Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Memorial Day to Remember...

This is a story about a bush.

See the happy children playing in the said bush?

See the sad faces of the children, who mourn for their lost sanctuary.

Their oasis of wonder and enchantment now reduced to this:

For some ungodly reason, there were neighbors in my condo community who disapproved of my daughter and friends playing in "the bush" as the kids called it.

So, those of the "children- should- be- seen- and- not- heard" ilk slyly ordered that the lush, 30 year old bush be removed.
A neighbor whose house borders the communal property (the "grassy area") complained to my daughter's friend's mother (named Kristin) that "she had very sick people living with her." As if the sound of laughter would bother someone who is ill.

Rumors circulated that some neighbors worried that they would "break the bush," or "hurt themselves." If the anti-bush neighbors were so concerned, well, they never addressed their concerns to me or to Kristin. The neighbor caring for sick people even went so far as to show pictures she had taken of Kristin's son PLAYING [gasp] BALL! He was catching a baseball with his friend in the STREET! NO! Imagine...the nerve of them!!!

My daughter was quite upset by this sudden loss, to say the least, and so was I (and still am).

She wrote this letter and taped it on everyone's front door in our complex:

May 21,2007

Dear People of this Block,
I’m guessing many of you have noticed a big bush has been cut down. I’m also guessing some of you have noticed kids were always playing in that bush. I was one of those kids.
If you were a person who agreed that the bush should be cut down, you should have looked at it from my point of view. I went in the bush almost every day for five years. When it got torn down those five years of my life got torn out. So much happened in the bush. My friends and I found a nest. We saw the eggs hatch. Now the nest is gone and so is the bush, but we’ll always remember them.

Anjoli (your neighbor who played in the bush).

One kind neighbor named Marian came by the next morning to voice her concern. She let me know that she was horrified that the bush had been removed. She complimented Anjoli on her letter.

For about a week we stewed in our anger. I was so upset, and I started to get very depressed.
I don't remember who had the idea, but one thing led to another and the kids and I decided that we would buy a small bush and build a Memorial Garden for The Bush.
Et voila:

In shiny pebbles, they spelled: "RIP BUSH" under a heart shaped garden.

"If we are to teach real peace in this world...we shall have to begin with children; and if they grow up in their own innocence, we won't have to struggle; we won't have to pass fruitless, idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of world are covered in peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the world is hungering."~Mahatma Gandhi


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! you're pro-bush!

I kid I kid. Seriously, I love the fact you Anjoli found a creative, non-harmful way to voice your anger and to make the neighborhood a better place.

Growing up i had my next door neighboor's tree. Everyday after school I'd climb up the tree and sit for hours with a book. The day it was cut down (diease rather than spite) I cried.


Elizabeth said...

Dear Anjoli and friends,

This post made me teary-eyed.

I'm so sorry you lost your bush. I was just thinking yesterday, that there are people in the world who enjoy cutting down trees. And there are people who feel uncomfortable when children have fun. Strange but true.

My daddy recently replaced a long strip of grapevines at his house with. . . .rocks. I was very upset. The grapevines had grapes, and we used to gather leaves to make stuffed grape leaves, a delicious food! And of course the vines were beautiful.

I'm so glad that you had the courage to write the letter; create a memorial; and beautify the space where the bush once grew. It's especially fantastic that you replaced it. Younger children have you to thank for that.

I really admire you and your friends. Have a good and fun summer!

Love, Elizabeth (Solaka)

lryicsgrl said...

nkuOh Sue,
This made me so sad for Anjoli and her friends.
I don't understand your neighbors. Did they think they were moving into a retirement community? How dare they, without a vote (do you have a Condo Association?) take down a bush, a tree or even a freaking fig leaf!!!!
You will be away for quite some time, but I think your friends and neighbors, who are parents of young kids, should become proactive in the communtity, if they can!

Bravo for Anjoli....she is so bright and articulate...erm, where did she get that from..(WINK)

Anjoli....I wish for you to see many more trees and bushes live happy and LONG lives, surrounded by children who love them!!!!


lryicsgrl said...

OH my...that was where my first word vert. went...ROTFL

lryicsgrl said...

duh, can I spell....see, I am so agitated by this!!!!

Elizabeth said...

I need to post another comment too. In solidarity with my dear lyricsgirl.
I was just getting goosebumps. I'm actually really inspired by this story.
People can take away bushes and trees, but there are some things they just can't take away, like resolve and fun and hope and doing what's right.
I love that.
(Ms. Solaka)

BlackVelvetLace said...

Oh Swho,

The people who did this to the bush surely are very sick people themselves. And did it not occur to others that *children breaking the bush* was *nothing* compared to *RIPPING IT OUT OF THE GROUND*?!?!?

Do they all not know that sanctuaries like *the bush* are enchanted places? Where memories are built, friendships grow mightly and children's imaginations flourish?

Very sick people indeed.

I love the tribute to the bush. May it grow to a mighty tree for the next generation of children to climb it's branches!


