The funny thing about fate is that it has a way of circling back around in people's lives when you least expect it. But for inanimate objects, too?
That's exactly what happened when three colorful paintings of historical Tehachapi homes found their way out of the estate of their artist and into the welcoming arms of current homeowners.
In 2017, Gene Stirm, a long-time Tehachapi resident and well-known artist, created what he called The Lilac Series, which is a collection of three paintings featuring three historic homes: The Yellow House on Curry Street, The Blue Shutter House on the corner of Curry and D streets,and The Errea House, an annex of the Tehachapi Museum, located on Green Street.
Stirm began working as a commercial artist in 1971 after receiving formal art training. He has created fine art paintings in oil and watercolor, ceramics, sculpting, jade carving, lapidary and jewelry making, and has authored five books.
His work has been featured locally in Gallery 'N' Gifts and at the Errea House, where he displayed his Art on the Menu collection of America's top menu designs, his Painted Ladies collection and his Lilac Series.
Recently, Stirm lost his beloved wife of 47 years, Patricia Stirm, so he decided it was time to settle his estate in Tehachapi and move to Germany to live with his only daughter, Malinda, her husband, Stefan Möller, and granddaughter Bethany, all previous residents of Tehachapi.
"When my wife died in February of this year, I called on the Go2Girlz and Michele (Borquez) for help," Stirm said. "I couldn’t have moved to Germany without their help. Michele, her team and family are truly a blessing."
While liquidating Stirm's belongings, Borquez, who is the owner and proprietor of Girl2Girlz Estates, came across the trio of original lilac paintings.
"After holding one estate sale for him, we still had the three paintings, and I wanted to make sure that they went to the right place," Borquez said.
It was then that Borquez decided she would purchase the paintings herself from Stirm, which she would, in turn, donate to the current homeowners and to the Errea House.
"When she asked if she could purchase the three paintings... and donate the painting to homes owners, I agreed," Stirm said. "They are a part of Tehachapi and my life in Tehachapi. My loving wife sat behind me as I painted them, and she is a part of them as well."
The homeowner of The Yellow House, Jerrie Stark, is a neighbor of the Go2Girlz Antique Boutique, located at 211 S. Curry St.
Said Borquez, "I told my neighbor I was going to present it (The Yellow House painting) to her and she is so excited!"
Margaret Iversen, the current homeowner of The Blue Shutter House on the corner of Curry and D streets, was surprised to learn of the donation; however, she decided to donate it to The Errea House so that it may be viewed by the public along with the third painting.
"Gene Stirm has always been a supporter of the museum, and we carry his prints and photos that he donated to us as a fundraiser," said Charles White, president of the Tehachapi Heritage League and curator of the Tehachapi Museum and Errea House.
All three paintings will be featured during the next First Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. June 7 at the Tehachapi Museum.
"We wanted to do something nice for the community and we wanted the paintings to fall into the right hands.," Borquez said.
For more information about Go2Girlz, the service they provide to the community, or Gene Stirm's artwork and prints still available, call 238-5355 or visit go2girlz.org.