Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Sunday, August 5, 2012

How Love Looks

You are looking at a chicken coop built for love 

John Gonyer just finished building this whimsical chicken coop for the love-of-his-life, Kary. The coop was a dream wish of Kary's for decades, and it had chickens scheduled for arrival. A stack of lumber still waits for the chicken run (what K-Bird called Highway 101) that was to be built last week. Kary knew exactly what she wanted and insisted on a "top-hat" for the coop to make it perfect. It is perfect! And, it is a tangible expression of the love John poured into Kary's life. He knew there was a possibility that she wouldn't live to see it completed, but he labored on it devotedly. She did see it, and it fed her hopes and dreams. This coop (schoolhouse) is what love looks like.

Kary ( is well known to many of you who followed her popular blog postings. You learned about Johnny, her sweetheart since high school, her cats, her wild birds, her garden and home, and her beloved dogs Butters and Teddy. Her passing has left a huge hole in many hearts and lives.

Kary piping frosting onto cookies we were baking in my tiny Cambria kitchen

Kary passed away last weekend after fighting an insurmountable battle with the most insidious and rarest of cancers.

I remember Kary as a long-legged teenager who mooned over John at the Country Club swimming pool where he was lifeguard. Then, I watched as she grew up and married her Johnny.

Some of her artistry

Kary was the first person to show up for my big move to Cambria in 1983. She whipped into my driveway to "fill up her car" with my things, but believe me, you can't jam much into a little Porsche. Kary was the first to know that I was marrying Jeff, my first employee at Heart's Ease, and the first to step up and help style shoots (and sometimes cook) for books and magazine articles. She was HILARIOUS! She had the funniest sense of humor of anyone I've ever known.

John took care of Kary for the past few months in a way that is indescribable. What she endured and what he carried on his back were a lifetime cargo of pain and sorrow.

Kary (right) and Susie Detweiler are adding antiques and style to the photo shoot

Left to right: Shawna McCormick, Susie Detweiler, Kary Gonyer, me, and photographer Lynn Karlin. We're setting up a shoot at the Cambria Pines Lodge, Cambria, California. 

We spent last evening (the one week anniversary of her passing) with John, his sister Roxanne, and dear mother Ellie. By gathering together in the garden Kary and John created, by laughing, telling stories, and crying, we all helped John (and ourselves) get through that tough time. 

Please leave John a comment on (my comments are closed), and let him know that you enjoyed Kary and loved her words and photos. Blogging meant so much to her, and John can use all the good thoughts and caring that you have to share.


P.S. It has come to my attention that someone is spreading false rumors. Before you pass judgment, please write and ask for the facts from someone who was present. 

Years ago a woman told me a story about her grandfather. She described him to me and said that she would always remember the most important thing he taught her. What was that? His simple words were "Be kind." Let's all remember his wisdom.