Anna Barkman’s Apple Tree

I’m not sure when the apple tree at the corner of Barkman Avenue and Elmdale Street first caught my attention. It might’ve been when Andrew and I moved from our rental, to a home of our own. Suddenly my frequent walking route was taking me straight down Barkman Ave… and I noticed this huge, beautiful tree in the middle of a green patch of lawn, by Medo-Lawn Apartments. And I noticed it had a plaque. I went over to read it:

“This apple tree was planted in 1906 by Anna Barkman as part of her backyard fruit garden. It is Steinbach’s oldest apple tree.”

I tried to imagine what Anna’s backyard fruit garden would’ve looked like, right there in that space, in 1906.

Were there other trees? An orchard?

This is an interesting tree because it has two main trunks… and they alternate productive seasons. One year half the tree will be full of blooms and heavy with apples, and the next year will be the other half’s turn. In late summer, the lawn under the tree is carpeted with apples. (Why does no one call Fruit Share Steinbach to pick this tree, I wonder? Whose responsibility would that be?)

I remembered learning that the “B” in my grandpa’s middle name stood for “Barkman”, which had been his mother’s maiden name.

And so, when I discovered this beautiful, interesting, very old apple tree with a lovely plaque, I became curious. Am I the same “kind” of Barkman as the woman who planted that tree?

I consulted with Grandma’s Window because of course I did. I learned that while I’m not descended from Anna Barkman, she is my great-great-great-aunt.

Now when I walk by that tree, I look at it and think, “Wow! My great-great-great-aunt planted that. My grandpa’s great-aunt. The sister to my grandpa’s grandpa. Wow.” Because my brain is nerdy like that.

Last year, tragedy befell this tree. One of the main trunks of the tree had broken off. My heart hurt when I saw this. I was hopeful that someone would call a tree doctor and this break would be healed…

But we all know trees don’t work like that.

The next day, I saw the broken part of the tree sawn off. Now only one half of the tree continues to stand.