Bird of Paradise

Eleanor Brownn bird of paradise

My mother’s favorite flower was the bird-of-paradise. When she remodeled the house she had some planted in the front garden. I was about 10 years old. It would have been the early 1960’s. We lived in South Los Angeles.

Part of the remodel also involved changing our house paint from white with forest green trim to an exotic shade of deep pink with a taupe undertone and white trim. It was quite unusual for the neighborhood. In fact some people thought it was downright weird.

She got rid of the white picket fence and replaced it with a black cursive wrought-iron one. She converted some of the front windows to a new style (for the times) that had a slatted design and opened with a handle that allowed you to modify the amount of air that came in, similar to the way venetian blinds allow you to modify sunlight.

She was in her sixties, the age I am now. She and her husband had bought the house when she was in her fifties and adopted me at birth a few months later.

Whenever I see a bird-of-paradise, I think of my mother.

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