P81020‘V-A-S-E ‘ is probably how it is spelled, just like that which is pronounced exactly as it looks, or ‘vays’. ‘Vahz’, ‘vawz’ or ‘voz’ just sounds fancier, . . . or bigger.

That is how I learned it. ‘Vays’ is the smaller version that is designed to contain one or only a few flowers and maybe some foliage. ‘Vahz’, ‘vawz’ or ‘voz’ is the much larger version that is designed to contain entire bouquets or ‘floral arrangements’. Those that contain only dried flowers and foliage do not even need to hold water.

I learned this from those who were experts on the subject. My Aunt Betsy and her best friend Cathy were ‘flower children’. They rented an apartment in a hip and trendy neighborhood in western San Jose back in the early 1970s. The neighborhood was so trendy and hip that the neighbors were known as ‘hippies’. Aunt Betsy and Cathy outfitted their apartment accordingly, with wicker, shaggy rugs, and a big spider plant hanging from beaded macrame.

Of course, there was also a rather big ‘vahz’, ‘vawz’ or ‘voz’. It was cheap molded plaster painted glossy chocolaty brown. It contained a billowy abundance of only two species of dried cut flowers, cattails and pampas grass, that had been sprayed with hair spray to prevent them from sharing their seed. It was as gloriously hideous as it sounds, and more than adequately expressed impeccable cultural refinement and a keen appreciation for the remarkably distinctive and exquisitely tacky style of home decor that was so prevalent at the time.

The cattails might have been collected on the side of Highway 80 in Auburn, near the home of Aunt Betsy’s Great Aunt Mamie. The pampas grass might have been found in Vasona Lake County Park in Los Gatos.

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14 thoughts on “Vahz, Vawz or Voz

  1. The hair spray does work. I have various grasses that I’ve toted home from prairies that all are in the vases where they were plunked, and still are holding their seed. Hoorah! A friend gave it a try with goatsbeard, and it worked for that, too — although it took a while for her to get it right. The trick is to spray above the seedhead, and let the spray drift down onto it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes. Brent, my colleague, had an ‘incident’ with spray paint when he was a little kid watching his mother spray paint pampas grass flowers orange. There is an episode of Star Trek that shows bright pink and blue pampas grass flowers on another planet. Unless they really bloom those colors on another planet, they were also dyed or painted.

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