Grace said...

aww, what a bummer. They were against the wrong bush!! Why do people like so much bare land? It is a shame to cut out something that has been there for 30 years. I like their new planting.


Ranceman said...

Great effort by your daughter, Anjoli to point out their incompetence. Hope they don't take away her beautiful creation. You must be a proud Mother! Well done, Anjoli!

Suesjoy said...

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments and support!

So here's an update:
it seems like a real community effort is little boy donated a cactus, and Anju's buddy here has an aunt who works for Home Depot and can get a good discount on HER family is donating a bunch of bushes and flowers.

Cool, huh?

JLee said...

oh, they look so sad! :(
I think you had a good idea though. Just wanted to stop by and say hi!

pictures of lily said...

WOW, Good for Anjoli, just like her Mama!!
You have taught her great values and to be a confident little girl, who believes in nature and fun.
What a touching post Ms. sue!!
I know I owe you an email.. just oil is dripping from me 'air!!
and everything sounds fun btw!!

Lannio said...

What a wonderful and heartfelt story. You must be very proud of your young girl. It's always nice to hear good coming from bad and often misunderstood situations.

Anne-Marie said...

Dear Sue,
You're raising a wonderful little girl. I'm glad the situation is getting rectified.


Amanda and SuperAmanda said...

This is so stunning.

"If you cut down a tree you kill a hundred lives."

I remember when they gentrified the park across the street from my house when I was your daughter's age and it was awful. I tried to start a petition to bring back the swings and an older kid tore it up!

Your post is just beautiful!
happy summer,

Gary said...

A bird in the hand is worth two in the....


the condo nazis where I used to live cemented in a neighborhood sandbox because children would play there and make noise. condo nazis are usually old women who are "over" the whole child thing.

It's too bad, but what a fantastic letter that was.

Be well.

Suesjoy said...

Thank you ladies!!! Your support helps! I am still grieving, I swear.
I burst into tears when I saw them removing it, but honestly it was for selfish reasons! (well, sorta! oh NO- my daughter's playground...the first thing that ran through my brain was "now she will want to play on Club Penguin on our computer ALL DAY LONG!!!"). nah, besides that, it was simply devastating! What a waste.

Oh I believe it of my "anti-bush" (lower case 'b') wanted to pave the "grassy area" where the bush lived to make more parking spaces.

YOU KNOW I would seranade that LOSER with a little Joni Mitchell if he DARED to mention such an idiotic idea to the Board....actually he already did...

And these elderly effers...were they ever children? did they bring any into this world?

It frightens me, the mentality that would lead people to do this.

One of the board members even LIED to the kids - Anjoli and her friends heard rumors that the bush may be removed, so, the day before the bush was destroyed, she asked this woman if it was true and the lady LIED and said, "Oh NO - we would NEVER do something like THAT."

I told Anjoli you must counteract ugliness with love and beauty.

Our peace garden is still intact, btw!!

The Ghandi Garden........


ginab said...

reminds me of a game my sister and I used to play, called "witches in the trees". The trees were not "trees" technically or they were, but they were soft and mellow and droopy, and they bowed over the front walk. My sister and I would run around opposite trees and the game was to run as fast as you could around opposite trees without touching.

we loved the game, but our father the [BLANK] had the trees or the ??? chopped down and removed.

I understand, in other words. I wish I were a neighbor!


Bonfire Jones said...

Hi Dr. Sue, yes... I'm afraid Mercury may have been in retrograde.

Sorry about my 'ridiculous' rant on Rachel's forum.

It's interesting you mentioned Mercury since I'm a Gemini.

There are 2 Eds actually. One slightly nutty & the other very pragmatic. Kinda like have Siamese-twins living within my brain! LOL

Thanks for being supportive & I'm sorry if I came off as a jerk.

Sometimes I get too wrapped-up in my own head-which sometimes makes it's way up my ass!

Best Regards, Ed

Anonymous said...

Lied to the kids about taking out the bush? Okay that's just low. Why doesn't your neighbor just steal candy from a baby while she's at it?

"The Ghandi Garden"

For the record this qualifies as genius.


PS. I will call you before I leave. I will I will I will. I don't want to squander the last chances I have to hear your voice!

Mike S said...

That is bush-league,some people
are just down-right evil,Sue!
It's nice to see Anjoli and her
friends show their lovely tribute to the poor victimized bush and
show the neighbor that "we shall
overcome".Hoping all is grand :)

lryicsgrl said...

It's ok.....

No, they were from "Joysey"..ha ha!

Suesjoy said...

I know Mike.
I hate living here now. Well, I don't HATE it but I feel strange whenever I see THEM.
So many people in the complex have put their houses up for sale.
(It's not a good time to sell either).
Well, I will be leaving anyway so....whatever.

I misspelled Gandhi.
Did I just misspell misspell?
Can someone help me?
I am losing my mind.

Chris Capp said...

What a great lesson for [hopefully] everybody concerned! But especially for your daughter and her friends who have now experienced rising above the small people of the world.


