Old Mother Ivy
By Sherrill Pool Elizondo
In 1974, when I was a very young mother with just one child, my husband and I moved from Austin to Houston shortly after he received his degree from the University of Texas. We lived in an apartment for a couple of years before purchasing our first small home. We had only one car for a short while which limited some of my activities. Luckily I met many other stay-at- home moms with very young children who I could visit and be with while our children played together.
One day there was a grand opening of a grocery store in walking distance so my neighbor and I put our babies in strollers and we went to check out the new store. Such was our entertainment in the struggling years for many of us in my generation! At the beautiful new grocery store they were giving away free ivy plants to customers and I was thrilled because I had just one or two houseplants from when my husband and I lived in our first small apartment in Austin.
That special ivy plant signaled the beginning of my love for growing houseplants and also for gardening outdoors in later years. I have not been as successful with any other houseplant like I have been with that ivy though. Either I am just lucky or it is very difficult to kill ivy! That ivy is still living and is over 40 years old.
I eventually planted the ivy in a large pot and hung it from the ceiling with a macrame plant hanger so popular in the sixties and seventies. The Ivy plant moved with us to our first home with that first son and another child on the way and then four years later to our second home (with 3 sons) 36 years ago. Who knows in the future where the ivy will continue to thrive and whether or not it will ever be in our new vacation/retirement home or perhaps elsewhere. The ivy remained in the same hanging basket for many years and, when our oldest son left for college, I rooted some of the
The ivy remained in the same hanging basket for many years and, when our oldest son left for college, I rooted some of the ivy in water and then planted the cuttings in a pot for him. I am not sure of what became of that particular little plant, but I assume that it died. However, after he moved to Los Angeles to get his masters degree at USC, we drove one year to visit and to take some of his belongings to him. Again, I took a hanging basket with an ivy plant from cuttings from the old one as a little gift that represented home and Mom. I recall being concerned that I had this plant on the floor of the car when we had to stop at a fruit and plant inspection point when entering California but it did not prove to be any problem.
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When our other two sons left home to attend college, I also sent with each one a potted ivy taken from what I now call the “Mother Plant.” At some point in time, I made such a mess of the cuttings that I finally re-rooted the entire plant into a much smaller pot and bought a different type of ivy for the old hanging basket I have to this very day. The old Mother Ivy now sits in a dining room window and it is still thriving. I looked online to see what was said about very old houseplants and it appears that there are plants that have lasted with care for many generations in some families.
A few years ago my youngest son and his family moved back to Houston after living in Seattle for a year. He emailed me from where he works and asked if I could give him an ivy plant in a pot for his office. (I knew he meant from the original one) He said he did not recall what had happened to the other one but I am sure it probably died eventually as many plants do that go off to college with a son or daughter. It delighted me that the mother plant was still around and that I could do this for him as a special gift.
I know that my original ivy plant that I received so many many years ago will probably outlive me and, hopefully, will be around for generations to come. Maybe a grandchild will one day take a potted ivy from cuttings from the mother plant that Nana received so long ago. Maybe it will thrive on a windowsill at some yet unknown university in the future. I hope so.
Cover photo: Sherrill with three sons after the birth of her youngest. Photo was taken on Easter Sunday, 1979.
About the Author – Sherrill Pool Elizondo
I am the proud parent of three grown sons who are married. I am also the proud grandmother of two grandsons and four granddaughters. I have been an aspiring writer for over 35 years. Some of my stories have appeared on WWN Rockport, Texas Escapes, Santa Cruz Patch, and GRAND Magazine. I’m an avid genealogist, love to travel and crochet, and go to a Jazzercise center almost every day.