Thursday, July 18, 2024

A fairy tale

Originally appeared in VioletsFun Photo Journal, issue no. 1 (1998).

This is the story of two “middle-aged” people, who gad given up other careers to pursue their love of violets.  An American man who gave up a career as a university professor, to live in a century-old barn to hybridize and sell his violets.  A Taiwanese woman who decided to open a little flower show in a big city, growing and selling violets.  They first met in 1995, at the AVSA convention in St. Louis, where she had asked him to bring her some of his violets.  “What a nice, lovely woman”, he thought when meeting her.  Of course, they’d probably never meet again, he thought.

The following year, they did meet again, this time in Atlanta, at that year’s AVSA convention.  Still, they might not meet again, he thought, not wanting to get his hopes up and his heart broken.  Then, before the 1997 convention, he gets a phone call.  She wasn’t planning that year’s show, but a friend was, and she insisted that they travel together.  Since she was coming for the show, the decided to visit him, since he was a commercial grower and, by visiting him, they could also visit another grower in the area.  After all, he was single and lived alone….it would be less of an imposition to ask such a favor.  Of course, he offered to let them both stay at his home during their visit.

During those few days together, he and she became the closest of friends.  Then they spent more time together at the show itself in Florida.  Perhaps they were becoming more than just friends…but, it couldn’t be.  He was 40, she some years younger, and both had resigned themselves to living alone the rest of their lives.  After all, what were the chances of meeting and falling in love with someone with the same interests?  Who else would be willing to live a poor, but happy, life growing violets?  Besides, what kind of relationship could exist between two people half-a-world apart?  Once again, she left.

When she returned home, she realized that she had to make one more trip.  Perhaps this was someone that was worth pursuing.  Bravely, she decided to make another visit, alone this time–besides, there was another show!  Of course, love “blossomed” between our star-crossed couple.  Once again, though, she had to leave for home.

This time, being apart was more than either one of them could bear.  Daily phone calls and e-mails only drew them closer and made being apart hurt more.  He knew that he could never be truly happy living this way.  He flew to Taiwan, intending to propose marriage, which he did the night he arrived.  She wasn’t surprised, and quickly accepted, since she had long felt the same.  After a nine-day engagement, they were married in a simple courthouse wedding in Taipei.  This time he left.

This ending might be happy enough, but a few months later, she came to America to live with him.  Both now grow violets together, doing what they love most, with the person they love.  Living happy ever after…..


  • BambiSeptember 25, 2018 7:33 pmI absolutely love your love story! Recently I have discovered the love of growing flame violets and have learned that they are very scarce on the East Coast where I live.; the Blue, ridge mountains of VirginiaI. I may be the only local Grower around here and I’m curious where you are? I would really like to make a modest living growing this beautiful plants and maybe falling in love with a few other varieties of violets. I’m 59 and entering the sixth decade of my life and I finally found something I’m passionate about. I’m glad you share the same passion! Bambiland Loving is my name. So nice to come across your website!Reply
  • rosebudforgloryFebruary 9, 2018 3:47 pmI think there are many who are still wait to find that one special person who either already shares the love we have for our hobby whether it be violets, roses, orchids, horses, painting, music…whatever it may be. Or the one who is perfectly content to love us enough to totally embrace that which makes our heart sing. Whether 40, 60, or 80, love is the same, maybe a little toasty in youth, maybe a little sweeter later in life – but still that which can make us deliciously happy for all our days. For all who desire that special joy called love, may they find it for now and forever.Reply
  • Nadene CarterJune 15, 2016 9:30 pmWhat a lovely love story. To share a life with someone who shares your interests would be so close to heaven. After years and years of being away from African Violets I made my order from you and am impatiently waiting for my violets to arrive tomorrow or the next day. I am so heartsick with tending flowers outside only to have my husband come along with his herbicide and eliminate hours and days of hard work because he thought they were “weeds”. At least inside I will have control over my Violets. Thank you!

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