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Tulip 'Shirley' has a special meaning

Written by Doug Oster on .

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I've known about the tulip 'Shirley' for years and when I finally saw it at the nursery last fall, I had to plant it.

Not only is it beautiful, it reminds me of a dear friend, Shirley Ware.

Back in the 80's I was director of photography at the Medina County Gazette, a small paper in Ohio. Frequently people would wander into the office wondering how they could be a newspaper photographer.

They were all treated the same, given four rolls of film and told "shoot these, bring them back and we'll see."

Rarely did anyone every return, but Shirley did, with spectacular photos of a train derailment.

She started as a stringer, and with a creative eye it wasn't long until she was hired as a staff photographer.

As a staff of two we shared a passion for photojournalism, experiencing the highs and lows life has to offer.

When I left, she took over my position, taking the paper to new heights.

We haven't worked together in over 20 years, and don't talk very often, but we're Facebook friends.

I follow her life from a distance and see photos of her new grandson online.

Even though we've drifted apart and life has gotten in the way of our friendship, we'll always be connected by our time together in Medina.

Standing in the late afternoon sun as 'Shirley' bloomed, all I could do was smile thinking of that first day she brought back those four rolls of film.

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