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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

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Bonnie Stanke pushes the pencil.
Bonnie Stanke pushes the pencil.
The base of the sculpture features a calculator. Or is it an adding machine?
The base of the sculpture features a calculator. Or is it an adding machine?
Stanke, of course, gives pencils to her clients.
Stanke, of course, gives pencils to her clients.
OK, you get the point.
OK, you get the point.

Massive yard pencil makes a point

In 2000, accountant Bonnie Stanke bought a house on the corner of 93nd and Howard Streets to use as office space for her business, B.M.S. Management Services.

In front of the house stood a 40-foot pine tree, and even though she displayed the address in three different places, clients had a difficult time finding the house because the massive tree obstructed their view.

"I really hated to cut it down," says Stanke.

About a year later, at 2 a.m., Stanke got an idea while working on tax forms. She thought, "Why don't we make the tree into a pencil?"

"Pushing the pencil," after all, is an old expression that means working on paperwork, something Stanke does a lot of.

So Stanke contacted "Frank The Woodcarver" on 130th and Cleveland Avenue, to come over and look at the tree. She told him her idea.

"He said, 'Bonnie, I think we can do this,'" says Stanke.

The transition from tree-to-pencil took two months. After the leaves and branches were removed, the tree had to sit for two months drying and curing before Frank could carve and paint it.

"Basically, I had a 16-foot stump in my front yard; my neighbors thought I was crazy," she says.

Finally, Frank was able to create the pencil. He also carved a calculator at the base of the sculpture. Today, the huge yard pencil is a destination for kids and families as well as a helpful landmark for Stanke's clients.

"I tell them, 'I'm located on the corner of 93rd and Howard, there's a 14-foot giant pencil in the yard. You can't miss it,'" she says.

Talkbacks

quickened | Aug. 20, 2012 at 3:10 p.m. (report)

devidia,

hahaha! I needed that laugh today!

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devidia | Aug. 20, 2012 at 8:26 a.m. (report)

Could you imagine the size of the ceiling tile you could stick that thing in?

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