Tanker

A tanker sits at anchor in front  of Gabriola Island on a March morning. Some don’t appreciate them here, sometimes there have been several waiting here to get into Vancouver. I don’t mind them. It adds some interest to the sea scape. We can hear and even feel them drop their anchors in the channel. There will be this deep rumbling / scrapping sound and sometimes a little boom when it hits the sea bed.

Bob though is a bit sensitive to the sound of their generators running, a low hum, especially at night.

Unfortunately I don’t hear it – or it doesn’t disturb me enough.

“Can’t you hear that? What you mean you can’t hear that? !”

“No. Can’t.”

 

The big Ice of 2017

Our little far western corner of North America has alway been mecca for vast populations of eastern Canadians ever since the West was settled and word got back that no one out here owns a snow shovel. True, there have been exceptions throughout the years that we get a surprise dump that shuts down the city of Vancouver, or over on the island may give the kids a few Snow Days.

Bob who was born in Ontario smirks at these times. We don’t know snow he says. Because our dumps, er, snowfalls might bring 4-5″ at most and even this will hobble us for a bit. We don’t have a big budget here for snow removal, sanding trucks, salt stockpiles. We also don’t drive in it very well in it.

This can be a tragic event. I’ve seen cars approach a stop sign like it was an afternoon in the middle of July. Oh yeah, palm-to-face, there’s white stuff under my tires; you can literally read the realization on their face as they pirouette through the intersection.

Busses don’t fare any better.

This year Vancouver got hit with a few good winter storms that brought a fair amount of snow for them. Then it would warm a bit and rain, then freeze again and snow. It got messy for the residents. No one could make it down the road without serious injury it seemed, people careening and slipping everywhere. The city used 5,000 of its 6,000 tons of its annual allotment of salt.

Cue the beleaguered store clerks as they brace themselves for a sudden frantic run on all the hardware stores and Home Depots for bags of salt and those elusive snow shovels. Sorry, they say, we’re out of stock we have more coming in on Friday. They tell you this on a Sunday with a lopsided shrug and a twitching eye.

Meanwhile across the pond here on the big island we didn’t have the full extent of that. For the most of any winter here we generally bask in greenery, but this year we did get damn cold though and things froze hard along with some snow. We had temperatures well below freezing for weeks at a time. The upside was all the dry, clear, crisp sunshiny days that came with the big chill.

It was so cold the sea around my tiny island and half way across the harbor froze.

Luckily for us we have an aluminum boat which makes it easy to break the ice, which we did around a good area of the anchorage and docks in an attempt to help others that have smaller boats and are under-powered to break away through the ice from their moorages. Also for those living on their sailboats in the harbor who become ice-locked and unable to use their dinghies to get to town. So we made our way around slowly and chewed up the bay a bit.

Protection Island 01/2017

While scooting around the sailboats anchored in the bay near Newcastle Island we noticed a woman who was in a kayak working her way from town, where there wasn’t ice and I don’t know if she knew how much ice there was out near the middle of the bay when she started out, she  gained enlightenment too late as she sat perched upon a massive ice sheet. Make way, us to the rescue. We freed her then crunched ahead of her breaking a chunky swath for her to paddle through to get home.

The crew for the wee ferry had to work hard to break ice, just as iced in as everyone else, they had to cancel the early runs. Once they could get under way the harbor Search and Rescue boat appeared and continued to break ice for them well into the middle of the bay where the ice ended before heading off to see where else they could be of service.

So that’s our big ice saga, created a small community burble around here. Today the weather warmed a bit, the sea is once again fluid and things are as they normally are in January: grey, drizzly, and cold. A few degrees above freezing. But I have to be honest, I loved the past few weeks of brilliant sun and piercingly clear days and nights, and secretly hope we get a bit more of it in the following months. January especially can be such a long dreary grey month otherwise. I’d rather have sparkle.

