The Fragrance of Lilacs
It is 1944. Eight year old Phyllis sits on the living room carpet in front of the Farnsworth radio completely engrossed in one of her favorite programs. “Return with us now to the thrilling days of yesteryear,” booms the voice of Fred Foy, narrator of The Lone Ranger show, accompanied by a rousing rendition of The William Tell Overture. As she listens, Phyllis enters an imaginary world galloping across the western plains with The Lone Ranger and his faithful Indian companion Tonto.
“The Fragrance of Lilacs,” based on Phyllis’s childhood on a small dairy farm in upstate New York, also takes us back to the days of yesteryear. The book, written as creative non-fiction, is a kaleidoscope of beautifully depicted scenes describing a simpler way of life that Phyllis has preserved for posterity. She compares her 8-year long book project to riding on a train backwards—she sees where she has been. She captures snippets of memory, family stories, archives, photographs and journals and weaves them together with a generous amount of creativity.