowers for a girl or two.
Yet in those two spring moments, with the beautiful emergence of seasonal renewal tempting enough to take a longer walk home, a few daffodils were picked and given to a mother who truly deserved so much more.
The writer is a retired newspaperman. firstname.lastname@example.org