Last fall, Debra Kandrak had an idea.
She wanted everyone in town to plant daffodils.
“Imagine driving through Westport and seeing thousands of daffodils around mailboxes, on the roadside, in front of stores,” she said. “It would be so pretty. And they can be in honor of loved ones, so they’re even more meaningful.”
She got commercial landlord David Waldman on board. Laurelrock and Northeast Horticulture, which maintain several traffic islands, joined in. So did the Westport Garden Club, town officials, businesses, and plenty of random Westporters.
As she drove around last spring — when the town was laid low by the coronavirus — Debra was heartened to see thousands of new daffodils.
The residents on Soundview Drive had planted hundreds of beautiful flowers along the beach exit road. Project Return planted them in front of their North Compo shelter. They sprouted in front of The Learning Community School on Hillspoint Road, at the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge, and at dozens of other spots, both public and private.
Now, Debra announced the 2nd annual “Paint the Town Yellow” campaign. This year’s theme: Every daffodil represents a stand against bullying.
“Bullying destroys lives,” Debra says. “It chips away at someone’s self-esteem. As you plant flowers with your children, teach them empathy, not excess.
“Our country is in turmoil. Let Westport, show the world that we practice kindness, compassion and empathy. We can do this!”
Debra asks residents, committees, businesses and the town of Westport to plant daffodils “in front of your home, around the mailbox post, by street signs, at your store or office — everywhere!”
She would love to see schools get involved. (Parents can donate daffodils, she suggests).
Last spring, when we desperately needed to be uplifted, daffodils did the trick. No one knows what this spring will bring.
Except many more daffodils.
(To contact Debra directly, email Debra.Kandrak@raveis.com)