About 5 years ago I decided to send a letter to the owner of my childhood home. There was a unique piece of garden art in the backyard placed there over a dozen years ago by my now deceased Mom. Is it still there? If it is and you find that you no longer want it, would you kindly let me know? I didn’t hear anything and never drove by the house during that time to see if it was still there, visible from the street. Life went on until I got a surprise phone call on Friday, June 5, 2020.
I found your letter in the back of a bathroom cabinet when I was remodeling a few months ago. I have the metal piece sitting outside against the house in the backyard if you want it. I figured it would be meaningful to someone. Give me a call if you do . . .
I was in shock! Holy cow! Mark J had moved the garden gate on the “hill” that was once a landscaped bed, to the side of the house, with the concrete footer still attached. I talked to my husband Steve (who is always up for a driving adventure), thought about it overnight, and then I got really excited! I called Mark on Saturday and said YES! We’ll come get it!
My childhood home is in Warren, Michigan. I had moved away in 1983 after college to the Chicagoland area then again north of Fort Wayne in 2007. Favorite plants made the journey here as well. But I never would have expected that this prized possession of the original garden master in my life would come home too. I called my brother right away and had some fun reminiscing about our garden projects with our mother over the years. I sent him photos of the garden gate on Saturday when Mark forwarded them to me. Plans were coming together to drive up to Michigan on Sunday to pick up our new found treasure and have a quick visit with my brother and his family as well.
The visit never happened. Or at least not yet. Twenty-six minutes before Mike would have received the photos that I sent him via text, he went into a medical crisis that would end his life. He never saw the photos. We did not drive to Michigan that weekend. The project would need to wait to address more important matters now before us . . .
The meaningfulness of this experience and simple piece of garden art is now greater than ever before. Mementos are like that, aren’t they? Mike made his gateway to heaven the very day after our Mom’s garden gate came back into our lives. Steve and I made our way to Michigan shortly thereafter to retrieve this memorable artifact from our personal heritage. It’s a little thing in the scheme of life yet I’ll bet that I’m not the only one out there with meaningful touch points in his or her garden beds that reflect your stories, your loves as well.
I’d love to hear them. JJ