Years ago… our oldest daughter (and boyfriend) rented a rambling old house with lovely flowerbeds, in the heart of downtown, adjacent to a small library. My husband and I used to marvel at the architecture of the house, compared to the antiseptic modern look of the library. The woodwork inside this house was exquisite. It transported you back in time. My daughter wanted to live there forever. Unfortunately, she was told the lease was up, because the home owner had decided to sell the old house, to the library. It seemed the library wanted more parking spaces for their facility… and planned to bulldoze this relic of the past, into oblivion… and then blacktop the empty lot. This was heartbreaking. All of us were saddened that the house would be no more. Some of the old doors and hardware were salvaged. But I wondered what would happen to all the gorgeous plants and flowers surrounding the house’s foundation. I was told they would be plowed under. This upset me more than you can possibly know. I asked my daughter if I could dig up a few of the peonies. I had heard they were originally put in, when the house was built… back in the 1930’s or 1940’s. That meant they were very old and had a rich history. In my mind, transplanting them somewhere else, would preserve the memory of the house. She said the owner didn’t want anything touched. I thought it was an atrocity. My husband knew I was losing sleep over this and made a suggestion. We’d plan a covert operation, the two of us, to save the plants. So that is exactly what we did. Dressed like cat burglars, under the guise of darkness, armed with shovels and plastic bags we rescued 4 peony plants, the day before the demolition. It was exhilarating to be able to pull off such a feat. We hid them out of sight for a week, anticipating all hell to break loose. But it never did. Nobody ever noticed they were missing. So… these precious plants were placed in our flowerbed, with love and tenderness. Unfortunately, only two of the peonies survived. We felt guilty that we had taken them from their native soil. We confessed what we had done… but our daughter had moved on and didn’t seem to care. Twenty years has passed. Our flowerbed in now overgrown and neglected. It makes me sad to see it in such disrepair. But despite that… these beautiful, resilient peony plants… still open their pretty, fragrant heads, every spring… hidden among all the weeds. They bring us great joy, and remind us, of a house, in our daughter's history that will always live on, in our hearts.
PS) Pictures of the old house
are buried in a box
somewhere in the attic.
Could not find them at this time.