- Chris

Janice said...

Misspell is misspell :)

Hi Sue,
Thanks for "poppin" in ~ hooray ~ I finally got started on posting ~ still can't figure out how to incorporate pictures ~ but, that will come when I get more time to "play around and experiment"!

This was a lovely post ~ what a wonderful individual you are. I was thinking about the lessons you are teaching your daughter and then I thought to myself ~ How many lessons are being learned behind the "closed doors"? I'm sure you are making an impact on more than you may realize!

A Christmas card from Pete! Oh ... WOW!! Do you have it framed :)

Think about you alot
as the days fly by ~ Everything is going to be so new and interesting!
What a wonderful adventure you're setting out for :) Can't wait to hear all about it... and remember ~ you're just a blog away.

I'm sending you a hug, Janice

Lin-no-da said...

OMG Sue and Anjoli...
this post and it's beautiful pictures actually brought tears to my eyes. It is so sad that people who have sad and unfulfilled lives have to try to push those feelings onto others who are ALIVE.
I can see that you are raising Anjoli up to be a fine citizen and one who has respect for people as well as nature.
I am glad you overcame your anger and saw fit to solve this issue in a way that could give some food for thought to the narrow-minded ones on your block who turned this molehill into a mountain.
Thank God Anjoli & her friends were able to climb to the top of that mountain!!!


woof nanny said...

Is this a community area, Sue, versus private? How then can one voice have had the say to do this? I used to live in a house that had a big tree as a 'fence' between the neighbors. My landlord decided it was a nuisance. I couldn't be there the day they cut it down--it made me sick. Afterward, the space was just so...empty. It's just really odd that neighbors would do that without even mentioning their concerns to you about noise or whatever.

woof nanny said...

Anonymous' comment just reminded me that I used to have a swing in a tree out in front of my parents' house. The tree branch ended up growing over the chain, and the swing therefore became a part of it. When my brothers trimmed the tree, I was devastated. My childhood was in that branch.

Ahvarahn said...

Yes Joni, as in, they've paved paradise. They have in spirit, though. Things change, but it's horrible when it is as a result of The Meanies; the sort of people that get high on schadenfreude. I hope you and Anjoli can leave it behind now and move on. You'll meet a few more like these in your travels, but hopefully not for a long, long time.

be lucky,

BlackVelvetLace said...

Lyricsgrl.. I usta live in Joysey!


Gary said...

Hi Sue,
the "colorful" video is by a fellow named Rocco Delucca. His band Rocco Delucca and the Burden opened for KEANE a few weeks ago. You should hear them live, amazing. The version of the video is a "director's cut" and not the version airing on VH1. Yes, I found it incredibly sexy.


How's everything else going? Stephani's DVD arrived the other day, I'm sure I'll be taking a look at that real soon. Went to a comedy club last night (IMPROV). In a large group (25 people) celebrating and spending lots of money there... The speaker system was above my head about 15ft and 1 ft back.. so all of the sound went to everyone else and all I heard was people laughing and muffelled words. So frustrating. So, I downed 2, count em.. 2, 23oz newcastle browns and made my own fun.

Nabonidus said...

Aw,once again I'm glad I read others comments such as (Lin's and Elizabeth)- I also got teary eyed on this one. ;)
This was beautiful, wonderful, lovely, And I love the last pics with the smiles and the "RIP bush" So cute!!! lol
Aw, Sue, we will miss you here in SD.
We need more Sues and Anjoli's in SD. That letter was great. Good job girls! :)

Suesjoy said...

Thank you my dear, sweet beautiful blogger buds for your kind words and support!
We are ready to let go of the hurt now! (I agree Paul - can't dwell on crap like this...and yeah, we'll brace ourselves for more meanies...but I am very Anne Frank about people so I am sure the bad seeds will be few and far between!).
The girls planted 5 billion seeds all around the heart garden.
Lord knows what will bloom! They're seeing sprouts now...
they planted veggies, watermelon, more flowers, herbs, you name it!
They even found sprouts growing in a smooched beer can.
I TOLD them not to drink and garden , but pssht "kids"- you know how they can be.


Gary: yeah me likey that video very much. tres sexy!!
I like Rocco. Italiano, ay?

Lin-no-da said...

OMG gary! & Sue:
I have been preaching Rocco Deluca aand the Burden for a long time now. Love Rocco, Dave, Ryan and Greg. Amazing tunes but his album, it is awesome. Soul and Gift are my fave RDB tunes. He is a protege of Kiefer Sutherland's label Ironworks, I adore Kiefer.
If you have not seen I trust you to kill me - the DVD o fthem in Europe '05 with Kiefer as their tour manager WATCH IT> I blogged about in back in April, check it out!!!!!!!



BallerinaGurl said...

WOW that really was touching! FAB Story! I think you should enter it into a contest or something! Anjoli is so so sweet!!

What a fab neighbor as well!

Awwww Swho, you are just all sunshine and lovejoy! I just love you!

xxooxxooxxoo Hearts and all!