The lady behind the pressed flowers

Griswold resident Iris Cross loves life and is one of those people with a broad range of interests including an appreciation for history and nature. Cross captures the essence of her many walks and adventures in the fields with an unusual artform – pressed flowers.

She has been a faithful presence at the Virden Farmers’ Market and a visit to her booth reveals the pressed flowers that she crafts, mounted on cards.

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She began life in eastern Manitoba, in the Graysville area near the little town of Roseisle, as a farmer’s daughter. She recalls the fascination of seeing the train from Winnipeg bring visitors to Ski Valley, seven miles the west of the farm. The Sunday event was “quite a novelty,” she recalls.

Iris Worms married Stan Cross and taught at Griswold School.

“My teaching days were so great at Griswold.” A grades 5-8 teacher, she recalls, “The kids all seemed to want to work. They knew that on a Friday afternoon, if things had gone well and they had their work done, we might have a spelling match.” Some students, incidentally, still remember the spelling bees of Griswold School days.

She felt the Griswold students were “wonderful, talented kids.”

Cross lost her husband Stan in 2014, but continued on the farm where she has lived for 56 years, calling it “the best place to live.”

She says, “I love the land.” It was the smell of the freshly turned earth that has fascinated her as a youngster. She recalls times when her sister was off to school but she, as a child of about four, would follow her father into the field. Perhaps he was annoyed with his little shadow at times.

“We got to the far end of the field, and he felt sorry for me walking behind the furrow. He lifted me up.” Her father took her on his knee, on the tractor, “but I didn’t really want to be on his knee, I wanted to be watching the furrow, folding over.”

Cross hates to see historic structures torn down. She treasures the Griswold school built in 1897. It reminds her of the school at Roseisle where she was educated – a three-room school. Two rooms on the main floor with the high school in the basement.

Pressed flowers, books by folks she knows and history books of the area, all items offered at her farmer’s market table, reveal Iris Cross’s care for the details of life around her.

© Virden Empire-Advance