from Sandy Needham

Monday, December 3, 2007

Nyack Dispatch

December 3, 2007

Sometimes I remind you that I am aware these dispatches may be entirely TMI. I persist in writing them because I enjoy it, and because they serve as my own record. I trust that any of you who prefer not to hear more will click on 'delete,' or speak sternly to the recipients who continue to encourage me!

My sister and brother-in-law drove me north to the home of my dear friend, Lucia, in our charming Hudson River village of Nyack. Lucia is the kindergarten teacher at the Blue Rock School and a longtime loyal friend and neighbor. We sat at her kitchen table gabbing and catching up all evening.

Lucia is a photographer, a consummate artist - particularly an exquisite quilter - and the sort of magical gardener who seems to just walk by and the flowers spring up! This is not to diminish her hard work at all of the above...she just makes it all seem easy! I have included a rare photograph of her (since she is usually the one with the signature camera around her neck) from last summer when she visited an orphanage in Tibet. I am accustomed to seeing her surrounded by children, as her classroom is next to the Blue Rock School office, which I managed and from where I directed admissions for six years before moving to Brazil.

On Monday morning we were off to Blue Rock! I got to spend the day among my friends, grown-up and young, at the school I have always considered a little piece of heaven. After lamenting and celebrating the inevitable changes of face and stature that mark the miraculous growth of children, I hung out in the school office with my beloved former assistant, Claudia. She is pictured here in the role of witch storyteller in the kindergarten - one of a thousand roles she fills! I got to spend a rare spell with my friend Caty, the busy school director and theatrical genius responsible for so much magic there; and I got to read the lunch story to the fifth graders - most of whom I've known since they were four years old! I assisted with quiet reading in the first grade, famous for its rambunctious boys, and remained for their sewing art project to witness in awe how every student was focussed on every stitch. The other photos show a mixed age group, and 6th/7th/8th graders trying out a contraption made in woodworking. You may not guess from these photos, but the students do well for the rest of their educational careers. The demands are great, just not the particular demand of spewing back on tests factual information with which one has been stuffed!

Claudia, Lucia and I went to dinner in Nyack. Next morning I lugged my suitcase around my former town before catching the bus to Manhattan. Our landlord, a doctor who has his office downstairs in the enormous house we rented from him - practically in the middle of town - had a 'for rent' sign up on the sidewalk. How sad that no one is living in that roomy, charming home that we just adored. I passed so many familiar places I used to frequent: the river gleaming in the sun; Hopper House gallery, where Edward Hopper grew up; the book store with ladders on a track; the Starbucks for a decaf espresso; my favorite clothing store - Maria Luisa, where I had a happy reunion with the store's namesake. I observed what was unchanged, plus what changes one year had brought to Main Street and Broadway, Nyack, NY.

This bus route to Manhattan affords a bird's-eye view of the river mansions in Piermont that slope down to the water. Good-bye, Nyack, until next time!


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