Martha and her clippings
When I was about 14, my family was involved in a rather serious car collision. My parents, my 80-year-old grandmother, a family friend, and I were heading home from a Christian concert at a church which was an hour and a half away from our town. Our friend was driving us in her car. We were almost home. An out-of-state driver, unfamiliar with the area, ran a stop sign and we hit him broadside at 45 miles per hour. It was late at night and none of us were wearing seatbelts. My parents were in the front seat with our friend, my grandmother and I were in the back. I was asleep at the time it happened.
Our friend was left unconscious with a concussion, my Mom had broken ribs, my grandmother's leg was broken, and my Dad's face shattered the passenger side of the windshield. Except for a bloody nose, my Dad was amazingly uninjured. I wasn't hurt at all, maybe because I had been asleep and was relaxed. The car was a total loss.
My parents were treated and released at a local hospital; our friend recovered and was discharged after a few days. But my grandmother was hospitalized for weeks with her leg in traction. During this time she accumulated a number of potted plants sent by concerned family members. I had the job of watering them when they were dry. We visited her for several hours every night. Our visits continued when she was transferred to a nursing home for a few months, where her leg slowly healed.
Eventually she came home again to live with us. She gave all her plants to me; I kept them on a stand in my room. The only one that survived any length of time was a small philodendron in a white glass ornamental container. For reasons now forgotten, I named the plant Martha.
After my parents divorced when I was 17, my Mom and I found our way to Ohio, which became our new home. Martha traveled with us. I moved back to Pennsylvania after about a year in Ohio, but Martha stayed behind. My Mom seemed amused by a plant that I had actually named, so she took good care of Martha over the years. During 1999, my Mom and my stepfather drove east to visit me. They brought clippings from Martha which I put in water for several weeks until they sprouted a good root system. I then planted them in a medium-size pot of soil and hung Martha by a window.
Martha has hardly shown energetic growth. My plant-withering thumb probably has a lot to do with that. But during 2007 Krissy and I saw a little improvement in Martha: some branching of her two single-strand vines which made Martha a bit more full in appearance. Before we moved to our new apartment, we clipped Martha into sections and placed the clippings in water to again produce a root system. Martha's clippings are now growing roots and soon we'll plant her in a soil-filled pot.
Meanwhile my Mom moved to Florida, taking her part of Martha with her, and recently I found out that one of Krissy's friends wants to take part of Martha to Oregon. This small 30-year-old philodendron may soon be growing around the country. Who knows how far she may ultimately spread.
My grandmother passed away 25 years ago. Maybe I'm just sentimental, but I see Martha as a small part of my grandmother's legacy. I hope Grandmom is pleased with Martha's continuing life.