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Novembers last day, a stroll through the park

There is only a narrow watery gap that flows between my island home and an 800 acre island Provincial Park which come autumn is virtually uninhabited. The campers have all gone, the boaters have secured their vessels in the marinas for another year. The only access is by water and although our little ferry will bring you from town to the Park for a fee, few people take the time. It amazes me that few people even know about it,  local residents of Vancouver Island included.

So this time of year, it’s all mine to wander.

This park is rich in history with the Coast Salish or Snuneymuxw First Nation, being a place where they came to mend the heart when in mourning, collect medicinal herbs and fish herring.

A good life, before us. Before it was ripped apart for coal and stone, and before CPR ships brought floods of elites to dance in the pavilion.

The park has, since a few years ago, been returned to the First Nation, under their rightful stewardship.

It’s mending its heart.

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A Ferry Tale

Since our island passenger ferry started up here about 28 years ago a lot of people have chosen to make this little rock their home. It means that they could now live in this park like neighborhood without having to own and run their own boat.

They wouldn’t have to encase themselves in rain gear over their nice clothes during the wet winter months. It means they wouldn’t have to wear gum boots while carrying their “good” shoes in a knapsack to change into later. It means their hair would look the same as when they left their house.

It is convenient and reliable. Although if it it’s really bad weather it may sit out a few runs.

But installing some kind of shuttle to the island was always inevitable. More and more people moved on permanently, it was close to town, it was affordable where renting or real estate was concerned, it would certainly develop and grow.

The first attempt for a passenger ferry was 35 years ago by a property owner named Don. But it was hit and miss.

The story went something like this:

A group of residents would be waiting at the dock to return back to the island from town. Waiting. Waiting. Still waiting.

Al: Where is Don? Its been half hour.

Mike: Bet he’s in the pub, I’ll go check.

20 minutes go by…

Larry: I’ll go get Mike and Don

20 minutes go by…

You get the drift. Eventually they all end up at the pub until Don decided he was ready to go.

During the 50’s there was a much smaller seasonal population here, summer vacationers. They came in canoes, row boats or power boats of their own, staying in tiny cabins along the Lee Shore of the island just across the gap from the huge provincial park of Newcastle Island.

It was a rustic place then. A far cry from that now since opting out of the Island Trust and becoming part of the city and hooking into sewer and water, forgoing our wells and septic fields.

And especially after Bob and Hilda moved over and built the pub and Bistro here 28 years ago along with its ferry service to carry their customers over, benefitting the residents in the process. The boats they brought in, 3 of them, are retired B.C. Ferry life boats. They’ve had a few augmentations done and carry up to 29 people safely and comfortably warm and dry.

When my kids were school age they took the ferry each day at designated “School Run” times which meant the kids rode free of charge. The ferry was given a subsidy by the school board to bring all the island kids in to town where a school bus would be waiting to pick them up, so that worked well.

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There are occasions during peak times of the day all year through that this little boat is full to capacity; in the mornings with residents going to work, and after work around 5:00. In the summer sometimes folks might have to wait for the next boat if the pub is really busy, which it is all summer long. But they are quick to send a second boat, so everybody eventually gets to where they need to get to. The key is to relax and not be in such a hurry.

I used to ride the ferry more often than I do now, back when I had an open boat and opted for warm and dry instead of cold and drenched. I used to know the ferry drivers well. I had worked at the pub for a couple of seasons as a line cook, bracing for those “double boat runs” full of customers that would pack the bistro for another busy summer night.

Now when I do ride there are more residents I don’t know that have moved onto the island.

Once not long ago when I took the ferry home and I had a few bags of groceries one of the passengers offered me a ride in his golf car. We introduced ourselves. He said he lived next door to James. I said “Oh yeah, just around the corner from my house”.

He said, “so you know James?” An infamous resident who has lived here for 37 years.

I said, “yeah, I’ve known him for 25 years.”

