You Can’t Forget a Garden, But Can You Forget a Poet?

Image from Alfredo Rodriguez

YOU CAN’T FORGET A GARDEN

You can’t forget a garden
When you have planted a seed —
When you have watched the weather
And know a rose’s need.
When you go away from it,
However long or far,
You leave your heart behind you
Where roots and tendrils are.

Louise Driscoll, in “Garden Grace.”

Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Jun 11, 1932

Louise Driscoll To Speak at Normandie

Garden lovers will have an opportunity to indulge themselves, in imagination, in the delights of their hobby, despite Winter’s barricade against outdoor participation, when Louise Driscoll speaks on Thursday, February 20, in the ballroom of the Normandie, No. 253 Alexander Street.

Miss Driscoll will have as her theme that evening “A Garden Thru the Year.” Author of “Garden Grace” and “Garden of the West,” she will bring the spirit of all gardens to her listeners, as in her poem, “Lost Garden,” from “Garden Grace.”

Guest of Mrs. Forbes

Miss Driscoll will be the guest of Mrs. George M. Forbes of Alexander Street, president of the Rochester Poetry Society, under whose auspices she will speak.

Rochester Journal (Rochester, New York) Feb 13, 1936

ON BEING A NEWSMAN IN PASADENA

I have long said one of the delightful aspects of being a newsman in Pasadena is that — no matter on what subject you write — you may rest assured that among the thousands of persons reading your stuff will be at least one of the world’s greatest authorities on that subject.

It never fails.

Some of the most valued acquaintances I have picked up over the years have developed this way. You do a “masterpiece.” Next day the phone rings, or there’s a letter on your desk. You were right, and you know it. Or you were wrong, and you’ve picked up a world of understanding.

*          *          *

On my desk this morning was a letter of a different type — illustrating the point I am making in another way.

It was in response to a column I wrote way last spring, forgot, and then published late because I still thought it was a good column. I called it, IN WHICH I GROW SENTIMENTAL. It was built around re-discovery of this poem, which, half forgotten from my boyhood days, nonetheless had carried me through many tight places.

Here’s the letter I found on my desk.

L.M. — I was very much interested and pleased to see, in your column, a quotation from a poem by Louise Driscoll.

Louise — who died some years ago — way my cousin.

She was for many years, head of the library of Catskill, New York, and was a poet of quite considerable reputation. In the days when poetry, to be publishable, did not have to be (a) an imitation of the New Yorker, or (b) something just long enough to fill that annoying gap at the end of a magazine page.

Her poems were published in many magazines in the 1920s and thereabouts, and appear in several anthologies. She published one book of collected verse, so far as I know; a small book of very charming and rather haunting poems, under the title “Garden Grace.”

I am sure it would have made her very happy to know that one of her poems was remembered.

Very sincerely,

Marjorie C. Driscoll,

Altadena.

See what I mean about the delightful aspects of being a newsman in Pasadena?

*          *          *

SENTIMENT HAS A PLACE IN OUR BEING

Star-News (Pasadena, California) Jun 9, 1959

 

Distinction for Local Women

New York, Sept. 26 (Special). —

Three Kingston women, seven residents of Woodstock, one Palenville and one Catskill woman are members of a group of outstanding women of the nation selected for inclusion in “American Women,” a who’s who of the feminine world just completed and published.

The honor was attained locally by Mary E.S. Fischer, illustrator, Melvina E. Moore-Parsons, and the late Mary Gage-Day, physicians of Kingston, Mrs. J. Courtenay Anderson, Agnes M. Daulton, Harriet Gaylord and Louise S. Hasbrouck, writers, Nancy Schoonmaker, lecturer, Lily Strickland, composer, and Mrs. Bruno L. Zimm of Woodstock, Jennie Brownscombe, artist, of Palenville, and Louise Driscoll, librarian, of Catskill.

New York state has contributed 1,096 of the 6,214 women chosen for the distinction of places on the list. Eighty-two per cent attended college and the majority are active in clubs and organizations. The possibility of success for a career and marriage combination receives strong endorsement from the fact that 41 per cent of the roster are married.

Approximately a third of the list, in true feminine fashion, declined to state their age. Writers formed the largest class, numbering 800, and professors the second with 355. Four each are engaged in aviation and astronomy, five in engineering and thirteen in the ministry. Gardening is the most popular hobby. Only sixty-four like to play bridge and one goes in for hunting mushrooms.

Kingston Daily Freeman (Kingston, New York) Sep 27, 1935

Louise won an award for this one:

Title: Poems of the Great War
Editor: John William Cunliffe
Publisher: The Macmillan Company, 1917
“The Metal Checks”
Pages 78-83

Her Father:

Kingston Daily Freeman (Kingston, New York) Jan 3, 1941

Services Tonight For Mr. Driscoll, Dean of Masons
—–
Native of Rockland County, 103, Died Yesterday in Catskill
—–

CATSKILL — Masonic services will be held tonight for John Leonard Driscoll, a native of Piermont, Rockland County, and oldest Mason in the state, who died yesterday at his home. Mr. Driscoll, who had been in remarkable good health until two weeks ago, was 103 years old last October eleventh.

Mr. Driscoll was a descendant of Johannes ver Vailen, one of the holders of the Harlem Patent who had an inn and a ferry at Spuyten Duyvil in the early days of the state. His father was Isaac Driscoll and his mother Eliza Burgess Shaw. His great-grandfather came to the United States from Ireland about the middle of the Eighteenth Century.

Surviving Mr. Driscoll, who had lived under twenty-five of the nation’s thirty-two presidents, are the Misses Lizbeth, Caroline and Louise Driscoll, all at home.

