Social media these days have become a window to so many heart warming stories of love between humans and animals; this is one such story which I was lucky enough to encounter and wanted to share with everyone.
Northeast United States, otherwise known as New England is fascinating in many ways. Be its four distinct weather, its natural beauty, beautiful big and small cities or the people itself, every time, exploring each of its different facet enlightens me more. I have been fortunate enough to travel and explore a lot of New England.
A couple of weeks ago, in one such trips, by serendipity I came across a unique gift shop. How was it serendipitous you ask; well, my friend’s parents are visiting the states and we had spent the day at Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire. On our way back, they wanted to buy a souvenir. Every gift and souvenir shops on the way were closed and I was frantically searching for one on the google maps. That is when the pin on google map dropped on “Twin Designs Gift Shop”. The store hours didn’t show up and it was about 5 mile diversion. We decided to take a chance and thus reached the store and were glad to see that they were open.
It is situated in a town called Bristol in New Hampshire. The first thing I noticed when I entered the store was how well organized it was. As I browsed through the stuff, I found a lot of big and small turtle models made of all kind of materials like glass, ceramic, wood and even a few crystal ones. While I was looking around I was greeted by the store owners, brothers definitely, may be twins, I thought to myself. They are probably the nicest and genuinely warmest store owners I have ever met!
As I looked more, there were photographs and illustrated cards referring the turtle as Diane! Now I was curious, before asking about it, I started looking more and found a children book called “The Story of Diane the Turtle and the boy who grew up with her” and read through it. Its written by Jim Tonner who turns out to be the boy who grew up with Diane and its illustrated by his twin brother, (yeah! I was right!) Brad Tonner. And they happen to be the cool store owners! They invited me inside to meet Diane.
Diane is 46 years old and has been with the Tonner family since the beginning. The brothers celebrated her 45th birthday last year by throwing a big party. She has her own room in the store and it is filled with photographs of people who visited Diane (and a hell lot of them), messages for Diane and a wall full of birthday messages along with her big aquarium.
What moved me to write about it, is besides the fact that I was impressed by the things the brothers have done, one could literally feel the love of the brothers towards their turtle. They published books about her story, they have made impressive merchandise; not only they have nurtured and taken care of the turtle for all these years but they have turned her to a local legend.
I was lucky and fortunate enough to stumble upon the shop and meet the amazing brothers and their turtle. Next time you are around the area in New Hampshire, definitely drop in and have a look yourself how amazing the feeling is.