East Bay News

Treasured garden gnomes returned to Concord couple

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A local couple is calling it a Christmas miracle -- Frank and Janet Rossini pleaded for the return of their stolen garden gnomes, made by a daughter who was killed by a drunk driver. Tuesday, the gnomes were returned -- a moment of joy for the grieving family.

It's the first time in two years there's been Christmas music at the Rossini's house. The first time since they lost their daughter, Carolyn Duff.

Duff was killed by a drunk driver two years ago. She left behind a husband, three kids and a pair of ceramic garden gnomes she made for her dad when she was 8 years old.

"And they were special to me, and actually she gave them to me as a Christmas present," Frank said.

They lived happily on the lawn until last month when they were stolen. Frank put out a sign asking for their return, but with no luck.

"I thought if they did turn back again, it would be a miracle," Frank said.

The Rossinis got their Christmas miracle a day early. Frank was reading the paper on Christmas Eve morning when he looked outside and couldn't believe his eyes -- the gnomes were there beside the sign.

He carefully returned them to their rightful places and wasted no time making a new sign. It reads: "Our faith in humanity is restored."

But Janet thinks someone else played a role, someone who's been watching over her family and wanted them to have Christmas again.

"When they showed up this year, I think it was like Carolyn saying, 'Look, get on with life, enjoy yourselves,' and I got out the Christmas music and put it on," Janet said.

The Rossinis say this Christmas is one they'll never forget.

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concord, crime, east bay news, jonathan bloom
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