This is the 2nd installment of my trip down memory lane when I owned a flower shop in Sacramento, CA. Read Part 1 here. The story continues as I had just received my very first order for funeral flowers.
What were you doing when you were 19? Do you remember? I bet you do! One year out of high school, full of hope and expectation for your life ahead. Were you living your dream? I wasn’t. Far from it. At age 19, I was living my nightmare.
After my landlord left my shop that fateful day in 1978, I was filled with both the exhilaration of receiving orders for large funeral arrangements and the utter dread of having no earthly idea how to make these FOUR arrangements.
- Red Rose Casket Spray
- ‘Bleeding’ Cross
- ‘Bleeding’ Heart (open)
- ‘Bleeding’ Heart (solid)
This was 1978, Folks. I didn’t have the internet. I didn’t know any florists. I went to the library and found a lovely Better Homes & Gardens book on arranging garden flowers. No help there, either.
When I first opened the shop, I practiced making arrangements out of the little FTD brochure. I could do about 3 different styles.
Not that I was an FTD shop. Oh, Lord! Far from it! FTD had stringent standards for their shops. I just used their freebie full- color pocket brochure to copy from for inspiration.
Then I broadened my repertoire. I’d drive around to other shops at night after closing, peek in their windows and see what designs they had in their cold box.
Eventually I got fairly adept with the standard designs.
Ok, let’s be real. I got good at sticking stems into that green squishy foam, Oasis. Sometimes the stems would even form a shape that resembled a floral arrangement.
People even paid me money for these.
Ah, but I digress from the funeral planned for the lady who didn’t need a funeral. Yet.
But, eventually, she did. Need a funeral, that is.
And I was not ready. Or prepared. At all.
Of course, that didn’t matter because I had already taken the orders. And the deposit. Money is a funny thing. Quite the motivator, isn’t it?
Yep, I trudged downtown to one of two Sacramento floral wholesalers to order flowers and buy supplies for the FOUR large funeral arrangements. That I had no idea how to make. Or even what to buy to make them.
I could’ve gone to the San Francisco Flower Mart, but that would’ve meant getting up at 4 a.m., driving 2 hours, buying the flowers, driving back for 2 more hours, and then working in the shop for 8 more. Uh, no thank you.
I could’ve ordered the flowers from a grower, but I would’ve had to have known what they were called, what colors they came in, and how many were in a ‘market bunch’.
No, thanks. I’ll just go to the Sacramento wholesaler and point at what I want, thank you very much.
So that’s just what I did.
And thank goodness I did, too, because one of the wholesaler guys used to be a floral designer and could tell I had no clue what I was doing.
The jig was up.