“You’ve been here 25 years?! Part time?” He was surprised that he’d never seen me before.

“No”, I said, “Year round. My husband has been here 38 . How long have you’ve been here?”

“Five,” he says.

The island is 1-1/2 miles long and 1 mile wide. And yet it hides people well. That’s also the beauty of this place. You can keep to yourself – be a hermit, or jump into the community and engage.

Yet while having my own boat is part of the allure of living here, part of that self-reliant and independent nature belonging to many individuals who take on the task of living a slightly distinctive lifestyle here, there may come a day when I’m really old and not capable of using my boat any longer.  Then I’ll buy my monthly ferry pass and look forward to communing with my neighbors both new and long known while plying the waters that set this “moated suburb” apart from the rest.

It’s all good in the hood.

I love my little community ~ 🙂

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Kootenay Time

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I’m presently in Kimberly spending time with my daughter, having taken the opportunity to go along with Bob to where he will be working for the next 10 days in Cranbrook, 30 minutes away. We chose to travel from Vancouver taking the more serpentine route of Highway 3, better known as the The Crowsnest Pass instead of the big wide Coquihalla and stay a night in Nelson on the way to Kimberly, well it was a little out of the way but in the general area all the same!

When I was a single mom I almost moved myself and daughter to Nelson in 1986 when hearing of affordable rents for big character houses in an artistically vibrant community, but was then also put off by reports that the town was so surrounded by the Selkirk Mountains that even summer daylight hours were short-lived.

I should have checked it out myself at that time. Yes, the mountains are there but on the town side they slope low and away and while being established on a wide western arm of Kootenay Lake created a charming and rather open valley. Walking its downtown streets I felt an attractive urban pulse akin to my Islands’ capitol Victoria.

Baker Street is the main drag of Nelson, British Columbia, Canada, a village of approximately 9,700 nestled in the Selkirk Mountains. The area offers scenic drives, hot springs, mountain bike trails and quirky shops, galleries and restaurants. The 1987 movie "Roxanne" was filmed here. (Christopher Reynolds/Los Angeles Times/MCT)
Baker Street is the main drag of Nelson, British Columbia, Canada, a village of approximately 9,700 nestled in the Selkirk Mountains. The area offers scenic drives, hot springs, mountain bike trails and quirky shops, galleries and restaurants. The 1987 movie “Roxanne” was filmed here. (Christopher Reynolds/Los Angeles Times/MCT) Photo courtesy of internet

I kinda loved it. Of course my daughter does too after visiting herself. ‘We could’ve lived here mom!’

In the evening, we got in to Nelson late around 8:00, we searched for dinner and decided on the Rel- ish Bistro on Baker Street, it was De-lish. Tenderloin for Bob and Butternut Ravioli for me. We left amply stuffed and contented. Next morning we walked around on the search for coffee and asking a passerby directed was directed to Oso Negro. Obviously a hot spot was bristling with patrons. Great coffee by the way. The cafe is surrounded too by a gorgeous garden and imaginative iron works.

I could live here.

After  breakfast we hit the road, crossing the bridge and drove up the coastline to catch the little Balfour Ferry ( the bigger one was being serviced) that would take us 30 minutes to cross over to Kootenay Bay, followed by a 3 hour drive into Kimberley. On a side note, we snidely chuckled when riding across the water saying how we’ve come a little out of our way (which it was) en route to Kimberley just to be able to ride a BC ferry for free, the only one in the fleet. We quietly rejoiced.

Kootenay Lake is massive, felt as though I was back among the gulf islands, and gorgeous. The remainder of the drive once reaching Kootenay Bay and driving down through Creston was bucolic. Stunning country continued all the way to Kimberly.

Kootenay Lake, BC

 

Kootenay Lake BC

 

D.K.Brint
Dinner at Re-LIsh Bistro, Nelson BC

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Oso Negro, Nelson BC

 

 

BFF- Or Big Friend Failure

 

Image courtesy of internet
Image courtesy of internet

So, whats 30 odd years between friends?

