By TYLER MASK
Nearly 10 years ago, Penny Wells, owner of Penny's Flower Shop in Mineral Wells and Mineral Wells native, received one of the greatest gifts of her life. Wells' Mother, Loyce Berry, spent years preparing this special gift.
When Berry began experiencing the early phases of Alzheimer’s, she finally decided it was time to unveil her long-kept secret.
Much to Wells' surprise, her mother had created a scrapbook through the years, detailing highlights of Well's career as a florist. Well's said her parents were always proud of her work.
“She told me one day, 'I've been keeping this album for you,'” Wells said. “It's very touching.”
The scrapbook dates back nearly 29 years ago when Wells first opened shop inside the Baker Hotel. The span of the scrapbook covers the nine years she spent at the Baker, and continues to this day, as Wells still adds content occasionally. Although March 1, officially marks 29 years for Wells and her scrapbook, her story doesn't start there.
When Wells reached her early 20s, she chose to go straight into the workforce, and floral work was her choice from the very beginning. Her foot in the door is owed to John Hampton, owner of the old Cox Florist, when he reluctantly gave Wells a chance.
“I went to Cox Florist, and asked the man for a job,” Wells said. “He said, 'No,' they didn't hire inexperienced people because they would train them, then they would quit.”
Two weeks later, Wells received a call from Hampton offering her a job. The only stipulation was Wells had to work for low pay. $1.50 an hour.
Wells gladly accepted the job because she desired the experience and it was the only way to enter the field at the time.
“I don't know how anybody could learn if you didn't let them come to work,” Wells said. “Back then, you didn't hear of design schools and all that, you just went to work in a flower shop.”