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.
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