“Hi Thurman, this is Margo.”
“Hi, Thurman, this is Pieta.”.
I get these calls occasionlly…randomly. I never know when to expect them. They are always a wonderful surprise!
Margo called earlier this week with book bags for the pantry. Pieta calls with items of dignity: deodorant, women’s feminine products, bars of soap, razors.
In all cases, these gifts are distributed to people who simply do not have the funds to provide for themselves. Margo’s recent gifts of book bags came with pencils, crayons, spiral notebooks, composition books.
Think back to your own childhood. How difficult was it for your family to get you ready for school? Was there money for school supplies? Did you ever begin the school year unprepared with even the basic essentials needed? Were you ever embarrassed by this situation…either for yourself or for others?
In today’s Struggling Class, there is no money left over for things like school supplies, school lunches, new school clothes.
When Margo and Pieta drop items off for our pantry, they never ask or expect gratitude or even recognition. With Pieta, I just come home and find bags of these beautiful necessities waiting for distribution.
And, I know that pantries throughout Ulster County are receiving these wonderful items. Margo casually mentioned that the Ulster County Realtors Association purchased 500 book bags this year.
On behalf of pantry shoppers everywhere, I send gratitude. There are so many people in the Struggling Class these days.
The Ulster County Realtors Association is reflective of the attitude toward generosity in Woodstock. In Woodstock, people are comfortable just dropping off things that the Iess fortunate can use. No one seeks recognition. No one wants a thank you note. They just want the things to be used by people who need them.
You may feel that I have mistakenly posted this article in the wrong blog…that this article should have been sent to http://www.hungerisnotadisease.com. But, I intentionally posted it here at http://www.goodmorningwoodstock.com because Margo and Pieta and the Realtors completely personify the Woodstock attitude toward giving. Both as individuals and as a group, Woodstockers will give their last dollar, their only coat to someone, anyone who needs it.
I offer a salute of gratitude for the generosity.
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The stories are true. The people are real.
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not happening. I’m in writers’ boot camp all week.
Wish me luck!
No blog about Woodstock will be complete or even acceptable without a post honoring the brightest star of of all the stars in Woodstock: Abbe Graber, otherwise known as Miss G. Abbe is big, beautiful, talented, and a light in the darkness for all of us in Woodstock.
I hadn’t been living in Woodstock long before I discovered the local flea market. It seemed she had a booth at the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market every weekend that summer. What a way to spend the summer!
Abbe’s booth was generally along the back perimeter and she smiled this gorgeous smile at everyone who visited her table. Throughout the day, if a lull occurred, Abbe belted out a jazzy song that could be heard all over town. What a voice!
When I was a little girl of 7 or 8 years, if anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up…I always replied “singer”. Nobody quite got it. After all, I couldn’t even carry a tune. But, I promise you, to know what I wanted to be when I grew up…all you have to do is listen to Abbe Graber belt out a song.
I’m not a jealous person. I didn’t want to be Abbe. But, when I was 8, I wanted to grow up and have a voice just exactly like her’s. And, of course, the truth here is that there is only one voice like Abbe’s and she’s got it.
For starters, I still can’t carry a tune.
So, I happily live with my talents and thoroughly enjoy her voice when I get a chance to hear it.
But, Abbe’s more than just a gorgeous, show stopping voice. She’s got a smile that lights up the whole town. And, if that’s not enough, she’s got a kazoo company. Abbe makes the world famous Woodstock Wooden Kazoos.
These handsome, individually made musical instruments come in different sizes and are made of several different woods. They come in walnut, maple, oak, cherry, mahogany, and cedar.
And, they are not just pretty little toys. Abbe’s Woodstock Wooden Kazoos have a crisp, yet mellow sound. They are easy to play. And, they are owned by many professional musicians the world over.
And, as if Abbe’s star isn’t bright enough, she makes beautiful ironwork sculptures. Abbe’s actually bilocating these days. She’s got her plant on Mill Hill right behind EvolveD and then, at the other end of town, she’s right around the corner from Joshua’s Restaurant at Woodstock Earth located at 5 Tannery Brook.
