The Valentine window

The Valentine window on Long’s Hill

Sharon Hynes celebrates the holidays year-round. Her front window is a familiar sight to regulars in her neighbourhood, and with Valentine’s Day here, she has engineered a window display to warm even the snowiest of souls. Strings of heart lights glow a cherry red, and paper valentines are scattered about. In one corner, an illuminated heart pierced with cupid’s arrow flickers in the window. Visitors lucky enough to be invited inside for a cup of tea can’t help but notice that the inside of her house is often decorated too—a giant inflatable heart currently adorns the back of her front door and red and silver streamers cascade from the ceiling.

People noticing her home for the first time have mistaken it for a store or even a daycare, Sharon says. Since she’s been decorating the front window of her home for many years now, she has many stories to tell. Answering a knock on her door one night, she met a woman who wanted to thank her: “she said, ‘when I feel down, I just head on by your house and it makes me happy,’” Sharon says, glad she’s able to bring a smile to people’s faces.

In the summertime, her window changes frequently, attracting tourists and their cameras. During a lull in major holidays, cats are a favourite theme, and through the revolving parade of elves and Jack-o-lanterns (even groundhogs on February 2nd) one constant resident of the window is a plush cat that has been gazing at the world outside for years.

Sharon’s mother in particular is a fan of her daughter’s decorating. She likens it to the excitement of a child waiting for a glimpse of a department-store toyland—a magical moment when you reach the top of the escalator and the holiday toy display is revealed in front of you.

Back inside, my gaze lands on her four-foot tall valentine tree, a reappropriated Christmas model with red sparkly, synthetic pine needles and draped with a delicious-looking plastic candy garland. A giant ‘I love you’ plushie heart sits on top.

“It’s a happy house,” Sharon beams.

—Erin McKee
Suggestion for a nook? nooks@thescope.ca

32 comments

“30 for 60” by Ron Hynes

One of a thousand, but one of Damian’s favourites.

26 November 2012

  1. Helen in Corner Brook · November 26, 2012

    I know this “lady” and she yes she is “good for soul”. I haven’t been to her house, but I’m sure it’s full of fun and love.

    Sharon, I’m glad you are who you are…. special :) Keep up the great work and keep spreading the love.

    Helen

  2. Edward Hynes · November 26, 2012

    My name is Edward Hynes from Ferryland, Southern Shore, and for over 40 years I have lived in Ontario.
    I was delighted to see the article “Valentine Window on Long’s Hill. Sharon is my sister and over the last 40 years, she has sent me many pictures off displays she has set up. The inside her home has often being mistaken for a store. She not only brings joy to many by her displays, but her attitude and treatment of others is something to behold.If their were more people like this, the world the world would be a better place.
    Sharon, I’m proud to be your brother.\
    Eddie

  3. Beth · November 26, 2012

    I have worked with Sharon at the Family Court for many years, and her “happy” house is representative of her personality and attitude towards life. She finds joy in the simplest things we might take for granted. It is a pleasure to work with her and to be her friend.

  4. Kelly · November 26, 2012

    My name is Kelly and I work with Sharon and yes as others have said in their comments, Sharon does bring happiness to us all. She is very kind and has a gentle heart. I am so happy that this was published because she takes such pride in decorating for all these special occasions. Sharon brings every single holiday spirit out in all of us at work. If we didn’t wear our red or pink or show some recogination of today’s holiday she would definately question as to why???? So, Happy Valentine’s Day is sent to Sharon and thanks for being a great person that you are.

  5. Sheila · November 26, 2012

    I work with Sharon and find she is full of life, she also brings a smile to all around her. I think her display in her window is certainly an eye catcher to all and does bring a smile to everyone. She certainly has a Purr – fect kind heart. Keep up the great work!! Happy Valentines Day.

  6. Elizabeth Boggan · November 26, 2012

    My name is Elizabeth and I am another co-worker of Sharon’s. I visited Sharon last week at her house and I was truly amazed at the decorations she has put inside her home. Before I worked with Sharon I would drive by her house and wonder who lived there. I thought it must be a truly amazing person! When I started working with her I found out just how truly amazing she is. Sharon is a wonderful, kind-spirited person and her house only shows the public what she is like. To know her is to really appreciate Sharon and all her qualities. Happy Valentine’s Day Sharon and Precious.

