I ran into Kathy Hindmarsh at Soergel Orchards and Garden Center during the annual Hosta Show there a couple weekends ago. We had exchanged messages last year about her "special" statue and she had commented on my love of repairing concrete garden art with a glue called Goop.
Here's her own wonderful story about a special garden ornament.
Eve in Our Garden
By Kathy Hindmarsh
In the late June 2000, my husband and I were traveling home from the Interlochen Arts Camp near Traverse City, Michigan. We had just delivered our 15 year old daughter to “settle in” for a six week residential arts summer program.
As we traveled down the two-lane road, we passed a dilapidated shed built from old barn wood surrounded by a informally planted flower garden filled with black-eyed Susans, purple delphiniums, orange daylilies and a lot of WEEDS.
The proprietor was a small boned woman with long gray hair, a self-proclaimed former “flower child” who had lived vivaciously through the turbulent sixties and love-ins of the seventies.
Aromas of incense almost choked the breaths away from the visitors who entered her shop through the fabric curtain adored with a large colorful peace sign. It was a small but quaint little shop decorated with multicolored, tie-dyed material, bamboo curtains and whimsical metal chimes which tinkled with the slightest breeze. There were whirly-gigs, rusted antique wrought iron furniture and several statures made of heavy concrete for sale.
I had been scouring our local area for months in search of a statue that could be a focal piece in our newly landscaped garden….and then I saw “HER.” She was a female figure about three feet high, fully naked, rising from what appeared to be very large, manly semi-clasped hands. She appeared almost biblical in her innocence, with a slightly tilted head, downcast eyes and coy expression.
The price tag was $50.00. I knew right away, she would be traveling with us back to Oakmont, wrapped so gingerly in blankets in the back of our SUV for the 500 mile trip home. My husband christened her “Eve” in honor of God’s creation of woman in the book of Genesis. For the next six weeks, in the absence of our teenage daughter, we enjoyed our beautiful “Eve” living among the lushness of our own Eden.
In August with our daughter’s return, she saw our “garden treasure” and instantaneously proclaimed her “an obscene embarrassment.” While my husband and I tried to explain through the use of artistic references to the beloved statues of Paris and Rome, in her eyes, she only saw a concrete female naked body, rebuked her name and forever more referred to her as “the naked lady statue.” Throughout the summer months of her adolescent years during backyard swimming parties, she would adorn “the naked lady statue” with coconut bras and grass skirts, or strategically placed Hawaiian flower leis, brightly colored island sarongs or Roman togas made from the family bed sheets. Even during a visit from my young grandson when he generously volunteered to help me in the garden, he cocked his head to the left then to the right and with a reddened complexion, quietly whispered, … maybe the “naked lady statue” would look better covered with the entangled vines of the autumn clematis. I sighed, and then broke into laughter without giving the lecture I had recited to his aunt about the great Roman statues of Italy. While “Eve” had never completely lived in our garden as the “Free Spirit” we had envisioned, she was always the life of the party, so to speak, dressed in any one of her summer frocks or clematis vines.
So that day, as we strategically placed the green ascending vines, I surprising noticed that the face of our “beautiful concrete creature of womanhood” was without a chin. With her beautifully titled head and coy expression, I had missed through all these years that she so graciously adorned our garden, with or without clothes, an obvious facial malformation. Apparently, in the making of a concrete statue, after the element has been poured and the mold is released, it is very common for the weakest point, in this case the chin, to break off from the form. So my grandson and I so gingerly encircled her “chin area” with a little extra vine and I finally understood why she only cost us fifty-dollars so many years ago at the hippie lady’s Bohemian shop in Michigan.
The winter of 2013-2014 was very hard on all of our gardens but especially on “Eve.” She had survived fourteen years without damage to her beauty, except for her original missing chin. With the freezing temperatures and shifting ground from the winter frosts and thaws, she had been tossed from her pedestal, breaking her body into three large pieces with small fragments of fractured concrete strewn about the lifeless March garden. How would I ever part with her after all of these years and family memories although my now adult daughter showed no remorse for the demise of “the naked lady statue.”
Today, Eve has a new place in our garden after her fall. We “gooped” her back together and she once again stands tall, still without a chin, but among the arborvitae which also covers many of her wounds and “scars.” Each time I look at her in the garden, I think of the memories we shared because of her. Oh she has still has no chin and additional flaws as she ages through the winters, but the original beauty we first saw in “the naked lady statue” is still there.
Isn’t that how we all would like to be seen?