A bowl of persimmons and a long walk through Funks Grove cemented a friendship that has inspired a new book from a local author.
“Grandma Wink’s Memories” is by Jan Turner, and features illustrations from artist Jan Holder. Turner wanted to share the story of her dear friend, who was a profound nature lover.
“I met her at a potluck,” Turner remembered with a smile. “And she was going around with a bowl full of persimmons. I had never heard of persimmons before. I tried one and it’s nice and dense and sweet, like a date. It was just wonderful, and I liked it. And then we became friends.”
“The first time I went to her house it was like coming home. I walked up to the steps and there was a maple tree, and she had below Bleeding Heart and Twin Leaf and daffodils. And then down in her backyard, along her fence, were all her herbs, sage, oregano and thyme. So, she taught me a lot about herbs.”
An avid gardener and nature explorer, Grandma Wink invited Turner to join her on a ramble through Funks Grove one afternoon.
“There we went to the back part where the skunk cabbage is, and just taught me a lot of things. She was my mentor and my best friend for probably 20 years.”
Turner said she decided to immortalize Grandma Wink in a book in order to share her passion for the natural world and her ongoing curiosity concerning nature. To help share the story of the nature lover, Turner turned to her friend, artist Jan Holder, to create illustrations for the book.
“Jan and I are friends. She goes hiking with me and loves nature, too. And she was a Bloomington Junior High art teacher for many years.”
Holders’s watercolor illustrations depict not just Grandma Wink, but the nature she loved. From cardinals flitting through a tomato patch to squirrels digging up nuts to a fanciful rendering of Grandma Wink’s memories swirling from her back pocket, the paintings bring Turner’s prose to colorful life.
Currently, “Grandma Wink’s Memories” is available through Turner's Facebook page for the book. She is scheduled to appear with Jan Holder at the Eaton Gallery in downtown Bloomington on Friday, Jan. 3 during First Friday. Copies of the book will be for sale and guests can create their own nature-themed art.
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