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Two Old Friends


Last weekend at Behnke’s, my Mother, Sonja Behnke Festerling, stopped by for a visit.  She and her husband wanted to see how things were going at the nursery.  Unbeknownst to her, Helmut Jaehnigen and his family also stopped in.  Mom and Helmut have not seen each other for awhile, so their surprise reunion had them both acting up and wanting their photos taken together.  Helmut wanted their photo on his Facebook page, so I am doing one better and sharing it with you.  (If they knew how, I’m sure one of them would have taken a selfie.)

Helmut has been a big part of the Behnke family for my entire life and I am sure sometimes he feels his entire life.  He came to us from Germany as a young man and never left, which was lucky for us.  He spent decades managing and buying for our woody plants department.  I am sure when he showed up this weekend he went directly out to the cut Christmas trees just to double check that we had them all up and ready for sale.  Seeing him with his two grandsons was even better.  You could see the pride he has for his family when they were talking to my mom.

It is such fun when these two get together.  The laughs, the stories and of course my mother acting so silly made a beautiful day even better.  And Mom helped Helmut pick the perfect Behnke poinsettia for his wife.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours,
Stephanie Fleming, Behnke’s Vice President

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. What a beautiful shot of two old friends, and so sweet that fate brought them to Behnke’s on at the same day and moment, so that they could see each other. Truly, this is what Christmas should be about. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Loved seeing this! I started coming to Behnke’s in around 1939 or so, and I still am a good patron–one
    who loves to hear the old stories and see pictures of the old-timers (no offense to anyone). Best wishes
    to all for many peaceful, beautiful days in the year to come–

    Incidentally, for those of you who knew the Steinle family–I believe it was the last member, my good friend Louise, who passed on not too long ago. I believe her two brothers, Werner and “Poochie” have been gone for some time.

  3. Thank you Lisa and Barbara for taking the time to write. It always is a joy when I see Helmut come through the nursery. You can see the happiness in both of their faces when they saw each other. Mom does not drive anymore so her weekly trips to the nursery have stopped which made it even more special for her that she got to see her old friend. take care and Merry Christmas, Stephanie Fleming

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