This week, I called my mom after work for our unusual post-work chat. I asked her about the leaf project. Did she think it was still in the attic? It is has been more than 20 years since I put that binder together. She laughed at the question. I guess parents don’t keep everything, even A-plus projects. Both my mom and dad were active participants in my education. They helped with everything from leaves to bugs to book reports. They didn’t do the work, but assisted with the more technical skills like adding contact paper or punching holes for the binder. My dad also drove to my grandparent’s houses so I could pick leaves out their yards too. And that is how my mom got the A-plus rash that year — by helping press out the leaves. Unfortunately, she is highly sensitive to the leaf. It takes shots, steroids and multiple trips to the doctor to get rid of the rash. Our memories of the leaf project differ slightly. I have fond memories of the forest and nature. She recalls the doctor’s office.
The leaves are falling and dancing around the two Virginias. I am watching the mountains, waiting for the final burst of color on top of East River Mountain. I am not sure if children in the area still look for leaves for their teachers. I hope they still do. I want to experience the joys of helping my future child make his or her leaf collection. Without a poison ivy leaf, of course. It will be an A-plus effort either way.
Jamie Parsell is the Lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @BDTParsell.