Monday, August 8, 2011

Adventures-VT to MA-I learn about family&community

I left Vermont at 7:30 am to get to Mass in time for lunch. Vermont is far.  But what is even farther, farther from anything I can ever imagine is what happened to Scott Toney and his family. I met Scott through my little sister, Emma.  Emma met him through one of my oldest friends Lynn, who got Emma a job when she moved to Boston.  Scott has been Emma's mentor through her entire career in the restaurant industry in Boston.  When I first met him,  I knew that he was not only a great teacher, but great friend to Emma.  I haven't seen him in a few years and he was the only person who replied when I e-mailed FB friends to tell me about events happening in their town.   He wrote:

Hey Tanja...hope you are well....If you are coming out my way (to see your sister or something!), I am living in Westford and on July 24 there is a bike-a-thon in my niece's name to raise awareness of domestic violence.  It iis in honor of my niece who was murdered last year by her father.  Might be a bit more somber than you are looking for, but it is a slice of life I guess.Maybe I will see you anyway along the way???? Best to you on your project!
    I was really moved by his e-mail so I planned a trip to Western Mass, unfortunately he was called into work the afternoon of the bike-a-thon, so I wasn't able to make it, but the town was covered with banners and signs (the community of Westford has wrapped their arms around the family in a show of support and strength).  I realized so much of this project has been about fun and hanging out - but also family and community.  Scott talked about (while fixing me an amazing meal) moving back to help his sister and also re-evaluating what is important in life, and living it in a healthy and fulfilling way.  His sister, Jody, came home in time for the portrait and was kind enough to be in it.  The ironic, or maybe not so ironic thing is that Olivia held true to her heart are many of things I have experienced in my travels and also hold true, so I encourage you all to give what you can to the Live for Liv foundation.  This is an excerpt from the website, I especially love that it is a celebration of her life:

    Just seventeen years old her life was ended by a tragic moment of domestic violence. She was killed with a gunshot wound from her father who also shot and critically injured her mother, Jody Marchand, on February 1, 2010.....While one negative act can send waves of violence and hate, our mission is to create positive energy sending a ripple of hope and change in her honor.

    Our mission is to build an organization in memory of Olivia which continues her love of the outdoors, nature, gardening and cooking.

      Then I headed to Glouster on my way home to photograph Rachel who I met after her artist talk at Bates College Museum of Art.  I loved her work so much, I went up after the talk and introduced myself.  She did a piece about FB, where she changed her status update every minute and then took screen shots. I was in the initial stages of thinking about this project and was inspired by her use of FB as a medium.  She was kind enough to invite me to stay over at her house and  had lots of family and invited them over for supper, so I got to be part of a really lovely family dinner, too.  Her work was integrated into their beautiful house, my favorite piece was a table cloth that she had everyone sign who sat down for dinner, and then embroidered their names.

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