|Rosa 'Brother Cadfael' & Lychnis coronaria - 24 June 2021|
In the Odyssey, Mentor (Greek: Μέντωρ, Méntōr; gen.: Μέντορος) was the son of Alcimus. In his old age Mentor was a friend of Odysseus. When Odysseus left for the Trojan War, he placed Mentor and Eumaeus (Odysseus' swineherd) in charge of his son Telemachus, and of Odysseus' palace.
When Athena visited Telemachus, she took the disguise of Mentor to hide herself from the suitors of Telemachus's mother Penelope. As Mentor, the goddess encouraged Telemachus to stand up against the suitors and go abroad to find out what happened to his father. When Odysseus returned to Ithaca, Athena appeared briefly in the form of Mentor again at Odysseus' palace.
It had to be on the death of my Rosemary on December 8, 2020 that I suddenly came to realize in a flash that while I have had many male mentors in my life I had never considered that my mother, grandmother and especially Rosemary have been my mentors, too.
The first two put into me the idea of manners, pushed me to have equanimity (I have failed in this one, lots) and with their religious influence gave me a path of honesty in what I did and still do.
But it was Rosemary who taught me about Canada, taught me to be less of a passionate Latin showing my anger without consideration to others and almost made me more patient.
Without Rosemary’s decisions, particularly the financial ones, I would have never come with her and our two daughters to Canada and made a career of photography. It was Rosemary with whom I learned the rewards of sharing a garden and always seeing to the situation of our daughters and two granddaughters. Her financial acumen has me at almost 79 years comfortably not having to worry about money and knowing that when I am gone our two daughters will have no financial worries either.
I traveled a lot before I met Rosemary in 1967, and then with magazine assignments I also traveled. With Rosemary I learned the pleasure of traveling while sharing experiences. When I suggested we might drive our Malibu with our two daughters to Texas she was keen. She would book our hotels on the way to make sure we would wake up to a nice buffet breakfast. Rosemary had many talents and in the days of important travel agencies she could have been an excellent agent. Now if I am able to travel to Buenos Aires before the end of this year I will have to do get all those reservations on my own. And consider that I am an idiot so it won’t be easy.
The other important mentor was Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. whom I met when I was 17. In a most unlikely occurrence Brother Edwin and Rosemary became friends not too long ago before he died.
In one of my trips to Austin I took a lovely scan of English Rose, Rosa ‘Brother Cadfael’. A year later I visited him again and behind his desk I found my inkjet print framed with a brass plaque explaining its origin. Brother Edwin had made it all.
I find it comfortably appropriate to combine that rose with a lowly plant, Lychnis coronaria that Rosemary adored. When she first started with this plant that seeds itself every year (so it comes back), she would systematically remove any of the shocking, fluorescent pink ones. Only white ones would do! She planted the Lychnis in several places but also (most important!) in the pot where Brother Cadfael grows. At about this time she would have helped me deadhead her white Lychnis so that it would keep on blooming.
Today (scanned 24 June but placed in a blog further back to fill the many holes that are there), while arranging the two plants on my scanner, I felt that sadness of missing those two mentors who were so dear to my heart.
I was lucky to have been so properly mentored.
And anybody who has read my blog with some frequency might note the Lychnis coronaria is a gray plant. Rosemary loved gray plants.