As a boy Mr. Driscoll witnessed the digging of holes and the planting of rails for the Hudson River Railroad. Until the age of sixty he had never smoked. He first tried a cigar, without becoming sick, and then changed to a pipe which was his favorite and constant companion during the last few years of his life.

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Sep 30, 1937

At the age of 100, referring to his job in the 1830’s when pine logs were used for fuel and he was chief engineer for the Catskill Mountain Railroad, he said, “A good fireman in those days would handle the wood only once. He pitched each chunk at such an angle that when it landed on the floor of the engine it would bounce through the fire door into the box.”

He explained his philosophy of life, take it as it comes, by saying:

“When you’ve lived as long as I have, and seen many things, you realize there are few things in the world worth worrying about. It’s a good world, too, as long as people keep their sense of humor.”

Middletown Times Herald (Middletown, New York) Jan 3, 1941

* Another obituary states his wife died in 1903. (See end of post for image.)

* I couldn’t find obituaries for Louise or her sisters. It is possible there were some in the Greene County Examiner-Recorder, but I don’t have access to the years they would have appeared. A shame, really; Louise was a very talented lady and I would like to know more about her.

Quilt square sewn by Louise Driscoll’s grandmother:

From Dutch Door Genealogy:

18. E.B. Driscoll, age 47
She was Eliza Burgess Shaw, mother of Carrie, above, and in 1862 was the widow of Isaac Blauvelt Driscoll (#6010) in 1836. Isaac died in 1851. Their children who lived were John Leonard Driscoll, born 1837, lived to be 103; Charles Francis, born 1841; and Caroline, born 1844. Eliza was a seamstress, per the 1860 census.

Read more about the quilt at the link.

This is the closest I could come to finding a biography, other than the short bit I linked at the top of the post:

Louise Driscoll, who had a story, “The Tug of War,” in Smith’s Magazine for May, and a novelette, “The Point of View,” in the June number of the same magazine, lives in Catskill, N.Y. She has written verse since she was a very little girl, and while still a schoolgirl used occasionally to send poems to the New York newspapers and different magazines, many of them being accepted. It is only within the last few months that she has tried to do much prose, and she says that she has found the editors of the American magazines so ready to receive and educate a new writer that she has no faith in the tales so often heard concerning the necessity of influence to gain attention. Her verses have appeared in Lippincott’s, the Critic — now Putnam’s Monthly — the Independent, the Metropolitan, and a number of other periodicals, and some of them have been widely copied. One poem, “The Highway,” which appeared in Lippincott’s about three years ago, brought her a good many letters from readers, including some editors of other magazines. Miss Driscoll in now at work on a longer and more serious book than “The Point of View,” which is her first long story. She is very ambitious and believes fully in hard work, but she says she writes because she must, and is sure she would write if she had never heard of type. Incidentally, she has a large regard for the English language, and a sincere desire to use it correctly.

The Writer, Volume 19
By William Henry Hills, Robert Luce, 1907

Another garden themed poem by Louise Driscoll:

Olean Evening Times (Olean, New York) Nov 17, 1924

One of Louise Driscoll’s books can be accessed for free at Google Books:

Title: The Garden of the West
Author: Louise Driscoll
Publisher: The Macmillan company, 1922

From Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine – 1907

THE POOR HOUSE

by Louise Driscoll

There’s a white road lined with poplars
And the blue hills rise behind,
The fields lie green on either side
And the overseer’s kind.

This is a play/skit:

Title: The Drama Magazine – Volume 7
Author: Drama League of America
Editors: Charles Hubbard Sergel, William Norman Guthrie, Theodore Ballou Hinckley
Publisher: Drama League of America, 1917
Pages 448-460

This description from The Quarterly Journal of Speech Education – 1918:

One act tragedy for two men and two women. Realistic play of American rural life and the tragedy of weakness and lack of determination.

She also wrote and/or translated music lyrics. I ran across a Christmas carol she did as well:

Polska
Metsän puita tuuli tuudittaa,
ja joka lehti liikkuu,
oksat keinuu, kiikkuu,
karjan kellot kilvan kalkuttaa
ja linnut livertävät
la la la la la la.
Niinpä neidon mieli nuor eli’ ijällä
lentää kuin lehti ilman tiellä
Näin iloiten vain ma laulelen
la la la la la la la la la la la la.
Karjan kellot kilvan kaikottaa
ja linnut livertävät
la la la la la la.

Sunnuntaina taasen kiikuttaa
pojat iloissansa
kukin neitojansa.
Korkealle keinu heilahtaa
ja tytöt laulelevat
la la la la la la.
Niinpä neidon mieli nuorell’ ijällä
lentää kuin lehti ilman tiellä.
Näin iloiten vaan ma laulelen
la la la la la la la la la la la la.
Korkealle keinu heilahtaa
ja tytöt laulelevat
la la la la la la.

*****

Polka

In the woods the trees, the trees are gay.
See how the branches lightly swing and sway, swing and sway.
Sheep bells tinkle and sweet birds sing,
So sing the maidens, tra la, la,la, la,la.
Shaken like a leaf when winds are blowing,
Is a girl’s heart when the rose is showing.
Tra la, la tra la,la, when high flies the swing,
Tra la, la,la,la.la,la,la,la,la,la,la,la.
Her heart goes there like the swing in air,
And falls while she is singing_Tra la, la,la,la,la.

English version by
Louise Driscoll.

Title: Folk Songs of Many Peoples, Volume 1
Editor: Florence Hudson Botsford
Publisher: Womans Press, 1921
Page 26

*     *     *     *     *

Greene County Examiner-Recorder (Catskill, New York) Jan 9, 1941

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One Response to “You Can’t Forget a Garden, But Can You Forget a Poet?”

  1. doc Says:

    … wonderful…. 🙂

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