As a child, Decoration Day started with mom going out to the back yard and picking flowers – particularly Peonies, Iris and Sweet William. My grandmother would do the same thing from her flowers. In addition, my grandmother would order Peonies from the grocery store. She would keep those Peonies in the refrigerator. Those Peonies would be set out the night before so they would open up.
Preparation for the day would have included digging out the vases — but more often coffee cans. The coffee cans were wrapped in foil. Then some sand and/or rocks would have been added to the bottom to add weight. The digging out also included finding the wire hooks to hold the vases. If these hooks could not be found, then new ‘hooks’ would be made from wire hangers.
Mom would take the Sweet William and a small white vase to prepare flowers for my brother’s grave. My brother, Duane Gail Crawford, was a day old when he died. His small grave was in the Crawford plot along with my great grandparents and other relatives.
Once the flowers were ready, we would all go to the cemetery. There we would help carry items to the plot and carry water for the vases. I’m sure my grandmother told us how we were related to the graves we were decorating. This was the beginning of my genealogy education!