I love Easter because I get to dust off and display these old pressed paper bunnies that used to adorn the front window of my “Aunt” Helen’s beauty shop in Bellingham, Washington back in the 1940’s. Helen and her sisters ran the Abbott Sister’s Beauty Shop and Helen’s husband owned The Stark Piano Co. on the same street. That was long before my time, but when I met her, my aunt had her own player piano right there in her house. When my family visited her, we would load the music rolls into the piano and sing our hearts out as the piano keys pounded out songs like “California, Here I Come” and “The Days of Wine and Roses”. I still remember all of the words.
I adored her and her beautiful, mysterious life. She lived in a castle on Cottonwood Avenue and she let us play in her attic filled with boxes of beautiful shoes and hats and teetering towers of old Life magazines. She’d known my father since he was a boy and had lived a lifetime before I even met her.
She saw the gardening spark inside of me when I was so young and fanned the flame by saving me a little seed or a cutting; sometimes an entire plant when she was dividing a perennial from her beautiful garden. That was a long time ago. It’s been so long that the tiny birch trees she shared have grown and gone now, but the Solomon’s Seal persists; along with armies of Lily of the Valley and a beautiful old fashioned, flat-faced rose that has spread to surround my greenhouse. I was thrilled that she trusted me with their care not realizing when I accepted these gifts that they would live on to remind me of her long after she was gone.
I’m a sentimental soul and if I ever moved away from Goebel Hill Farm, along with packing up the Easter bunnies, I’d have to whip out my shovel and dig up a root or start a cutting of each of these plants to take with me so I’d be able to keep her close. Goebel Hill Farm reminds me of those earlier times. With the romance of the flowers, the huge old trees and the buildings built back in the 1920’s, it’s the perfect place to dream.