The banner on this blog is what my writing shed looked like when Tom and I moved into our home in November of 2001. It had been Tom’s family home since 1952. My father-in-law, Gene Darter, built this shed and used it to store his rock collection. And what a collection it was.
2002 was a hard year for us. First our cat Rug (named so because he was so relaxed) was killed by a car barrelling down our street. That was in the first week in August.
As we went outside to bury Rug in the backyard next to the shed, the phone rang. It was Ed Brush, our high school English teacher who we had remained friends with over the years and who is responsible for Tom and I connecting after 25 years. “I know I’m dying,” he said, “I want to say goodbye.”
Ed died three weeks later. When we remodeled the shed and added landscaping to the yard, we planted a butterfly bush in front of the shed in honor of Ed. A few of his ashes helped it to grow and now it towers over the shed.
Gene helped us bury Rug that day, taking his turn shoveling dirt into his grave, his voice cracking as he said, “Rug was a good old cat.”
Gene died in November 2002. He was 91 years old. His final words — “I’ve had a good life, but I’m ready to go. I think I’ll get in my car and get out of here.”
Here’s what the shed looks like now.
My writing shed is infused with the memories of:
Rug, a cat who expected to be loved;
Ed, who taught me the love of language and called me a child of his heart; and
Gene, the gentle man who called his son, my husband, Sweetman