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.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.