By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Rachel Tetzlaff’s grandmother Barbara was her sunshine.
So in honour of the kindly woman, who passed away in October 2019, Tetzlaff and her husband Greg Blonde planted a field of sunflowers on Caledonia Road outside Chatham for the public to enjoy.
“We’ve talked about it for a few years,” Rachel told The Chatham Voice. “And with COVID, we decided to go for it.
“It’s an opportunity for families to get outside, and we hope it brings a little bit of sunshine.”
Aptly named the “Field of Sunshine,” the plot consists of rows tall yellow flowers, marked by cut pathways and even featuring a rusty-red 1954 Dodge pickup.
The truck serves as a climbing apparatus for the young, while also providing a near perfect photo opportunity for everyone else.
However, the Field of Sunshine has a secondary purpose. It’s a fundraiser for the Chatham-Kent Hospice, the place where Barbara Tetzlaff spent her last days.
The younger Tetzlaff was impressed with how well her grandmother was treated there.
“They took such great care of her,” Rachel added. “This is a way to give back and honour her.”
Born in Leamington in 1933 and married to Ken – the couple were jokingly referred to as ‘Barbie and Ken’ – Barbara was known for helping whenever and whomever she could.
“She was such as sweet lady,” Rachel added. “She did everything for everybody, whether it was making lunch for people, or baking muffins and cookies.
“This is a tribute to her.”
Hundreds have visited the field in the past three weeks and all are welcome until the flowers are past their prime.
A donation box for Chatham-Kent Hospice is located on site, but people can make online donations at firstname.lastname@example.org.