She and I go back to grade 10, just after I moved up from California. We fell in love with the same boy, whom she won, we shared deep conversations over plates of fries, coffee and Craven M cigarettes at the Dog House restaurant when cutting classes in high school. We loved the same music and the love for writing. We both kept journals. She wrote beautiful poems and songs that she sang with her guitar. We would light candles in her room and delve into the meaning of relationships, spirituality, parents, and becoming women. Oh the drama we imagined in our teenaged world.

We were like sisters. We were best friends.

But I lost her after high school. I say I lost her because I don’t remember her leaving grade 12 earlier than the rest of us and moving to Manitoba to attend University. I wasn’t paying attention, she left my life and it seems I didn’t even blink.

Which leaves me to think what kind of friend was I? Am I?

Eight years later after high school I had bumped into her briefly on the street when she moved back to Vancouver Island. She was married and pregnant with her first, and I was a single parent with a five year old. I was awkward – I was in a confused, unsettled place at the time- and although we were happy to see each other no plans were made to get together then, and we circled out of each others lives once more.

After several more years passed I began to think of her, wanted to see if I could find her again but because of my lame inattention I couldn’t remember her married last name. So I searched FB using her maiden name – maybe she kept it- but nothing appeared. I searched our common FB friends from high school to see if she came up, not there either.

Fly ahead to 2015 I am sitting in my hairdressers chair while my colour is processing, and looking through my Facebook. The list of “people you may know” came up which I lazily scrolled through and suddenly there she was! I “friended” her immediately and anxiously awaited for her to respond, which she soon did.

We were so happy to reconnect!

Finally, we exchanged phone numbers, and talking with her I discovered she had been working for the past 8 years a mere 3 blocks away from the waterfront harbour I crossed over to each day in my boat on my way to work, but she was living south island about 40 minutes out of town.

Well. But how were we to know? She had lost track of me too.

So close but so far. She had been on FB for a year but kept a very low profile, not reaching out to our mutual high school friends until 2015. She didn’t know my married name either.

We’ve  gotten together 4 times for lunch since our reconnection, bringing each other up through the missing years. That boy she loved in grade 10 nearly evolved to marriage after high school but ended with broken hearts.

And the thought that needled me and wouldn’t lie still was, I wasn’t there for you. Not for your marriage, the birth of your son, the loss of your parents, whom I remember, the heartbreak of your divorce or your breakthroughs and accomlishments. We lost out on so much by losing each other.

This isn’t the first time I’ve let friendships from my past slip away, and most sadly some of those friendships can never be rekindled in my life again, finding out too late that illness had taken them.

That’s how much I suck at friendship. But I will strive to do better.

She and I found after all this time, all this life growth, that we still have that common ground for the unconventional, the penchant for discussion on the deep, big questions, only now from the perspective approached from experience and maturity. In fact I have since realized she is the only one I can have conversations of that nature with.

So now when we get together we engineer a bridge each time, attentive to bringing to the table the necessary tools to construct a way to cross the rushing waters that have carved between our lives. To meet in the middle and maybe, with the blessings of those two 16 year old girls, continue to walk a new road together now as women.

 

 

New Digs

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Making the decision on behalf of another that will directly affect them is not easy. This is an intersection I and my siblings have approached last year (and the year before) when we thought we had better initiate the call of finding a place for our mom to move into that would put her in closer proximity to us and where she can continue receiving care. Now it is come down to definite action. 

So. Here we are – two weeks after I initially began writing this post- and I’m very happy, and relieved, to say my mom has moved!

She is in a fantastic Assisted Living facility with her own private apartment with a patio, with the added advantage that she is also two blocks from my sister and her husband.

