My grandmother, Rose Behnke, loved life. She loved every season and you can tell by the many, many photographs she took. But once in a while someone else would get hold of the camera and get a picture of her beautiful smile. When this happened, she always insisted that it be with something in bloom. She must have loved this particular tree since there are many family shots that include it. I found this photo and just keep going back to look at it again and again. She was, of course, much younger in it than I remember her (I think it was taken in the late 30’s or early 40’s) but I still see that love in her eyes that I remember so well. Rose loved color, nature, animals, children and her husband. She would just look at a flower or a tree, close her eyes and inhale the beauty around her. She was one of those people whose glass was always full. Never half empty or even half full. It was completely full. I don’t think I ever heard her say an unkind word about anyone. She loved the saying: “Never criticize a man unless you have walked a mile in his moccasins.”
The other day someone was talking to me about the nursery and what a great man and businessman my grandfather was, but it got me thinking of that saying: “Behind every successful man, there stands a woman.” Rose was that woman. Always in the background, keeping the family and nursery going. Albert was always the first to say, there would be no nursery without his wife. Back when this photo was taken, women weren’t so liberated, but because of Rose, both my mother and I grew up knowing we could do or be anything.
Take some time and look through your old family photos and write down some memories of a loved one. I’m not sure this is true for everyone, but for me, it brings a level of comfort knowing that the very people who made me are not forgotten and that the memories will be shared for generations to come.
by Stephanie Fleming, Behnke’s Vice President