Americana: Life's No Bowl of Cherries

George Washington's birthday was the perfect time, of course, for John LoGiudice to get punished for chopping down a cherry tree. He found the tree growing wild, about 25 years ago, in the backyard of his house in Queens, N.Y. He transplanted it out to the front, next to the public sidewalk, and there it grew. "We always took care of it," said LoGiudice, 66, a retired milkman. "It was a beautiful tree with pretty flowers blossoming every spring and nice healthy cherries."

The tree began to die, one branch at a time. LoGiudice worried about the neighborhood children who climbed in...

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