Jennifer Danny | The Agapanthus Are Blooming

Jennifer Danny

It’s June and the agapanthus are blooming. The vibrant purple flowers are something that have been a basic staple in my yard since I’ve lived here. 

But there is something else: These flowers adorned the landscape and walkway on 875 South Bundy Drive where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were brutally murdered on June 12, 1994. 

O.J. Simpson was arrested and charged with the crime of homicide. Known as the “Trial of the Century,” Simpson’s murder trial began on Jan. 24, 1995, and dominated the American news agenda until the verdict in October 1995. 

And we all know how that ended.  

The evidence at the crime scene included a set of keys, a dark blue knit cap, a beeper, a blood-spattered white envelope, and a bloodstained left-hand leather glove lying under the agapanthus plant only a few inches from Nicole’s body. The pathway covered in blood, and the purple flowers of the agapanthus lingered through the horrors of that night. 

Did you know that in some countries purple flowers are a sign of mourning? I guess that fateful evening the flowers were given that job as well.  

What struck me was, whenever a photo was shared, whether on the television or in the newspaper, the flowers stuck out each time. I will never forget seeing the contrast of what happened that night and what was shown in the days and weeks to come. I think about that and this month it will be 29 years since Nicole and Ron were murdered. Lives cut short, family members losing loved ones. Nicole’s children, Justin and Sydney, asleep in bed while their mom and Ron were viciously stabbed to death. I’ve often wondered how they coped with such a terrible loss.  

But the story of the agapanthus continues, in my view and mind anyway. In June 2014, I was invited to a graduation party for a young lady whose family was very close to mine. 

She had a difficult childhood filled with the ups and downs of a parent who suffered from addiction, and ultimately causing the marriage to dissolve. The other parent did a wonderful job keeping things as “normal” as could be and the extended family was bar none incredibly supportive, and to me that was comforting. I remember her telling me that she always wanted a canopy bed, with beautiful colors and she wanted it to be a princess bed. 

The party was held at her mom’s and her mom’s boyfriend’s house. They had been together for years and he too was divorced, and his daughter lived there as well. She was a little older, having graduated a couple years earlier. My sister and I arrived at the party, and we mingled among the guests. When I went into the backyard I saw along the edges of the perimeter agapanthus in full bloom, yes, the beautiful purple flowers, and in my heart, I knew how special this day was. 

I went back inside and looked at the house. It beamed with love and kindness. I walked to her bedroom and peaked inside. The canopy bed she had always wanted was there and beautifully decorated. It was fit for a princess.  

There were many parts of that day that seemed to mutually entwine themselves and show me that as hard as some of the things had been in her life, she had been able to rise above. In fact, her father who had struggled with addiction was also at the graduation party. He was dating someone, and everyone seemed to get along. 

I went over to her mom’s boyfriend, and I told him how nice the house was, and I pointed out the agapanthus in the backyard, and the canopy bed. I shared with him how much that meant for me to see those things. But most of all I thanked him for loving that young girl and providing a better environment. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and told me he loved her as if she were his own. 

I look back on that day and the comfort I felt seeing everything. I know that these two very different stories about the agapanthus are mutually exclusive, two lives ended abruptly and horrifically, and the other about a life rejuvenated with a sense of purpose and belonging. That’s how I’ve viewed those purple flowers through the years, and seeing them in bloom I am always reminded about those two events. 

Jennifer Danny is a Santa Clarita resident.

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