On this day, on a little corner in Southeast Portland, there was love.
Yvonne and Rocco Jaconis, married 39 years, made sure of it.
Yvonne is dying of an inoperable brain tumor. She and Rocco, both regulars at Grand Central’s Sellwood bakery, liked nothing more than to walk the four blocks from their home, pick out a pastry, chat with the staff and settle in. Yvonne especially loved watching mothers and children enjoy a treat and share time in a cozy place.
As her condition worsened in recent weeks, Yvonne was no longer able to come to the bakery. Rocco’s daily delivery of coffee and a Grand Central Monkey Muffin was a bright spot in her routine.
Last week, Rocco stopped by the bakery and pulled manager Travis Eby aside. Yvonne was not doing well, he said. Could they please buy cookies to give to all the children who came the bakery on Valentine’s Day?
Great idea, replied Travis. But let me see what I can do. Soon it was decided: Yes to the cookies, but Grand Central would donate them.
Late last week, the pastry team got to work baking 100 frosted pink hearts with messages of love.
Yvonne’s daughter brought colored paper and crayons to the bakery, asking that Sellwood customers consider making Yvonne a hand-drawn Valentine and leaving it in a pretty decorated box at the counter.
On Valentine’s Day, as sun started to poke through the Portland clouds, the Sellwood bakery filled with customers young and old, many of them hunched over their tables writing messages to Yvonne. Kids munched on pink decorated hearts. One man was so moved after hearing Yvonne’s story, he ran out to buy flowers and delivered them, along with a large paper heart, to the family’s front porch.
Love was in the air.
A letter posted on the pastry case explained Yvonne’s wish and thanked Travis and everyone at the bakery.
It closed with this:
“Remember that each day is a good day and don’t forget to share some love on this beautiful Valentine’s.”