Purple Passages with a Pop of Pink, March 2015 edition


“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?

“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine . . .  ~  Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden

Tulip magnolia tree in our neighborhood just about to bloom in Florida, early February
Tulip magnolia tree in our neighborhood just about to hit full bloom in Florida, early February   ~  Sunshine, no rain in sight

[in Just-] a poem by e. e. cummings, (his name usually shown in lower case letters) who is known for odd spacing and made-up words like “mud-luscious” and “puddle-wonderful” so evocative of the squooshiness that follows the winter thaw. This British poet clumped together some of the names and other words he uses, just like mud on your shoes in springtime. Remember all that? Here are the first nine lines.

spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee

and eddieandbill come

running from marbles and

piracies and it’s

when the world is puddle-wonderful



The only thing that keeps a man going is energy. And what is energy but liking life?   Louis Auchincloss, A World of Profit


C.S. Lewis wrote, “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”


The wee Longenecker girls wore mittens because it was cold in Pennsylvania until near the end of March. These are the mittens I remember my sisters Janice wearing. Jean probably inherited them when her hands grew big enough. Somehow I recall a string of woven yarn attaching the mittens under the coat so the little girls wouldn’t lose their mittens. Mittens actually do keep little hands warmer than gloves would – body heat from all four fingers and thumb is trapped inside the glove just like this. . .


. . . which reminds me of the Mother Goose nursery rhyme about the Three Little Kittens. You can probably hear the sing-song sound of the phrases as you read this tale.


In the verses which follow, the kittens put on their mittens, then get them dirty, are scolded by their mother, inducing them to wash their mittens, even hanging them out to dry. In the final verse, Mother Cat compliments her kitties while teaching them a lesson in scavenging for their dinner:

“What, washed your mittens, then you’re good kittens,
But I smell a rat close by.”
“Meow, meow, meow,
We smell a rat close by.”

Your turn! This is a free-for-all post. Add your thoughts or quotes on spring, energy, miracles, mittens – or something else.
Coming next: Grandmother Kayaks Solo from Maine to Guatemala. Why?

34 thoughts on “Purple Passages with a Pop of Pink, March 2015 edition

  1. Good morning, Marian! I saw that same quotation from The Secret Garden somewhere else this week. Earlier this week, I was thrilled to see to see crocuses blooming in our yard; yesterday we had snow! We got several inches on the grass, and it’s still there now, but it should all melt today. Enjoy your sunshine. It’s still going to be weeks before we have trees blooming with spring flowers.


    1. My sister who lives about 90 miles west of Philadelphia reported fat flakes coming down yesterday – she thought it would accumulate about 6 inches. Probably that is your last snow for the season though. I remember living there years ago there would be a thick, wet snow in mid-March, and then it would all go away. There are narcissus and tulips waiting to burst forth, I just know it! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. oh beauteous magnolia
    joy to our eye
    my soul do you sooth
    and maketh all smooth
    and I am left with a sigh
    o my

    Thank you Marian for delightful post! Happy Equinox day and enjoy the beginnings of Spring!


  3. I love the Three Little Kittens Song. We wore hand knitted mittens just like yours. We also often lost them like the little kittens. I remember getting mine very dirty on the train to visit Grandma and Grandpa once. Mom was not pleased but the trains still ran on coal at that time so there was a lot of coal dust.


    1. As a lover and writer of children’s books, this song would certainly resonate with you, especially if how have real-life memories that match the kittens song. Thank you, Darlene!


  4. Beautiful quote from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden.” It sumps up Spring beautifully. Marian, I also wore mittens with a long string attached. I guess I lost one too many for my Mom’s liking. 😉


    1. Ha! When I found these mittens last fall, I was shocked there was no string attached because as the older sister I remember there being a string for safe-keeping. I’m glad you are verifying that I wasn’t making this up. Thanks, Judy.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My granddaughter and I sing the three little mittens song while we are in the car. Our version has meow, meow at the end of each line. That is her part.


  6. Do you mean that adorable little doll I see on your Facebook page is singing now!

    I remember when your having a grand-daughter was just a wish. Now look! 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Sue!


  7. e. e. cummings was everyone’s favorite at my high school and no one could figure out how he could get away with the punctuation etc. that he did. And thus we all began just doing whatever style and punctuation we felt like! But somehow that didn’t go over. 🙂 Fun stuff.

    Mudlucious reminds me of our Vermont friend John Churchman whose photo of Vermont mud in spring was the cover of Vermont Magazine or some such. His forthcoming children’s book is building buzz and So. Much. Fun. If I may be permitted a small shout out: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sweet-Pea-Friends/1604611683095783


  8. Melodie, I just checked out John Churchman’s FB page and have fallen in love with Sweetpea – saw the video too. You can always share here. Thanks for the shout out and for visiting here often!