  7. Derrick · November 26, 2012

    I agree with the others – Sharon’s window is indeed a window to her soul – fun, happy, a little mischievious perhaps, and quite inspiring…happy heart day! (and thanks for making the long wait at those lights a lot more interesting…)

  8. Jackie · November 26, 2012

    My children and I drive past Sharon’s house in the morning on the way to school. As we drive by or as we are stopped at the light in front of her home, we always take a moment to have a look and see what’s in the window. While I don’t work with Sharon, I have come to know her through Family Court and she is always a very caring, kind individual.

  9. Pat in Stony Plain, Alberta · November 26, 2012

    I have also had the pleasure of working with Sharon for quite a number of years. Sharon is the kindest and most sincere person I know. Her sense of creativity is truly amazing. I feel so blessed to call her my friend.

    Super Clerk!!!!
    Pat

  10. Susan H · November 26, 2012

    I have the pleasure and privilege to see Sharon on a regular basis through work. I was delighted to see this piece about her house and she truly does display the same enthousiasm and love of life in her workplace as well. She works in an environment where a smiling face and a light-hearted approach to life is welcome and dearly appreciated by those around her. Keep it up Sharon!

  11. Brian H Cap-Pele ,NB · November 26, 2012

    Sharon you have finally made the news. Sharon is a person who views the world not like most. She celebrates every occasion with passion and excitment, not only for her benefit but for others as well.Sharon is truely the most positive person I have ever met.
    I’m proud to be your nephew, and I hope some day people can see the world through your eyes.

    Kudos to you and Happy Valentines Day!

  12. The Barbour Family ,Ferryland · November 26, 2012

    Where do I start.We have known sharon and her Family for many years.Sharon is like a sister to me.Her home is warm and happy just like her heart.When you stop infront of her house your troubles are all gone.Once inside you kick of your shoes, take of your coat, and the kettle goes on.Her house always has a surprise for you from a new talkative stuff toy to an old ,but unique item she just brought home.Sharon you are one of a kind and we love you.Your Friends Mona, Katie, and cyril Barbour.Happy Valentines Day!

  13. Reg in Mount Pearl · November 26, 2012

    HI SIS,
    HOW MUCH IS THAT PUSSY IN THE WINDOW?
    THE ONE WITH THE WAGGLY TAIL;
    HOW MUCH IS THAT PUSSY IN THE WINDOW?
    I DO HOPE THAT PUSSYS FOR SALE!

    WAY TO GO SIS—I WANT YOUR AUTOGRAPH, NOW THAT YOU’RE A CELEBRITY. LOOK OUT EBAY.

    FOLKS—YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ANYTHING YET. YOU SHOULD SEE SHARON’S PLACE ON CANADA DAY.

    HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY SIS,
    LOVE
    REG

  14. Darlene..Oldest Niece!!, Mt. Pearl · November 26, 2012

    Well, for all you beautiful people out there..
    You would love my Aunt and her baby Precious! Being the older of all the nieces she has, I have been there alot more. Knowing Sharon and growing up together (just a few years apart) we get along great, like sisters so we are told. She is a wonderful person and loving to all, especially to every animal see meets. A kind heart and warn soul. Any animal thats needs help, no matter the time of day, she is there. Her window is like the eyes to the soul. She expresses her feelings for the world to see. One story I remember was a few years ago, when a cruise ship was in the St. John’s harbour, two little elderly women where walking around the lower part of the city and came arcoss her house and window. They looked in the window and opened the door, thinking this was the most beautiful little shop that they ever seen. Little did they know it wasn’t. Sharon came out of her room and ask them if they needed help..they said,” no thank you we are just looking!” She giggled, when they said that. They told her what a wonderful shop she had and they were going to tell all their friends on board to come and see it… she felt bad having to thell them that it was her home, not a shop.. MY LORD! They felt so bad, but with a big smile, Sharon said, no problem but you are welcome to look around and asked them if they wanted some tea. They took pictures and chatted for a while and when they left, they were filled with the love and the kindest of a stranger who now became their friend! Thank you scope for putting my Aunt Sharon’s window in your paper and her story for the whole world to see. It do mean so much for the world to know that the kindness of some people maybe worth passing on to others. Lets hope it does!!