We had looked at Assisted Living Private Care versus Government Subsidized, we crunched numbers to a pulp to ensure that her finances would be sufficient to go with Private Care for the time being because this option would give her a one bedroom, one bathroom suite with kitchenette rather than the fully subsidized suite option of a studio suite- which is just a room with a bed and a bathroom.

We asked questions about enlisting a care aide to escort mom to and from the dining room due to her onset of dementia, and an aide to assist her in her morning and evening care and with her bathing -yes, yes, all her personal care can be arranged through the Health Authority Subsidy with that cost at $21.a day.

So this means mom pays a full rent for her own suite that includes all utilities and great meals in the dining room augmented with Government Subsidized Care for her personal needs.

– insert a sigh here –

We began all this in early February and this last two weeks has been nothing short of hectic and emotionally draining, which is why I haven’t had the gumption or time to write a post. Until 4:30 this morning.

Now it’s 6 am and feeling like I could sleep a bit, do I crawl back to bed for another hour or so? There is still so much to do in the next two weeks to prepare the townhome for listing, garage sales, to settle mom in and help her get accustomed to the new surroundings-will my mind be quite enough for me to sleep?

But my husband has come downstairs and begins to make coffee, and the birds are up too, singing to a rising sun~

It Takes a Village

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Because I live on a rock that I share with about 300 others, you get to know its people. Many I’ve known for over 20 years, others more recent. For me this is the longest duration in one community in my entire life – in California we moved several times: Garden Grove, Tustin, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, and this continued when we relocated to Vancouver Island.

Landing here on this tiny Gulf Island I remember saying to my new husband (that would be Bob) that I have no intention of leaving. Of course this was after experiencing the grunting work of loading cars and boats with my things and barging across the waters to off load, then reload onto a truck to the final destination of Bobs house. Then off load. I ain’t doing that again, I think is what I mumbled under my breath. Little did it sink in then that this in fact would be a constant way of life. Hauling things. But I’m good with it now.

So this is home and I am surrounded by people who know me. They know my children. Our story.

And I know some of theirs, when someone gets married, when there is a new baby, when someone falls on hard luck, the fundraiser events. But because I’ve been working so much out of the home for many years these events have been more on the periphery of my scope. Acknowledgement, appreciation, yes – but also a little taken for granted.

Until now. Living in this community the more I am awakened to the profundity of it, the depths it reaches into what it means to know your neighbour, to be a part of this tiny part of humanity.

She was a gardener, taking care of others’ plants and flowers, she and her partner working together on landscaping jobs for about 15 years here and she passed away. She was in her 50’s and died of Lung Cancer a few days ago. And when I mentioned this one evening to a friend how many neighbours have passed my friend said, It’s our age. She said, there were three people in my condo on my floor that had died within a few years of each other.

I thought about what she said, but it wasn’t the same.

It was then that I realized what it is I am a part of here.  At that moment I came to fully understand the connectedness that resides here, what it means to be a supportive community, to BE IN a community. I realized how far on the sidelines I have dwelled.

It was an epiphany.

Because when I see Anne I can remember her husband, and see Liz and remember her husband, and see Pat and remember her husband, and see Veronica and remember her husband,  and see Keith and remember his wife, and see Shannon and remember her daughter, and when I see Dan I can remember his partner. And because I can see my neighbours navigating catastrophic life changes and doing the wrenching work of carrying on, of salving wounds. Of finding a new normal everyday.

I have newfound respect and even a reverence that wasn’t so present before as a resident here. Of what Home means, and Connection.

 

 

 

 

Freeze up

Protection ice floe

This is rather a rare occurrence for us west coasters to have our bay iced over for nearly 3 days, but there have been tales told that in the far past people have ice skated out to this little island.

The above photo is the third day as it’s finally breaking up. Bob and I have a welded aluminum boat which means it can take pushing through the ice, and we did. (This also scraps clean the bottom of our boat brilliantly too.) We went out to where our sailboat is moored and did a few circles around her to free her up and then we went all around the rest of the bay to break ice for those that are living aboard their boats and would have difficulty getting to shore with their row boats.