Drop by her Tannery Brook location to visit for a minute, bask in the sunshine in her smile. The new location boasts many creations made by local artists in addition to her Woodstock Wooden Kazoos.
Thanks for reading this blog post. The story is true. The people are real.
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Photo donated by Jennette Nearhood
Larger than life, the piece shows 1 eye, her nose and mouth.
Just beginning her studies at the Corcoran, Jennette wasn’t comfortable painting an entire face. A photography major, she was painting for the first time in her life.
Sometimes I sit in my chair with my 3 Chihuahuas and just look at the painting for several minutes when I come home from the pantry. So much of this painting is relevant to what I’m doing now, what the pantry shoppers are experiencing.
As people travel the path to a pantry, they lose things. One shopper recently gave me 3 paintings. He was offloading personal possessions and just didn’t want to see them go in the dumpster. I featured one of them in posts for months.
I also have paintings given to me by other shoppers. If I stay in this business long enough, I’ll end up with a whole gallery. That actually happened to Dr. Wayne Longmore, the absolute best physician in the area.
There’s a moral in this story somewhere for me. I’m just not sure what it is yet.
Dr. Longmore, an Emergency Medicine specialist, was a Woodsstock physician. He practiced by himself, without the help of a receptionist or nurse. He was favored by artists, writers, musicians as well as many other people from around the area. Artists went to him with their health issues and he treated them with dignity and respect, whether or not they had $$$. Most of them had no $$$ so, when he worked to make them well, they brought over paintings.
Dr. Longmore finally had the best local art collection in the area. The paintings and sculptures disappeared from his office after he was arrested. I never learned the real story of what happened.
The public story was that he prescribed too many painkillers…too much Oxycodone. The FBI Report referred to the product as hydrocodone. Well, the public stories in the papers aren’t always the whole story or even a piece of a story. I know that from personal experience.
Dr. Longmore and I knew a lot of the same people. He healed them. The pantry fed them. Without even trying, I knew more or less who was on what. How could I not know? I saw them every week under fairly intimate circumstances.
I only knew 2 people on Oxycodone. And, one of those 2 was trying to sell the stuff. So, they can’t blame Dr. Longmore for that.
He was sentenced to 6 months house arrest, 3 years probation, 200 hours community service and fined $200,000.00. The real punishment went to the poor in Woodstock who now have nowhere to go for a doctor. It puts a lot of pressure on the Healthcare as a Human Right group.
His office, just down from Lori’s cafe, sat empty for the longest time…the office at 104 Mill Hill Road. It was adorned with a sad “for sale” sign. I think of Dr. Longmore every time I pass by. I remember his beautiful art collection, all the down and out people he served, all the good the man did for the needy in Woodstock.
Last Winter, the For Sale sign disappeared. As spring approached, workers began to fix up the office both inside and out.
While this happened, Lori’s became Nana’s and several other stores in the little complex changed hands. EvolveD expanded and Fringe moved down one space. Venus Adorned, a corset/dress shop opened recently. Ed Dempsey Tattoos is in the upstairs space. I joke to myself about musical businesses.
The building at the other end of the complex sports several Win Morrison signs while the businesses within still have their signs. One, IDivide, raises questions about whether or not someone is trying to run a business in the midst of it all.
Only 2 spaces have appeared to stay the same: Woodstock Wooden Kazoo and Woodstock Print Express. They are the anchor stores.
Now, Dr. Longmore’s old office has a new coat of paint and other improvements. Plants in pots placed beside the door encourage a prospective new tenant. A “For Rent” sign is in one of the windows.
The whole area is being gentrified. When I look around, I see 3 banks and a theater surrounding the building and I realize that Woodstock now has an emerging financial/theater district surrounding Dr. Longmore’s old office.
So, I suppose the down-and-out patients – artists, writers – would seem out of place in the newly transitioned area.
In spite of the paint, the sign and the plants, the building sits empty, a monument commemorating those in Woodstock who unfailingly give of themselves. Frankly, I don’t care if they ever rent it.
Artwork donated by Jennette Nearhood
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