Thursday, October 06, 2005

A Memory

Saturday, June 14, 1980

I got up a little earlier than usual, for a Saturday. I had decided to go to an auction outside East Aurora – Center St. the ad said. Hurrying – trying to get there as soon after 10:00 as possible. What a beautiful summer day it would be.

Going through town – Main Street – saw all kinds of activity, then remembered reading something about a festival – the Roycrofters – decided to stop for a minute and check it out.

Discovered an antique auction going on, along with a craft show, art show, etc. I ended up staying and staying and staying – didn’t want to leave. Treated myself to a hot dog and sauerkraut and drink, eventually. The antique prices were high – I thought - but overheard others later saying they were bargains. Beautiful things – I only bid on two items the whole day – but I didn’t care much – I was too busy enjoying the weather, the atmosphere, the people, being alive – after so many, many weeks of not caring.

It seemed like I had walked into another state – couldn’t believe I was so close to home and making the discovery of a quaint craftsman’s and artist’s paradise.

Basically, I was interested in the whole concept of the Roycrofters – feeling especially involved in the kin of the Larkins. After the auction was over, I did manage to drive the few miles outside of town to the auction I had intended to make, but came right back to spend more time in town -–to absorb as much of the atmosphere as possible. Went through the museum to see more of Elbert Hubbard’s things – visited the other buildings on campus – now craft shops, antiques shops, studios.

The Roycroft Inn itself gave me the greatest feeling of nostalgia – straight out of Victorian days – I could feel it, smell it, hear it.

Watched some young girls doing French dances – went to a poetry reading. Sitting on the grass, under the trees, with a handful of people – really tuned in. I enjoyed Joe Meegan’s poetry. He thinks as I do – especially about trees. I loved that one – I’ll have to buy the book he is having published. Met Kitty Turgeon there – I’ll have to call her and tell her I’ll donate Mrs. Hubbard’s bedroom curtain to the museum. I think I would like that.

Kitty Turgeon – not at all the type of person I had imagined after reading about her endeavors as a decorator of all their restaurants. She sat beside me on the grass for the poetry reading. She is President of the Roycrofters At-Large – I didn’t know that until today.

This is a close-knit group – I feel like I could belong and learn to enjoy life again with these artists – learn to enjoy the simple things. I guess I don’t have to learn – I already know how – had just pushed it aside for a while.

Enjoying the weather – the beautiful sunshine on my skin – the soft breeze – the sounds – people watching – sharing – even with strangers.

Decided to visit Millard Fillmore’s house before leaving town – just around the corner. Very pleasant – and fun visiting when you are the only one on the tour and can chat with the guides. Was told I probably know a lot more about antiques and restored houses than they do. These ladies haven’t been guides for long – but I can tell they love it – volunteers. The biggest rhododendrons there I have ever seen in the North – absolutely gorgeous – in full bloom. Planning on a luncheon in the garden tomorrow – fashion show and mock wedding. Hope the weather holds out and wish I could attend.

Checked out a couple of garage sales and picked up something to sell later.

Such a lovely, lovely day. I hope to have many more like that. Even enjoyed walking around eating my chocolate chip cookies I made and drinking the pop I took along. I’ll never forget this day and when I went to sleep I was still thinking about everything that I had felt during the day.
(This memoir is precisely as I wrote it twenty-five years ago. I found it last night as I was going through a box of keepsakes sorting things to be moved when I find out where I am going.)

Years later --- since that wonderful day, East Aurora has been embedded in the lives of my children. Craig worked there for several years, at Fisher-Price. Coral, Arthur and kids have a home there, Carrie has lived there. Allie graduated from High School there as Valedictorian of her class, and also received a perfect score of 1600 on her SAT’s.

There have been many festivals in the ensuing years, always attended by one or another of us. The Roycroft Inn has been lovingly restored as a hotel and restaurant, and it is a must as a place for lunch or dinner on my yearly visits to see Coral.

Also, as a note, our Buffalo House was across the street from the Larkin complex of homes and our whole family became very involved in the history of John D. Larkin and his company. Elbert Hubbard, the founder of the Roycrofters, married into the family.


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