Off to a good start since this happened on January 1st  making it our first good deed for 2016!

Our sailboat in the icy bay 2016

gulls standing on ice

Days gone by

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To briefly catch up, I have been busy with my weekly Spanish class which has proven to be a fun and supportive gathering of neighbours as we learn to grasp the language through role play and songs, and I’ve been sitting in on her small intermediate class held later on the same day which helps me in listening comprehension, lots of laughs too- Wednesdays are mi dia de Espanol! Last class is tomorrow.

I was called back to work for two weeks (I opted to remain on the casual list) where it was good to be around my co-workers again, although my reason for being there was on a tragic note, filling in for a good friend and colleague who had lost her 21 year old nephew by suicide. He was like a son to her. Then attending the celebration of life, so many came in support, heart wrenching.

I cleaned out the shed (that was a job, take my word) and on a gorgeous crisp/clear Saturday did a backyard clean up and burn- I love a good bonfire. Primal.

The studio space I am planning is beginning to take form and look forward to start working in the new year.

I’ve also been doing some Holiday baking, something I haven’t had much time for over the last few years, and my moms 90th is next weekend so there is the organizing taking place at the moment. And as for my mom, my visits are steady throughout the week taking her out for walks on the boardwalk on the beach when the weather suits, for appointments,  just being with her.

The featured image at the top of my post is my Garden Angel, I felt she encompasses this post in a way; the approaching Soltice, the grace I feel she expresses when I think of my friends nephew, and my mom’s common response of “Bless your heart” to us or anyway who does a kindness for her.

Found her many years ago in a second hand store and paid $7.00. She has been watching over my growing things ever since.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hola! Ole!

Week two of my island neighbourhood Spanish class and it went well! She covered numbers and we did some merchant/shopper roll playing  and then the class ended on a musical note; two students brought a Spanish translated rendition of “Row, Row, Row your boat”. Next week they said we’ll sing it in the round. Uh huh, should be smooth! Anyway such fun to get together with my neighbors and learn something as a group. I love my little community, so fortunate to be in an enclave such as this. Oh and according to Duolingo I now possess 15% fluency in Spanish, whoo hoo!

Hablo Español- well, my reoccurring attempt to

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I’m no stranger to the Spanish language, and not that I have any proficiency what so ever, but being born in California the school curriculum included Spanish, not sure if it still does as I’m talking some 45 years ago. My breath got caught just there.

I had it in junior high grades 7, 8 and as an elective in my junior year grade 9 at Huntington High, then my family moved to Canada where French was the dominant second language and was mandatory up to grade 10. I rather regret not taking advantage of that new language, but rather than jump in I stayed with what was familiar and was allowed to take Spanish by correspondence instead, which didn’t come to much since I had no one to practice with. When I got to grade 11 I took it as an elective. A side note about my Spanish teacher for that class, Mr. Gallagher, the first day of class he burst into the room holding a guitar, threw himself onto an empty desk and belted out La Cucaracha. He was an engaging teacher far and few between.

Later in life my husband and I traveled to Mexico a few times, one trip lasting three months backpacking and I took some Spanish tutoring, until our rented bikes were stolen one night and had to re pay the bike shop thus blowing my tutoring budget.

I took more classes in my town upon returning from that trip to keep the language alive. And again years later when I was employed at the University I recently retired from; one of our perks was exemption from tuition, so I had enrolled in a class that was compatible with my work schedule. One year.

One whole year, and I did o.k. but I struggled with exams and the finals. So obviously not quit getting it and I’m dismayed by this since this language and I go way (way) back.

So now a neighbor on my little island, who is originally from Colombia, has decided to hold  Spanish classes at our community hall each Wednesday morning. It is beginner level and I am attending, along with 20 of my neighbors, and although I know a bit more to take her intermediate class she plans on following up with,  rather than wait for that class I think I really need to begin the very basics again. I have  3 people in close proximity  that I can practice with too, I want to get this, I want to speak another language and by gum I plan to master it!

