It will be difficult for me to summarize all the mementos and the memories associated with them in just one post. As there are fewer items on the inside, I will start with that first.
Someone of you may have noticed a paraphrasing of one of Gandalf the Grey’s lines for the first Lord of the Rings movie. It was important to keep the one ring secret and safe until he could figure out what to do. It is somewhat apt as it remains important to keep BTA safe but now it not the time to keep it secret but to spread the word about its bright future and the work ahead.
The wizard motif was chosen for a reason. It was a nickname given to me by several of my staff from a previous career that has kind of stuck with me. It is also why you will find a copy of the Wizard of Oz on the bookshelf. Besides being my favorite movie, BTA is a magical place over the rainbow. Although it seems a wizard is required to run it, in the end the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Man prove they are up to the task.
The stationary itself is quite a story. One of my first efforts at the Arboretum was to understand Colonel Thompson’s vision. I read the Magnate, letters and pretty much all the Board minutes and correspondence from 1928 on. To hearken back to the olden times and to honor them, we decided stationary was needed for the Arboretum, especially for me to write my famous clearly legible letters on. The golden emblem was designed by the Colonel and we copied it from his breakfast china which is on display in the Smith Building. The font and color of the printing was matched to the very first business letterhead of the Arboretum, which was incorporated in 1928. Finally, my ink was chosen after an endless search of blues to match the printer’s blue. For those who care, the blue ink I used was from a company called “Private Reserve Ink” and I stocked up on Electric DC Blue.
For those enough of you that are observant, the actual ink in the picture is scented ink from Mont Blanc. I purchased it to write letters in the month of February and those that remember my tour that month for the “Language of Flowers” may also remember smelling the fragrant rose scent of the ink. I purchased the ink in November 2012 and for Christmas, Staff gave me the matching scented green ink.
Although I have a Mont Blanc pen as a graduation gift from my father, I purchased a Pelikan for my daily use at the Arboretum. It was from the Scottsdale Pen Company, where several awards for staff were also purchased for the Annual Awards party. The letter opener with the lotus and mermaid was a gift to me from there as well.
The beautiful card was from John Trager, Curator of Desert Collections at The Huntington. John and his Director Jim Folsom have been big supporters of the Arboretum over the years. When we visited the Huntington, we were in awe of their collection. So, it was always a pleasure to seem them marvel at BTA and appreciate what we have as well. Having friends and admirers like them does wonders for one’s confidence. John wrote the letter as a thank you since he visited us after speaking at the Central Arizona Cactus and Succulent Society’s (CACSS) meeting. They have such an amazing list of guest speakers every year, it was an honor for me to be included this year as a speaker with both John and Cathy Babcock, our Director of Horticulture. The CACSS has been such a great supporter and partner, I cannot thank them enough for spreading the word about the importance of plants in our lives.
The other picture is a miniature of the one hanging in my office and is my favorite picture of the Picket Post House. I tell everyone it was taken in February 1928. This was the picture that explained why the Colonel spent $20,000 ish in 1923 and 1924 to build the Picket Post House and $22,000 in 1929. This is one of the few pictures taken from the west prior to the 1929 remodel. You can see the cistern for Ayer Lake in the picture, so it was after 1926. Since it generally snows in February, it could be 1927 but I always pick 1928.
Finally, the Yoga Joe is a gift from my daughter last Christmas. Yoga and meditation have been a big part of my life the last 4 years and it shows that even old Marines can stay limber. It also seems to be toy of choice on my desk when people get a little bored during staff meetings.