Time To Move On
I went to see what was left at Behnke Nurseries today. It was all gone! I said I was not going to go, but I went anyway. I got there as that big monster machine that tore down every single structure was being loaded up. Their job was done. There is still so much more to do to get the property back to the bare ground. But as the demolition comes to an end, it is time for me to move on.
Was it hard to see? You bet! Did I cry? Maybe a few tears, but as I have said before, it was way past time for it to be gone. As I stood outside the fenced-in area, the man loading up the tractor-trailer asked me what this place was? What? You don’t know, I wondered? He said he was picking up the equipment. How could he not know? How long before no one remembers what stood on this ground for over 90 years? Could he not hear all the laughter and chatter of our friends as they walked through the area where so many azaleas sat? I closed my eyes and could see and smell the summer annuals in the back greenhouse. People were looking at perennials as they talked about the butterfly garden they would start this year.
Why I Keep Writing
So often I am asked why I keep this email and website going. Maybe it is because I am afraid that, like this driver, so many more people will say, What was here? They won’t know that the majority of the landscaping in the neighborhood was #bornatbehnkes
Like so many of you, I loved this place. I loved growing up in that brick house—so many hours of pulling our red wagon all over, gathering glass soda bottles to return for deposit money. Feeding the ducks and swans in the two ponds is a memory I will treasure forever! I could still see the little girl, transplanting thousands of begonias. There I was squeezing out the seeds of my grandfather’s Belgian Giant Tomatoes or filling bags of the special African Violet Soil. The playground with the big old slide on which we used wax paper to fly down faster and faster. Going round and round on the merry-go-round till we wobbled around.
As these memories went through my mind, I suddenly realized many memories are of things already gone for decades. The ponds and swans were long gone, and the special Belgian Giant Tomatoes were no longer grown. And the playground was torn down. We stopped growing our own African Violets and mixing the special soil as other companies came along making it more affordable to resell their products.
Looking around, I was startled to see some color peeking out from a magnolia tree. As I walked over to where one of our gazebos used to stand, I saw two blooming Columbines. Darn, I wish I had a trowel. Finally, something left that had not been stripped away. I looked over toward where the other gazebo stood, and was that a flash of pink? It was a clump of Pink Evening Primrose, Oenothera. The mass of rusty red Bignonia vines (Crossvine) were still there, covering the fence. Seeing the different plants still blooming for some reason reassured me that it was going to be okay. Whatever happens to this ground, I will keep writing and sharing memories with you till no one wants to read them anymore. One day my grandchildren might look at the pictures as they read some of my stories and they will know what once was here.
Thank you all for giving me a place to share my memories and feeling. Love always, Stephanie