Welcome Home to Western Mass
Being from Massachusetts myself, I feel ok with mocking the Boston area accent. After all, my Dad still says “Paaaaaaahk the caaaaah!” And he’s lived west of Worcester (where the accent technically terminates) for over 45 years.
That’s a long time to ignore the letter R.
Speaking of my Dad… The above photo is the original nuclear St. Hilaire family. We are not often all together in one place these days, so this photo was at the urging of Big Al (on the right) who was unsuccessful in getting us to all to stand still on my last visit. Yes, it is my visit that prompts these family gatherings because I live in Central Florida and my family all live in Western Massachusetts. So when I finally get up this way, we make it a point to eat together.
Because for as long as I can remember, our family gatherings have always been focused on food. “Where are we meeting for breakfast?” “Who is hosting dinner?” “What side dish are you bringing?” “Can you stop and get zucchini from the farm stand on your way here?”
What else is there to talk about?
We could talk about the fact that my son Connor is following in the footsteps of his uncle Joe (left) and Alan (right) who are also pretty tall and sport some pretty big feet. We could talk about the fact that like my daughter Emilie, both my sister and I have an affinity for funky, colorful hair and nose piercings. Speaking of color, check out my Mom’s teal leggings. My brother Chris (in the Celtic’s shirt) is all about eating, so he’s super happy to see me — anytime.
Being the oldest of five kids was no easy task. Other than my sister Aimée, who is three years my junior, I remember when each one of my siblings born. I cared for each of my brothers from infancy–Alan was born when I was 9, Chris was born when I was 12, and Joe was born when I was 17. By the time I had kids of my own, I was almost an expert.
I got to spend a quick 2-days with my family, too short. Every one of my Massachusetts family made the time to see me in Hadley. I had the opportunity to visit with my sister in-law, my step mother, and all of my nephews!
Road Trip to Gloucester
Although I was born in Boston, I don’t remember it. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been from the Western part of the state. My father was transferred from the Boston area with his job when my sister and I were toddlers. I have cousins, aunts, uncles, all over the outskirts of Boston, Cape Cod, New Hampshire, and Maine…. but we were the only family who went West.
Aimée offered to drive me to Gloucester. “Have you ever been there before?” she asked. I have not, despite it being the oldest seaport in the country, with lots of art galleries, quaint shops and one of the oldest art colonies in the US… I had never been. It is kind of cool to travel all over the country, and even the world, with my job–but it is also pretty neat to get to visit somewhere new so close to home.
We had lunch at a local seafood restaurant with a view of the water. My sister said “yes!” when they asked if we wanted to sit outside. I knew I was in for being cold. You see… if it’s under 70 degrees, I’m cold. The hostess sat us next to the propane heater and offered me a fleece blanket. My sister looked at me as if I were crazy. “What? I’m cold! Obviously it’s under 70.”
It’s been a long time since I lived in New England.
After lunch my sister dropped me off at the Cape May Marina and Resort, she had a two hour drive back and wanted to get home before dark. She gave me a hug and wished me good luck with my class. I have three brothers, but I only have one sister. I hated to see her go, after such a short visit, but Aimée will be visiting me in Florida in October, where it will STILL be hot.
Northeast Art Workshops
So here we are, most of my students are from Massachusetts, two are from North Carolina. Andrea is a repeat offender, she came down to Florida to take my class in Mount Dora two winters ago. She says she’ll never travel to Florida in the winter again, because there was a huge storm that made getting back to Boston a nightmare for her. We laughed about that as soon as I saw her and hugged her hello.
Have I mentioned lately that I love my job?
We have a small group of nine students here, it’s a nice number. The Labor Day Weekend crowds have gone home and we are experiencing some clearing skies. Believe it or not, the same storm that I drove into on my way to my recent watercolor tattoo in Tampa, Hermine…. was here waiting for me in Gloucester!
Come hell or high watercolor, I got that tattoo.
Life can be amazing, when you navigate through it with an open heart and an open mind. Open to endless possibilities. Big Al always gave good advice, “Just say YES, Bethie-Poo.”
for being a part of
My Art Journey,
REGISTER NOW for my Italy 2017 retreat with a payment plan!