Anyone else out there having second language learning issue and successes? Did you have to persevere for years to break ground?  How did you finally break through the barrier?

A long goodbye

 

One day in the final week before my retirement from my position at the University I took a stroll over to the Fine Arts building on the campus.

It’s been a long time since I visited this department even though it’s a short jaunt up the hill from the culinary department where I work. And it was a bit sentimental because I and this institution have a deeply personal history and I felt like I needed to revisit my “roots” and say goodbye.

My relationship to this campus isn’t only for the duration of my employment here of the last 7 years, but all the way back to 1976 when it was a college. This is where at 18 I began my Fine Arts degree, right here.

I opened the big glass door and stood in the foyer and memories came flooding back. The couch over there against the wall where we took breaks from our painting to have a smoke and talk with the instructor. The studios forested with easels, the smell of acrylics and oils, graphite and charcoal. My fingers stained with whatever medium I had been working with. I walked over to where the printing studio was but it no longer held the big press I had used for Lithographs and the silk screen frames were no longer there, it was now full of what looked like set design maquettes. I entered the vacant sculpture studio and saw that it hasn’t changed at all, the pleasant memory of working with the Lost Wax Method where I made a bronze cast of a bear in a cave, that I still have, and the unpleasant memory of working with resins. Nothing good came from that. I walked across the hall and peered in through the glass window in the door at the ceramics studio full of engaged students talking, laughing or quietly focused on the wheel. It looked just as I had left it. To add, this is where my mom when in her 50’s taught pottery in the evenings to Community Ed students.

It’s a heady place this campus. It witnessed many of my life changes and growth; a pivotal place. Every decade of my adult life is attached to this place. 

This is where in my first year I moved out of my parents home and together with my boyfriend of 3 years also a fellow art student, and another art student got our first apartment. The second year my boyfriend went on a student exchange to Florida and left me on my own. His sister and a two of our friends, also students, shared a large house to finish out the second year. When my boyfriend came back for a visit we agreed to marry the following year. My mom and I window shopped for wedding dresses, but it had been a long year apart, and consequently I branched out socially; when he returned my feelings had changed and I broke up with him.

I had during that second year become involved in a small theatre group during my second year headed by an English Professor who wrote satirical musicals and this campus theatre is where I performed and sang in those plays publicly in my first ever stage appearance. I also fell in love with the piano player. Our little theatre group segued into a working band of 10 musicians and we played gigs that consisted of all original songs all over town developing a sizable following. Both the piano player, our lead singer, as well as our slide guitarist have continued on in very successful musical careers.

This campus is where we held our practice sessions, and when our drummer left for the Caribbean to work for Club Med another drummer came to try out and stayed. Turned out I would spend 5 years with this man and have a daughter. To add, a colleague I recently shared my office space with for the last seven years had years ago bought the house he had built in 1975, before he  joined our band and when he was married. She bought it from his ex-wife. She and I discovered this when conversing over coffee break one day.

Of course woven through those happy events are some bitter lessons, some bad decisions, and maybe even a regret or two, but the truth of the matter is they were deep and in many ways profoundly enriching. So were the good times. Very much so.

This campus saw me return again in my 30’s to enroll to become a Baker, during which time my brother was dying from bowel cancer, and I returned again in my 40’s to become a chef. Then to return again in my 50’s as an employee working as a chef assistant.

Every decade of my adult life is attached to this place.

And now here I am. Was and was.

So now it must certainly be adieu mustn’t it? I really hesitate to be steadfast in anything final. Lets just say I will not be surprised if for some reason I find my footsteps once again carrying me back to embark on yet another enterprise in my 60th decade. But for now I give thanks and honor the memories, and for many ways in being a place of life experience and learning for me.