Thursday, September 08, 2011

Vacation Trip - The People

Sometimes vacations are just about getting away, and thus about place. Others revolve around specific events or activities. And sometimes, it's about getting together with certain people. My vacation was a bit of all three, with the people being as important if not more so than the places and activities I so enjoyed. They represent so many stages of my life and though I've been in contact with them all via mail & phone & Facebook, it has been anywhere from a couple of years to over 40 years since I'd seen them. So here's to the people (and some of their pets) who made my trip so special!

I'll start with distant cousin, Laura. There was no one around to snap a pic of us together, so I asked, "How long are your arms?" Just long enough to get this cell phone snap. Our mothers were very close but by the time we came along, there weren't many visits between families. Laura thinks the last time we saw it other we were in our teens. We reconnected about 8 years ago when her sister contacted me for old family photos. We discovered we had quilting in common and the three of us did a block exchange (that's my "Cousins Quilt" ufo). It was wonderful to finally talk with Laura face to face and remember, this is family.

Debbie and I went to High School together, were in Latin Club, Honor Society and Booster Club. We'd had no contact since graduation until a year or so ago when we found each other on Facebook. To our mutual surprise, we now have quilting in common not to mention the fact that she lives in the Tacoma area as I once did. Debbie couldn't make it to our 40th high school reunion, but we had a little reunion of our own at the quilt show in Tacoma. It was so much fun viewing the quilt show with her, discovering we had the same tastes and opinions about the quilts. Having taught quilting classes in the area for many years, Debbie could use her local knowledge of the entrants to point out things to me I otherwise would have missed.

Larry and I met in 1975 at the Episcopal church camp on Coeur d'Alene Lake. I was freshly graduated from college and weeks from getting married when my future husband and I were asked to counsel at senior high camp. Oh well, what the heck? I had no experience with this sort of thing, so they paired me up with Larry who shared his vast experience and instilled confidence in me that I could pull this off. We've been close friends ever since, even as he stayed on "the west side" and we gallivanted around the country. 2001 was the last time we'd been together, and I must say, he's hardly changed a bit.

Then there's Donna. I can't believe I failed to get a picture of us together, but I love this one of her with Mr. Fishhead. Donna and I worked together for about 7 years in the '80's at Ted Brown Music in Tacoma and became like sisters. She's another friend who stayed put while I kept moving from place to place. We've never lost touch, but I was shocked to realize we haven't seen each other for probably 15 years. We had no trouble picking up where we left off.

A few years ago, I sent Donna one of my older quilts, an original design with hearts. I'd enjoyed it on my wall for many years and at that time I felt Donna needed a hug. Since I couldn't do it in person, I sent the quilt along to do it for me. She'd told me how it matched perfectly a red wall in their living room and that she planned to hang it there. It was the first thing I spotted when I entered the house. She has a smaller quilt of mine, made especially for her and it was a pleasure to see it again too.

I was amused to find Donna now has chickens and is contemplating starting a "backyard barnyard" business. The rooster's name is Arturo and his harem of hens are named after the Andrew Sisters.

Sherrie is the most recent addition to my circle of good friends. Although I knew of Sherrie and her quilting through a mutual friend, we only met a couple of years ago and immediately sensed we had a lot in common. We've been growing the friendship through our blogs and e-mails, but this was the first time just she and I have spent time together. I'd say the bond is pretty deep now! I can't thank Sherrie enough for inviting me over for the quilt show, then saying, Stay as long as you want. She knew I had friends in the area, maybe places I wanted to see again, and she was the perfect host, tour guide and chauffeur, not to mention a whole lot of fun to be with.

I'd actually not seen much of Sherrie's work and was mesmerized by what was hanging in her house. This was just one that I kept drinking in during my stay. Like those in the quilt show, her quilts made me realize I really need to start working bigger again.

Sherrie's pet of choice is Bunners, the rabbit. My previous experience with pet rabbits includes one my dad warned me against even as he handed it to me as an Easter present when I was about 5 (they bite and scratch with those hind feet so watch how you hold him), and a friend's that never seemed to be out of its cage. Not positive experiences. Bunners won me over, racing out to greet me in the morning (ulterior motive as he expected a piece of banana) and contentedly grunting as he nibbled food or groomed himself. No biting or scratching!.

And my goodness, how I enjoyed her husband Dave, who was quite the host and tolerated (or perhaps enjoyed?) my monopolizing his wife. Thanks for the beer, Dave!

These were the people I went to see, but there were a couple of strangers that factored into making the trip memorable. Here's my seatmate on the train between Seattle and Tacoma - Stu of the diamond willow canes and walking sticks. This was such a nice connection to make.

On the other hand, this was my seatmate on the way home between Everett and Spokane. You can tell she knows I'm not a kid person. I'd love to tell you she changed my mind about that, but she and her slightly older sister who soon took her place lived up to my worst nightmare of whiny bored children in transit. Ah well, that's what earplugs are for...

I packed so much into my week away, but there's so much I didn't do that I thought I might. Didn't swim in Donna's pool or strike a yoga pose with Sherrie. Didn't get out my sketchbook or crack open the novel thrown in at the last minute. I failed to see the spectacular scenery my train route is famous for and visit the American Art Gallery (a frequent lunch break destination when I worked across the street). The Seattle Art Museum was closed the day we were in town, and we didn't make it to the original Starbucks either. Didn't eat at Frisco Freeze (there's a story there) and there are more people in the area to look up than I could fit in. And though we talked about it every day, I never got to pull out my handwork and stitch with Sherrie while sitting on her deck enjoying the view of Wollachet Bay (below). I'm definitely going to have to go back.


Sherrie Spangler said...

My goodness Sheila, I can hardly keep up with your posts! You really would be a great journalist. I thoroughly enjoyed your company, and you know you're welcome to come back anytime, for as long as you want. Bunners and Dave second that. But bring Judi the next time.

Amanda said...

Well it's all been fabulous, wonderful and enlightening! Thank you so much for sharing, you are lucky to have such great friends.

It's funny how children just 'know' isn't it. John has perfected a look that sends them in the opposite direction before they even know they've turned around! lol.

MulticoloredPieces said...

Class reunions are like stepping into a time machine! And thanks for your tour and comments of the Pacific West Quilt Show--marvelous! Your comments are so thoughtful and you picked out amazing work.
best, nadia