    I am proud of you Aunt Sharon!

    Love ya! :]
    Darlene, Declan and Jean-Claude
    Buffy and Casper:>

  15. Debbie · November 26, 2012

    I have worked with Sharon for only the past 6 months..and during that time she has made every day enjoyable just coming to work. That is why I am not surprised to know she decorates her home to bring a smile to people’s faces. Sharon celebrates every occasion and always leaves a treat bag full of goodies on our desks for us when we arrive to work the next day. I look forward to coming into work and seeing my treat bag there, I feel like a kid again, waking up Christmas morning and finding the surprises under the tree. Thanks Sharon for bringing out the child in all of us..

  16. john ryan · November 26, 2012

    hi favorite sister in law u sure are having a good day picture in the news and everything u sure are a big star now keep those windows decorated and everyone in st. johns will be happy lol

  17. joe · November 26, 2012

    yo wazup dawg i was hopin that u would keep up the good work

  18. anna hynes · November 26, 2012

    sharon, i never though i would see your window on line. it is so nice . i saw everyone of the holiday’sin the window but i think that the xmas window is the best.but i love them all and you too. you are the best sister- in- law i ever had so keep up the good job you are doing and god bless you.

  19. Lydia Ryan, Big sister St. John's · November 26, 2012

    I am Sharon’s only sister and so proud that she is in my life. She finally is being reconized not only for her talent in decorating her house on every occasion which is very beautiful, but also for the kind, loving and caring person she is. We have shared many good times together which I always will cherish, being it a family meal or just a chat and a cup of tea. Sharon is the rock I lean on, the light that shows the way in good times and in bad. She is a wonderful sister and friend. I thank you for always being there for me… I love you sis!

  20. Declan .... Mt. Pearl, her Godson · November 26, 2012

    Great Aunt Sharon is my godmommy and I am so happy her window is making people smile everyday. When I come to visit her and Precious, we always have so much fun. We play together and she loves me as much as I love her..

    Great Aunt Sharon, thank you for being my godmommy and for being the bestest Great Aunt ever.. I loves you!
    Your number #1 in my book.

    xoxoxoxox
    Declan Derible

  21. Kim Seki, Ontario · November 26, 2012

    Sharon has the most wonderful spirit and makes us better people for knowing her. I am so glad that she has touched so many people and their days are brightened by her endearing qualities.

    Hope to see your windows “live” soon!
    Kim and Stuart Seki

  22. Bernadette Gentry · November 26, 2012

    Holy Jumpings!!!! Where do I start after reading all those wonderful comments. I have known Sharon for since 1996 when I started working at Mighty Whites Laundromat. While I was working there for 7 1/2 years Sharon and I became good friends. She has been there for me in good times and in bad. I know that every Sept all I have to do is call and say “Are you ready, what do you want to dress as this year?” and she knows that I am calling about the Downtown Christmas Parade. She and her gang of troups are always there and ready to roll Parade Day. She is a wonderful lady and I am so happy to call her my friend. Also she never forgets an occasion for example she sent me a valentine on Valentine’s Day and all I could do was laugh. The world should be full of more Sharon’s. Loves Yah, Bernadette & MaKayla (4) XOXOXOXO

  23. Eddie Locke · November 26, 2012

    Well it only seems fitting to comment on this one. I have known Sharon for as long as I can remember. She has always been like a second Mother to me and is now my childrens third Grandmother ( Bet you never thought you would be called Nan now did ya LOL ) Sharon has taught me many things throughout the years. She has always been a positive role model and has become someone that I admire. The Hyne’s have always treated me as part of their family and I always thought of them to be family. I think its great that Sharon is finally getting the praise and attention that she deserves for being such a great person!