  9. THE SECRET GARDEN is my all-time favorite book. I have a paperback and a hardcover version of it. I also have 2 versions of the movie.

    Spring has not arrived here yet, though we had unusually light snow fall this year. Right now the grass is bare and the only snow is the 5 foot piles left in parking lots of the 25 ft high piles that were there earlier. Our crocus usually comes up through the snow. I think we need more snow yet and am not interested in a too early spring.


    1. Really, Athanasia – more snow? Most people are hoping for spring. I like the snuggly feelings of winter too; it would make everything quiet and peaceful. But that’s not going to happen in Florida.


      1. Marian, my worry of not enough snow is that we don’t get the ground water replenished…low well, low ponds, low rivers and lakes etc.


  10. Love your post I remember the kittens losing their mittens. Yes sping is coming. We spent the day downtown at the Navy Pier. Great weather up until to now here but we’re getting snow on Monday. I know many are frustrated. Not me, I love cold and snow. Give me gray skies and rain with thunder and I’m in my glory. I know I’m in a world of my own. This year though I’m looking for giftware for spring only because I have a lot of work inside and outside before Imani’s Quincenera. I want my walk and deck full of flowers. Your magnolia tree is beautiful. I usually give that tree as a housewarming gift if they have room to plant it. I love giving trees or bushes because they always remember you when they enjoy the view. So yes I look forward to the spring. Miss the cherry blossoms in D.C.


    1. I think you like weather that has a lot of noise and fanfare, Gloria – dramatic! Your idea of tree planting for special events is carried on in our family too to some extent. When my Grandma Longenecker died, the great-grandchlildren planted an oak tree in her honor. It’s very large and tall now, a great reminder of her towering spirit. She died in April of 1980, so the tree is over 35 years old now.

      Your comments here are being to form a family history – way to go, Gloria.


  11. It has to be –
    Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day
    Thou art more lovely and more temperate
    Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May
    And summer lease hath all too short a date ( hope I have this right off the top of my head.)

    We used to live about an hour from Stratford and we would go regularly to see Shakespeare performed by top actors …so lucky.
    Do you have ‘Darling buds of May ‘ in your country ? I imagine you do. Every year it can be found somewhere on TV.


    1. Shakespeare’s sonnets are part of the syllabus when I taught British Literature what seems to be years and years ago. I will have to check on the “Darling Buds of May” as a TV show. As you know, from the success of “Downton Abbey,” English TV shows are very popular here.


  12. Sorry Marian there are ‘mad March moments ‘ here ( I blame the eclipse) I posted before I’d finished . Just to sign off the above .


    1. Thanks for giving us another title – “Mad March Moments.” Does it have anything to do with the March Hatter in Alice in Wonder Land, I wonder. Thanks for adding two title to follow up on, Cherry.


  13. Marian — You’ve touched on some of my favorites in this post. THE SECRET GARDEN is one of my all-time childhood favorites. And C.S. LEWIS is one of my story-telling heroes!

    As to mittens… the closest I come these days are the leather, fingerless gloves with padded palms I wear every time I ride my bicycle (which is multiple times per week).

    I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!


    1. Yes, I am, Laurie.

      I’m glad the quotes matched your mood and tastes. There are so many sides to C. S. Lewis, who knows better than most writers how to blend the fanciful and the spiritual. I can picture those fingerless mitts you wear as a biker. No quite mittens, but protective nonetheless. 😉


  14. I listened to that nursery rhyme on You Tube a few times today with my grandsons today …precious memories and activities even though I found some aching muscles .

    The mittens with strings I do remember living in Germany as a little girl. I didn’t like the restriction or drag that they caused…I must have been a sensitive little soul.

    Love the magnolia tree in bloom against the vivid blue sky…..there’s something very special about the magnolia flower.

    Yay to those of you who are finally seeing Spring after a long and cold Winter!

    Alexa-asimplelife visiting from Sydney, Australia


    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment about many facets of this post, Alexa. You may be a sensitive soul, but you are also caring and conscientious. You help make Australia some like a not-so-far-away place. Thanks again!


    1. Here’s a promise, Deb: “The winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come.” Song of Solomon 2:11,12 I pray sooner than later – ha! 😉


  15. Snow in western NY state today and 12 degrees forecast for tonight. I’m still wearing my mittens and insulated boots. It’s hard to believe in spring, but the finches are back. When I see the bluebird boys, I’ll know we’ve arrived.


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