Red clover may not have been a big part of my life, but it made a big impression. I still experience a frisson of excitement when I see it at the side of the road. It’s a matter of perceived value.
My mother paid us about a nickel a bag to collect the blossoms. That seemed a fortune to me.
What is probably more strange (me being a bit of a health nut) – in all these years I have never investigated red clover. I was never curious as to why she wanted it or why she used it. And I certainly was not curious about it’s healthful properties.
Reading now, I realize that she was probably suffering the vagaries of menopause and was searching for help. No one talked about estrogen in those days. Women whispered of “the Change” as a way of blaming for behavior. If I had understood or payed attention it might have explained her volatility in those years. Her “craziness”.
What she was experiencing meant nothing to me then. I only cared as it affected my life.
I suppose that is still true. When I see Red Clover growing along the paths where I walk, I don’t think of how my mother was in my childhood. I just have the vague notion that if I only stopped to gather it, I would be rich.
Being a male, this particular phenomenon is a stranger to me because I do not remember either my mother or my late wife going through the change. If they did, nothing overt in the form of a changed behaviour was seen by me.
On the other hand, I had seen behavioural changes in men as retirement approached or was a fait accompli in many people including, I am told, me! I did not have any access to information about what needs to tbe done because I was too busy caring for a couple of people in my life then.
But the thrust of the post in terms of things triggering memories resonates. A number of things do constantly to me including some things to do with plants and flowers.
I don’t know the statistical differences (if any)in menopause as lived in the U.S. as opposed to other cultures.And I’m not sure I acted any differently at that time. My family might have something different to say. I remember my mother as quite volatile in the best of those times but it might also have had to do with issues between her and my father.
And speaking of fathers – in the U.S. the “change” in men is referred to as “midlife crisis”. An apt title for the mental and emotional lack of equilibrum in facing the inevitability of aging on a personal basis.
And, yes, the gist of the post was the import of red clover on me after all of these years.