Saturday, November 30, 2013

Round Robin - Full Circle

My doll from the Hot Flash! Community Round Robin arrived on my doorstep this morning. She started her tour of the country back in April (2013) as a patchwork oval with a neck and an empty middle. I packed this torso and a journal in a box and sent her on her way. This piece is about 8 inches tall.

She spent one month with each of 7 other women, who read what I had written in her journal, added their own creativity and thoughtfulness, and each added something to the doll. She has received a head and a broken heart which is mending. There are some who claim she is starting to speak - I happen to know she is starting to sing!

She received a hand positioned to say "I love you", a bluebird of happiness nesting in a rose, and to rejoice in her singing, she was given 2 dancers.

She sits in a nest that also contains a bowl of blessings, an scroll containing and Indian prayer and batik strip prayer flags.

I absolutely love this doll. From her humble beginnings, to this spectacular result - travelling for seven months, visiting with seven talented, giving women. Thank you ladies!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

All My Trials

I haven't written anything here since April. Not that there hasn't been plenty going on. Just lots of negative, depressing stuff that nobody wants to read about.

But today, something very small happened at work that transported me back about 35 years to an event that had me walking on air for days. That small event was a song that flowed from my iPod to my headphones to my memory.

Many years ago, my friend Fritz brought me to a party at a house by the beach. I didn't know anyone there. I remember Fritz telling me that he thought I'd like these people. I don't remember any of them. I don't remember anything about the house except that it was near the beach. I don't even remember what town it was. What I do remember is music. If any of you locals remember the old "Pinky" hoots in New Haven, or the current BMAD in Bethany, you'll start to develop a picture. A good sized house with live acoustic music in every room. This was my first time at a party like this.

I remember going into a room, listening for a bit, then sitting cross-legged on the floor (I could do that back then!) I sang along on the tunes I knew, hummed harmonies on the ones I didn't. Then a guy came into the room, sat on the floor across from me, almost touching knees. He sang along for a while. I don't remember how it got started, but I will never forget it. The whole room was still. It was just me and this man singing "All My Trials". I sang the melody and he added the most beautiful harmony. No sound but his voice and mine. I had never experienced anything like it. It was magical. When we finished "All My Trials", the room stayed quiet for a bit - like no-one else was there. After a minute or so, someone picked up a guitar. The spell was broken. He stayed a bit longer, sang some more, then got up and left the room. I left a couple of minutes later and looked for him. Didn't see him anywhere. I found Fritz and asked if he knew who the man was. He wasn't in the room, but he heard us singing and no - he didn't know who it was. I never did find out.


Those of you who have known me a long time, know that I love to sing. I'd rather sing that do just about anything. I started in the junior choir when I was 8 years old. I was always in the school chorus, church choir. I was in a 5-person folk group for several years and we played at the gate at the Eli Whitney Folk Festival in New Haven for three years and finally on the main stage, singing in front of several thousand people, opening for Judy Collins.

Singing is the best high I have ever experienced. But sadly, I am no longer able to sing. I won't go into why, but I hope it's temporary. Hearing Peter, Paul and Mary singing "All My Trials" this afternoon lifted me up, transported me back to a God-sent moment and gave me hope. Maybe I will sing again.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fare Thee Well, Neptune

Many years ago, my friend Brenda was leaving the job where we had met and become friends. This happens a lot. What also happens a lot is that friends say "We'll keep in touch", "Let's do lunch", and after a few months, they drift apart and never see each other again. Brenda and I didn't want that to happen. So, we agreed to meet every Saturday morning for breakfast. We decided on the Neptune Diner in Wallingford as it was roughly halfway between our homes. With the exception of vacations, minor illnesses and other inevitable interruptions, we've been doing this for 20 years. And then, this morning (yes, I know it's Sunday), we met at the usual time, got out of our cars, started walking to the front door, and we were told they were closed. What? "They retired. Closed the diner". What?

Wow! That explained the comment the hostess/owner made last time we were here. Her husband was always warm and friendly, happy to see us. She rarely even said hello. All we usually heard was "Thank you" as she took our money. Anyway, last time we were there, she thanked us for coming for such a long time. Brenda and I exchanged curious glances as we left. "What was that all about?" Well, now we know.  
I've been thinking about all of the things that had happened in that diner. That was where we always exchanged Christmas gifts. I was on my way to meet Brenda about three years ago, when a young lovely with no driver's license made an illegal turn and totalled my car. Less than 100 yards from the diner. I called Brenda, she left the diner and stayed with me. We did eventually have our breakfast that morning. The owners asked if I was OK.
But my favorite memory of all is the first time I met Brenda's future husband, Tim. Tim was in the Navy. Brenda often flew down to Norfolk to see him. He knew about me. We had even talked briefly on the phone once or twice. I don't remember the occasion, but Tim was coming to Connecticut for a visit. I wanted to meet him and Brenda and I decided to have a little fun at his expense. I went to the diner at the appointed time and rather than sit at our regular table (more on that in a minute), I sat at a table for 4. In walked Tim and Brenda. I totally ignored them. I heard Brenda say "How about right here?" She stood next to my table and said "Excuse me, can we sit with you?" I looked at her like she was insane. "Excuse me?" Brenda again asked if they could sit with me. "You've got that whole table by yourself." I said I was expecting two friends. This whole time, poor Tim thinks his girlfriend has flipped her lid and he's gently and quietly trying to guide her away from me. After a couple more exchanges between Brenda and myself, I said "This is ridiculous!" and stood up. I extended my right hand and said "Hi Tim, I'm Pat. Have a seat." The look on his face was priceless!! He still talks to me.
I mentioned our regular table a little bit ago. For years and years, we sat at a table for two in front of the fake fireplace. Over the fireplace was a wooden shark and a few lines of ship's rope. One year for Christmas, I made this for Brenda:
I was pretty new at dollmaking back then, but I'm still tickled at how this came out. Since then, I've given Brenda a hand-made gift every year for Christmas. She has more of my dolls than anybody.
The Neptune is gone, but the memories of these past 20 years will never go away. We tried a different diner this morning and we'll probably be meeting there for a while.
Here's to friendship!