Today, my Dad, John ffrench, who was def in my top posse of best friends, would have been 95.
Tonight Berkshire Magazine hosts The Berkshire 25 awards reception at The Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, MA. It’s a really cool (and 2023 the 10th) annual event celebrating the 25 Most Dedicated, Most Creative, Most Influential members of Berkshire County Ma held at a gorgeous Berkshire event space each fall.
Having attended this sweet recognition ceremony in the past, it is especially lovely to let you know that THIS year I am honored to be included in The Berkshire 25.
(Does the tenth year milestone translate to me being one of the 250 most dedicated, creative, and influential peeps in the county? Whatevs - I am thankful!)
Happy birthday in heaven Dad! I got an award for you!
Here is the sitch.
I am stoked to be recognized within my local community full of the most prestigious, established innovative and renowned cultural organizations, educational institutions, artists, actors, musicians, entrepreneurs and authors. Since the notification of my inclusion this year, I have been looking forward to publicly sharing my gratitude for this community where I have spent my life developing a path of creative adventure. Place - is core to what makes me who I am and The Berkshires is my place. My home turf.
Two days ago was my 19th wedding anniversary.
I think this is the dishwasher anniversary - right?
Or, maybe it is the pothole anniversary… ?
As I reflected back on the last year of my marriage (and life) I burst into tears. I was standing over the kitchen sink at 10pm finishing the last of the giant PILE of dirty dishes while my three house mates (aka family members) snoozed, tapped away on their phones, or giggled at an inaudible story private to their experience…
Lost in reflection, I realized that in the last 12 months, my husband has had Covid - twice AND gotten squished by a tree, while working on the Monday after Thanksgiving. It has been a fucking hard year. I mean, yeah, we could be mourning the loss of my husband or he could have been paralyzed or had a traumatic brain injury… an he doesn’t…. (huge shout out to the Universe - THANK YOU!)
But let me tell ya something, I am sick of the care taking, the worry AND the dishes. I guess what I am really sick of is the expectation, assumptions and disregard, or is it lack of awareness of, or maybe it is just the lack of feeling appreciation for, the concessions that come with all this ‘til death do us apart’ bullshit. I want recognition and compromise toward simplification..
Ready to circle back and tie all this together??
Chris and Violet are home right now, quarantined on one half of the house with Covid. Lucy was planning to be my date tonight, but we won’t be at The Berkshire 25 awards reception this evening.
I won’t share from that historical stage my gratitude for the community that has supported me and my small businesses for over 50 years. I don’t feel right being in an enclosed space with my community - even if Lucy and I have tested Covid Negative each day for the last week.
I am honored, and grateful, for the award given me and for this unmatchable place we call home. This community feeds me, they trust and honor and support me, and today, my community celebrates me. I am proud, proud of my accomplishments, proud to be a part of this circle of dedicated, creative, influencers that is The Berkshire 25. Proud to acknowledge the dedicated creative influence John and Primm ffrench shared with me and so many of their Monument Mountain Regional High School students over their decades teaching art. Thank you Berkshire Magazine, not just for recognizing my contribution to The Berkshires, but for inspiring this reflection.
Just for the record, I went to Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, not Boston College. The textiles I repurpose are generally collected from manufacturers and harvested from the thrift stream, not waterways…
You can catch me in person at the upcoming New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck NY October 21 & 22 or at The Holiday Shindy December 9 at Zion Lutheran Church, Pittsfield MA.
Oh, and a word of advise, wash your hands a lot and wear a mask even if you feel like a freak and thought Covid was in the rearview.