The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. (Chinese Proverb)
Irvington has always been a leafy neighborhood. The founders of the community had an expectation that residents would plant trees. Some of those early trees still shade the narrow streets. Century-old maples, oaks, catalpas, and numerous other species can be found throughout the area. When Rodolfo (Rudy) and Christina Garza purchased the bungalow at 44 South Arlington Avenue in 1970, they noticed that the front yard was bereft of trees. While they did have a beautiful persimmon tree in the backyard, the couple wished for some shade or beauty along Arlington. In 1974, they traveled to visit a friend's property in Trafalgar, Indiana with the idea of digging up a few saplings for their Irvington property. Christina wanted dogwood trees, but they couldn't seem to locate any so they settled on two small white pine trees. They loaded the two evergreens atop their long Ford station wagon and drove home. Mr. Garza planted the pines and over the years the family marveled at the fast growth of the trees.
Mrs. Garza particularly liked to use the branches and pinecones to decorate the home at Christmas. Over the years, their children enjoyed racing around the trees and in some cases jumping over them which is why one tree is shorter than the other. As the trees matured, the utility company asked the Garzas to trim some of the lower branches so that the water meter could be read properly. By 2021, both trees were still standing at four and five-stories tall despite some harsh winter winds and strong summer storms. The half-a-century-old trees could live for another fifty to one hundred years.
|Rodolfo (Rudy) Garza proudly posed next to one of his pine trees after a winter storm in 1980. Behind Mr. Garza, you can seen the wintry scene at the intersection of South Arlington and Julian Avenues. (photo courtesy of the Garza family)|
|In 2021, the white pine trees planted by the Garza family in 1974 now tower over the small bungalow at 44 South Arlington Avenue. (photo William Gulde)|
I wish to thank Rudy and Christina Garza, Regina Garza Ruopoli, and Jon Oliger for photos and information regarding this post.