A Kentucky man who stole hydrangeas from Nashville's Centennial Park to give to his mother in 1958 has now replanted the flowers in her memory, using plants from the garden she started with her son's gift.
In 1958, Billy Teitleff was an 18-year-old newlywed who couldn't afford to buy flowers for Mother's Day, Nashville's 2 News reports. When a friend decided to "borrow" some hydrangeas from the park for his own mother, Teitleff did the same.
"As we came out on West End, I heard a siren," Teitleff, now 73, told Nashville's News 2. "I said to [my friend] Robert, 'There's a scarf in the back, get it and put it on, lean on my shoulder like we're boy and girl.'"
Teitleff escaped the police, but he couldn't escape his own conscience. According to WPLN News, the deed weighed on him for years, and when he wrote about it for a memoir project in 1973, a woman helping him put the book together made him promise to go back and make things right.
Now, Teitleff has finally followed through on that vow, and thanks the people of Nashville for accepting his apology.
"I knew it was wrong. I thought all along that I was borrowing them. But this stayed with me all this time," Teitleff told WSMV-TV Nashville. "Now it's been 54 years, and I've got the root and same flowers that they have accepted back now. This doesn't clear what I did. That's between me and him (points to the sky). But this is between me and the people here at the park, and they've accepted wholeheartedly."
The nikko blue flowers, brought all the way from his mother's farm in Joy, Kentucky, are the only hydrangeas in the park's garden.
Watch the original video report below:
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