GOFFSTOWN, NH – The parking lot at Goffstown Hardware was empty Sunday night, except for a few cars and a gathering of friends in a far corner. Buckets of flowers – roses, carnations and daisies – illuminated by spotlights under the glow of a propane heater were being fashioned into two hearts, and a peace sign.
One heart for a life taken too soon; the other, for a life that will never be the same.
All of it meant to somehow fill the space “through creative energy and loving intention,” that one week ago, was nothing but heartache.
Peace for the families involved. Peace for a community that must find a way back to hope.
Alyssa Van Guilder’s place, Apotheca Flower and Tea Shoppe, sits directly across from the parking lot where Memorial High senior Ian Jewell was shot and killed on Nov. 19. Her shop has, for 13 years, been a retreat and a refuge for locals, many of whom are teenagers.
Many of them either knew Ian Jewell, or the Goffstown High student who has been charged with his murder. His name has not been released by authorities, nor the circumstances that led to the fatal shooting. But in a small town like this, there are no secrets.
Van Guilder put out the word “quietly” via social media earlier on Sunday, for anyone who was available to join in constructing a floral installation. A soundtrack was provided by Alli Beaudry, who sung a few Beatles tunes while people selected flowers in colors of sunshine and love, and slid them into a floral oasis:
There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all
One heart will be delivered to Memorial High School on Monday. The other will remain in the parking lot, along with the peace sign, affixed to a wooden platform built by Elaine Hamel of Girls At Work. And there is a lock box, note papers and pens. Van Guilder invites anyone so inclined to come and write a message for the families – of peace, of love, of life after tragedy, of hope in a time of darkness.
Patti Linnett-Tuttle, whose daughter attends Goffstown High, said she wanted to come just to “play with the flowers.”
“I used to work at Apotheca. This is exactly the reason Alyssa opened this place. It’s a place to gather,” Linnett-Tuttle says. “Anything that breaks a community’s heart, there has to be a balance to that. Anything you can do to lift them up – there will always be tears – but if you can find a way to smile between the tears, that’s what a community does.”
The flowers will remain in the parking lot at 5 Depot St., along with the memory box, for at least the next few days. Van Guilder says she will come up with a way to share the messages with the families of the two teenagers. All are welcome to stop by.