Cornell Johnson, 1937-2011

I took this photo back in March, on the first truly warm day of the year. This little place, The Flower Stall, has been my favorite shop in the City since I discovered it a handful of months ago. Directly to the left of the frame, the owner Mr. Cornell Edwards was leaning in the doorway, watching me with warm curiosity as I snapped this shot and went on my way.

Today, I wish more than anything that I had shifted my view the few centimeters it would have taken to capture the man himself.
As I was passing by on my way from the post office, hoping to catch a glimpse of Mr. Edward's sweet old cat, I noticed that the doors were shut tight. A cluster of dried flowers and a memorial sign in the window confirmed my fears: barely three weeks after I took this photo, Cornell Edwards passed away.

I wish I had taken the time to speak properly with this kind old gentleman, whom people describe as a true bastion of the neighborhood. Mr. Edwards opened his shop in 1967 and had been there ever since, in the beautiful old tenement building shared with Stock Vintage. My heart aches with regret that I didn't unearth this treasure years ago, but I know I will take the greatest care of the little cactus I bought there. It is my very favorite. Thank you Mr. Edwards! I'll never forget you or your "world green with plant life right on 13th Street." And while we're remembering Mr. Edwards, take a moment to read his memory of a long ago Mother's Day, and understand why he'll be missed.

Edited to add: this amazing photo of Mr. Edwards by John Galayda, found via One Horse Town.


Hannah said...

Aw. Poor Mr. Edwards, He had the cutest shop -Wish I could have seen a photo of him!

This is a lovely post :)

My said...

what a beautiful shop!

Jess said...

So sad. At least he was one of those rare people who spent their life doing something they truly loved. It's very inspiring.

Kate said...

Very sad, but how lovely to be remembered in this way by near strangers. I love all the cacti - the best kind of flower shop sells cacti.

Crystal Lee said...

What a wonderful shop & a touching story for mother's day! He seems like a genuine, sweet old man -- the kind of person that really contributes to the beauty in life.

herecomesthesun said...

I have only just now seen the pictures of you in the Bows & Bandits lookbook and I just wanted to say you are so beautiful :)

MissLauraHueto said...

Oh...Then I guess we can only do our best to remember him and honour his life... :)

Alicia said...

what a nice shop! so inspiring! I think he was happy surrounded by these beautiful plants.