  24. Shirley cronin · November 26, 2012

    sharon has the most wonderful sprit and makes everyone laugh and she touches the hearts of everyone. i think its great that Sharon is getting prais she deserves it she is great.Sharon i am so glad for you, i know Sharon because her sister is married to my cousin and as for my husband when he was alive Sharon all was called him Mr Mike. Sharon i hope every thing goes good for you. have a real nice day

  25. Valetta Ackerman Davis · November 26, 2012

    Dearest Sharon. Thank you so much for sharing your special gift with us. Indeed God looked down and blessed you in multiple ways. You are such a true example of “a pure and generious heart” Thanks again for sharing your home and life with so many people.

    Many more BLessings to you

    Valetta Davis
    Friend of your niece Darlene Ryan

  26. Andre, Elizabeth, & Ryan (St. George's) · November 26, 2012

    Sharon,

    It’s nice to see that all the work you put into your window displays create happiness for others. Keep up the good work!!

    Andre, Elizabeth & Ryan Perrier
    St. George’s

  27. Rolanda · November 26, 2012

    Sharon’s window is reflective of an iceberg. What you see from the outside is only a mere fraction of what is inside. By inside, I am talking both inside of her home and inside of her heart and head. The decorations in the window are a tangible expression of the celebration going out within her soul. Every day in Sharon’s life is a cause for celebration. She honors every occasion, from the ones we all know (Christmas, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.) through to the obscure (kite day, circus day, flag day, friendship day, Dr. Seuss’s birthday and so on.. ). If there is any reason to celebrate, Sharon acknowledges it. When no ‘special day’ is marked, it is still acknowledged as a special day in Sharon’s world. Just being here, being alive and having the freedom of choice is a reason for celebration. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and her affect on those lucky enough to know her is both substantial and life-altering. If ever there is a reason for a smile, knowing Sharon gives one that reason. If love, happiness, and a positive attitude could change the world, I would vote Sharon for World Leader. Sharon, you definitely make this world a better place. Continue on your journey as you always have, with a song on your lips, a smile on your face, and a love for humanity in your heart.

  28. Vivian Day · November 26, 2012

    I have known Sharon for 40 yrs and she has touched many lives in her life. Mine included, If everyone could see through her eyes, What a wonderful world we would have. People from all walks of life, should follow in her footsteps. Be kind to everyone and every living thing. She is a beautful person and her windows show just a little of her soul. They say the eyes are like looking into the soul of a person and Sharon has the eyes of the world.

    Keep the windows beautiful and I am sure it brings joy to everyone who sees it. It do make a difference.

  29. Maxine Dunne · November 26, 2012

    Sharon and I have been friends since we were kids, growing up together in Ferryland. Sharon and her whole family have always been an inspiration to others…..you were always welcome in the “Hynes home” and their kindness and humor is well known in the area.

    Congratulations Sharon on a great display, I’m sure the joy you bring to others is well appreciated. Small joys make big differences…………Take care..

  30. Rose Anna Colbourne · November 26, 2012

    Hi, I am writing from Corner Brook, Newfoundland. I am proud to call Sharon my family and my best friend. If anyone were to get to know her, they would see what we all see. She is a fantastic, make you laugh, enthusiastic, caring, and a one of a kind individual. Unfortunately, we do not get to see her decorations as often as we would like and I know my children (Jennifer & Jonathon) have loved visiting her home. We are hoping to plan a trip to St. John’s this Easter and I know that her window will be inviting to us and all who would like to drop in. Sharon & Precious, we love you.

    Rose Anna, Jennifer, Jonathon, and Mike

  31. Marg OBrien Perrier · November 26, 2012

    Hello Sharon,

    Really proud that your art work was finally recognized. It sure looks good, I can only imagine the inside of your house. Poor Lyd use to get so much enjoyment from watching you decorate for every occassion. I only hope she is seeing this from up above. I know you must miss her company. I can never thank you enough for everything that you did for her. You were a wonderful friend of hers and words can’t say how much I appreciate your kindness to her. Her memory will always be with both of us.

    Take care,

    Marg O’Brien Perrier
    Flat Bay, NL

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