Every good thing that has happened in my career, has happened because of The Bewitched Book, which was first published in 1992.
After 75 rejections, and two cancellations, and following years of research and writing, I was just so appreciative of its publication - so much so, that I wanted to somehow "give back to the Universe" in kind.
One of the ways I did that was by planting flowers in the front of St. Anthony of Padua's Church. I had attended St. Anthony's School following a turbulent year at St. Augustine's and seven long happy years at St. Peter and Paul's.
St. Anthony's was special for many reasons. My eighth grade class was small (16 or 17, I believe) - and we bonded more closely because of it. St. Anthony's was close to the original location of Martucello's Bakery, which use to sell awesome personal pizza's for 50 cents. St. Anthony's was the church that my family attended after St. Pete's had closed, and which had also cojoined with St. Patrick's, our original parish (boy - we sure made our way 'round the saints, uh?). St. Anthony's was also located across from Jones Park, a mini-Lost Horizon amidst the city bounds, and also close by was Al's Stand (and their awesome lengthy and rectangular hamburgers). In essence, St. Anthony's was in the "old neighborhood."
So, I planted those flowers in the front...and cleared a path around the front of the walk-way and contoured a line of white stones.
I sacrificed much for that Bewitched Book, leaving LA and returning to Rochester to complete it. Upon that return, I didn't even have a car. So, when I planted those flowers in front of St. Athony's, I promised myself that I would water them. At the time, that meant taking a bus 12 miles down Lake Avenue from where I once again lived with my parents in Greece, NY, and then walking another mile-and-a-half to St. Anthony's.
Certain days, my father would take me - or I would bum a ride from a friend. But most days, in that glorious summer of 1992 - I took the bus.
I was just so happy to water those flowers, and I took so much pride in the path of those white stones.
Statues of St. Anthony, Jesus and the Blessed Mother surrounded the exterior of the church. And I would pray in front of each one as I tended to my new adopted garden.
Down deep, on some subconscious level, I knew that I had planted more than just a few flowers and sprinkled more than just a row of white stones.