There are some days that linger with you in your own personal shortlist of vivid memories. No matter how much time has passed, one trigger can bring on the visceral feelings – a combination of emotions, thoughts and memories. They wash over you like a wave at the Jersey Shore in July. The day that my husband Mike proposed to me is one of those days. And the trigger? The smell of roses and the sight of Lu from The Green Room in Westfield.
Let me back up. Mike proposed to me on a Wednesday in June. I remember that it was a Wednesday because it was just kind of an average day, nothing to write home about. I was off for the summer (a perk of being a Westfield High School teacher) and out and about running errands. When I finally came back to our home on Charles Street, I had been exhausted by the suburban jungle. My hands were full with the day’s dry cleaning pick-up and way too many grocery bags. As I was juggling with my keys, trying to let myself in, I heard Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it On playing behind the door. Slightly annoyed that the blaring music was masking my cellophane-garment-bag-muffled-half-knocks and urgent calls for Mike to come help (btw–I was thinking – who plays Marvin Gaye on a Wednesday evening? And at that volume?!). I yelled, Gaye crooned.
Flustered, I finally managed to open the lock on the dilapidated door of our rental, busting in to a sight that took the breath right out of my throat. Laid before me were the petals of dozens and dozens of red roses spread neatly in the shape of a path, suggestively leading me toward the kitchen. Following the petals led me to Mike, who was stoically planted on one knee, in a suit, staring up at me with equal parts love and nerves, “hey, what took you so long?”
The path of petals were the last step in the planning process for Mike. He took a trip to The Green Room, a florist that he’d passed for years and often used (which was then located on Elm Street in Downtown). Lucille (we affectionately call her Lu) Imperial, the owner, knew Mike was on a mission when he stepped in her store and happily provided him with all the rose petals she could muster, and that he could carry. 95 in all.
Now fast forward to the opening of my Design Studio and Mike’s Michael Robert Construction office at the corner of West Broad Street and South Avenue where we restored a formerly crumbling, but well-traveled corner of town. Next door, a small inviting retail space was available and a stream of interested renters would stop into our place from time to time to meet us and ask about the area.
One day I was walking back to my car on the street and saw one of the would-be neighbors. It was Lu! She was standing in that empty storefront. That familiar rush of emotion hit me. And again, she managed to take my breath away. She was thinking of moving her flower shop to this spot. She did and I could not imagine a more fabulous neighbor! How special for Mike and me (and all who pass by – have you seen her shop’s storefront? It’s positively dreamy!) to have someone who played a starring role in our love story move her business right next door to ours. It just felt right.
Lu continues to make beautiful and meaningful flower arrangements for locals (and Mike and me) after 15 years of being in business. Most recently she made my sister-in-law a stunning and ethereal flower crown for her bridal shower.
She is our go-to for client gifts and floral arrangements both decorative and congratulatory. You can just as easily walk in and order something as you can text, call or email her. She’ll deliver or arrange for pick-up at your convenience. The Green Room is truly an example of a local business that has stood the test of time, and has grown and changed to meet the town’s needs.
Local businesses like Lu’s can help beautify a community, liven up a neighborhood and if you’re lucky, conjure up fond memories that can simply take your breath away. For me, that is continuously reminding me of the day that Mike and I decided to spend the rest of our lives together.
About the Contributor
Ellie Mroz is the columnist for Westfield Area magazine. She and her husband are the superhero team behind Michael Robert Construction and Ellie Mroz Design based in Westfield.