In the Summer of 1779 the land of Tatum Park near Middletown, NJ was a small farm owned by a family that was struggling to just keep the farm running. To make matters worse, British soldiers were occupying their land. Young Emily had a magnificent garden of native flowers, but the wildflowers that grew in the meadows were her favorite. Emily watched with irritation as the troops made camp in a field that was being allowed to grow natural that season. They crushed down her beloved wildflowers & greedily ate the berries she had been cultivating all Spring.
One of the soldiers took notice & saved a large bouquet of flowers, which he presented to her one morning. Despite their differences, the two fell in love. Though she never tried to change his mind, her love of the land was infectious & soon after being deployed into battle the young soldier defected to the Colonial Army. He promised to marry her when he returned. He wrote to Emily frequently over the next year but one day the letters stopped coming. The years piled up, the war ended & she lost hope & began to despair. She was inconsolable. As Emily’s health began to fail so did the farm. Crops withered, fruits dried on the vine & not a flower could be seen on the property.
On the occasion of the first frost in 1783 Emily took a walk in the North East meadow, sat down to rest under a willow tree & never woke up. She was buried in that same meadow. On Christmas Eve of that season her lover finally returned. He had been captured by the British & sent over seas as a prisoner of war. The revolution ended before he could stand trial & eventually he was able to make his way back to the colonies. Her soldier was saddened when he heard the news of her death but war had hardened him & he could shed no tears. Emily’s mother led him to the gravesite. As he knelt by Emily’s final resting place, her Mother placed a bundle of dried flowers alongside the headstone. The soldier recognized the flowers as the very bouquet he gave her when they first met. His heart finally broke & he began to weep.
On the first day of Spring life returned to the farm when a lone Morning Glory bloom unfolded to greet the dawn. It had sprouted alongside Emily’s grave where her love’s tears fell to earth.