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Birthstones, flowers of the month

Ann Swanson

Sometimes I am actively looking for something to write about; other times I stumble upon something that tweaks my interest. In either case, I am off and running.

The column this morning came from some of my random research. I stumbled on facts about the months of the year. I found many things I did not know so I am going to share with you.

My husband bought me a beautiful necklace – a sapphire, my birthstone. While he was looking at jewelry a man asked if he happened to know the birthstone for September. He told him he did since he and his wife (me)both had September birthdays.

Once he told the man, the chose the necklace he had been debating about. That was fine with me because I ended up with a beautiful heart-shaped necklace with sapphires that I really like. The only drawback is the extremely small clasp. Don helps me get it on when I wear it.

When my daughter was about to have her second baby, she told the doctor she wanted him born in May because she liked the green stone, the emerald, for the month. She already had a little girl born in June so the pearl was her birthstone. I am not sure my daughter ever got any jewelry with the children’s birthstones though.

She has jewelry with topaz stones, the month of her birth is November. She inherited a ring that had been my mother’s – another November birthday.

That takes care of the birthstones for four months. Men do not take note of their birthstones as much as women do, but they do look for jewelry for their wives and girlfriends. So here goes – the rest of the months along with their birthstones to help out those husbands: January – garnet, February – amethyst, March – aquamarine, April – diamond, July – ruby, August – peridot, October – opal, and December – turquoise. Gentlemen I hope this column gives you some ideas for gifts.

There are also flowers designated for each month. If jewelry is not your expertise, you could go for the flower of the month. Many ladies like to receive flowers from time to time.

I am rather unusual in that circumstance because I have allergies to flowers. I used to tell my first husband that if he wanted to get rid of me all he had to do was bring me roses. I also discovered that lilacs and some wildflowers are also high on the allergy rating.

Don does not think of flowers because his first wife also had allergies. That means he avoids them.

For those of you who are flower lovers I list the month with their flowers: January – carnation, February – violet, March – jonquil, April – sweet pea, May – lily of the valley, June – rose, July – larkspur, August – gladiolus, September – aster, October – marigold, November – chrysanthemum, December – narcissus.

Out of all of those flowers I can stand carnations, violets, sweet peas, and chrysanthemums. While I love the look of the flowers, what they do to my allergies is not pretty.

As I am putting this piece together, I was reminded of the things that represent Pennsylvania. States all have flowers, insects, trees, and birds that represent them. I recall making a list of them when I visited the capital. They had all sorts of trinkets you could purchase.

My children remember voting on the insect for Pennsylvania. They were thrilled that the firefly or lightning bug won. They caught those in the yard when they were growing up. I was surprised that they do not have them out west. We met some people from Oregon who had no idea what they were.

I was teaching fourth grade at the time that I visited the capital – that used to be the year when Pennsylvania history was taught. I recall that I first had to learn all about Pennsylvania myself since I grew up in New York State. I was happy to learn about Pennsylvania since I have now lived here for more than fifty years.

I bought a puzzle for my class. It had all of the counties as well as photos of things produced in them. It also had the county seat for each county. My students enjoyed that puzzle and I think learned quite a bit from it.

Today, I hope you learned something as well. After all I spent the biggest share of my working life in a classroom. I loved my job and I loved my students.

Recently I met two of the boys that I had in kindergarten. They both looked very different from back in the day. One of them spoke to me when he poured my coffee at a dinner. I had fond memories of him. I shared something special with him, but I will not embarrass him by printing it here. The second young man came over to me and brought his family to introduce them. First, I asked if I should recognize his wife. He told me she went to school some place else so that was a no. His baby girl, Delilah, was delightful. I think she would have come to me if I held out my arms.

If I meet you somewhere, please take time to say hello. I remember so many of my former students and it is a delight to see how well they have done.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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