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A guide to finer living in Connecticut & abroad December 2021

Vol 17 Issue 191



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Original A r t

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Origina al Gifftts Original Lifestyle

Everything here is made by LOCAL artists and artisanss. The New Gaallery Show: w

Origina al Fine Art Silks & We eaving Soaps/Candlle es

“For the Love of Animals”

Local Pottte ery Woodw wo orking Jourrnals/Cards

Cutting Boardss

Earrings/Jewel a lry

Needle Felting

A Artistic Frame es

Custom Mirrors

T Turned Bowlss


F Forged Iron Wooll Felted F lt d Bird dh d houses by b Sue S Peyton P t

Holiday Open House

Dec. 4th Open ’til 8pm!

Hours: Thurs & Fri Noo on-5pm Sat & Sun 10am-6pm 22 Darling Road, Salem 86 60.608.6526


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Holiday Show December 1 - January 12, 2022

Jeanne Rosier Smith Fast and Furious Pastel, 9 x 12”

Paul Batch Fire and Ice Oil, 6 x 8”

Kelly Birkenruth Learned Lemon Oil, 8 x 10”

Susan Powell Fine Art 679 Boston Post Rd, Madison CT 203.318.0616 Kathy Anderson Ruby and Nasturtiums Oil, 16 x 20”

Cora Ogden Ripening Pomegranates Oil, 12 x 9”

9 DECEMBER 2021 Vol. 17 Issue 191





Feature Stories


Preston Trading Post

Come for the Products Stay for the People

Julia Balfour

That Life, That Love, That Laugh

Lyme Academy of Fine Arts

Reviving Tradition with World-Class Aspirations

Shein Die

Queen of the Blues





The Holidays are here! No matter which flavor you honor and celebrate, I hope that you dear reader are able to spend some time around the people who mean the most to you and also the time to reflect on some of those who have made a difference in this life. Gifts are great, but it’s the people you love or have loved that matter most. In this season we give thanks to last year, and many begin planning how their next year will be spent. The dreaded New Year’s resolution is beginning to take shape. Personally, my wish for everyone next year is that as a collective we can do what it takes to find grace in our own lives while treating others just a little better than last year. That all of us can have our own perspective while more importantly allowing others to have theirs as well. We can do two things at the same time. Anything truly great that humans have accomplished is an amalgamation of thoughts, ideas, and implementation. The differences and even the imperfections of these ideas or beliefs are usually where the beauty lies. Societally, there isn’t a whole lot coming at us that hasn’t been there before. We tend to think that each new day brings us brand new things to sort through but history would tell us otherwise. My hope is that being alive and having a life becomes the gift. That caring for others becomes more important than the color of their shirt. My hope is we smile more and provide room for others to do the same in their lives. Have a safe and joyous Holiday! Jeffery Lilly



Just Say Yes!

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Music Mirth & Mojo - Black Bear Sled Dog Crusty Old Diver - Denizens of the Deep, Part 2 The Cheesemonger - Fondue and Racklett Season On the Vine - Altaneve Prosecco

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Art LiPuma - on the vine

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Yoou Won't Y Wo FFoorrgget the Naame, Once Y Yoou Meet the P Peeople P Preston Tr Trading Post: Stoves, Sofas, S and a Couple of "Hurricanes!" by Rona Mann n / Photos by Jefferryy Lilly none of them is on their phone, self-ab bsorbed, or disinterested. All of them equally smile, saayy "Good morniing," "welcome," and you know by their manner that this is genuin ne, not from Pa Page 18 of the oyee handbook. Yo You haavve emplo come to the right place. It's warm, familiaarr, honest.

Th he handshake is firm, resolute. Thee man looks you o right in the eeyye, his expression beccomes a warm smile. He is Joe Biberr,, the ow wner of the business...a business built on firm relaationships and a lo ove of family.

Post, you know that This is Preston Trading Po place you've driveen by a bunch of times, meanne of these daays." We Well, this is ing to go there "on the daay because whatever you think Preston Trading Post maay be, you're probably only partially correct.

You will also notice the three or four people beh hind the front counter. They are young, but

By definition, a trading post is a store in a remote place or settlement. Exactly what Jacob

Biberr, the founder of Preston Tr Trading Po Post had in mind when he opened the outpost in 1974 as a way ay to keep busy during retirement. His initial intention, according to his son, Joe, owner of that firm, resolute handshake, was to go to auctions and buy antiques and collectibles to resell.The property on which the Tr Trading Po Post is built is an adaptive reuse of a farm building, as Biber himself had a dairy and poultry farm in South Wi Windham and subsequently an egg production farm in Preston. A surrvvivor of the Holocaust along with his wife, Eva, he had a tortured history of running from the Nazis in the Ukraine, hiding out from the Gestapo, and haaving two family members shot dead. But now he was in America and looking for something new. w So in 1974 he opened Preston Tr Trading Po Post at just about the same time there was an oil embargo and oil was in short supply and at a

L ft to Left t right: i ht S Sam C Cruz - St Stove sales, l Kerr K ryy L Lanceeyy - St Stove Dept D t Mgr, M Ta Tamm myy Kli Klinikowski ik ki - F Furnitutre it t D Dept. t Mgr M r,, Joe J Bib Biber - O Owner


very high price. People were looking for wood stoves, and Jacob could provide them. "Dad had no aversion to risk," says Joe Biber, his father's biggest cheerleader and President of the company since 1988. "Preston Trading Post rapidly became known as a good place to buy wood stoves because they would buy from major manufacturers in large lots and sell them at fair prices."

when a "hurricane" named Tammy blew through Preston in 2015, landed on the second floor, and hasn't stopped doing what hurricanes do: acting as a giant engine converting energy to waves. In just six short years, Tammy Klinikowski has turned the furniture department inside out, and

This caused the identity of Preston Trading Post to develop and spread widely throughout the region. People came from all neighboring New England states, even New York and beyond because they had the selection, the reputation, and a family and staff that knew what they were talking about. But Biber knew stoves wouldn't last forever as the only product offered, so they developed a furniture department that takes up the entire second floor of the wide, expansive building. Initially, response was slow because people just didn't know it was there. They only thought of Preston Trading Post for stoves. That all changed

when a customer visits the store, it is Hurricane Tammy with her infectious personality and sunny smile that gets them up the stairs and blows them away with the kind of quality not seen in most local furniture stores. "What drove me to do this," said Tammy, was everything was brown. It was dark up here. It needed to be refreshed."

Like Joe's inspiration, it was Jacob who also served as Tammy's driving force. "Joe's Dad nurtured this business, so he deserves this. I don't want to be like other furniture stores. We aren't massive."Joe adds, "The department has really grown thanks to Tammy's efforts. The customers love that she is a designer as well and gives them hours of personal attention picking out fabrics, customizing our Americancrafted furniture for living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. In fact, as Tammy points out, 90% of all the furniture they sell is customized. "The customers love the attention they get, and they love the top-of-the-line quality we sell." The main floor of Preston Trading Post is divided into stoves and also what an old-fashioned trading post used to have. As America's #1 wood stove store and winner of more than 80 national awards for quality sales and service, "we commit heavily to product," Joe says with enviable pride. "With the pandemic, we knew a shortage was coming, so we bought a




tremendous amount of merchandise." A walk through the massive warehouse shows a heavy inventory of wood, gas, coal, and pellet stoves, heating systems, fireplaces, inserts, etc. Where other dealers have just a couple of models left, Preston Trading Post is fully stocked and ready to help customers find exactly what they need to get warm and stay warm this winter and into the future. There's a "hurricane" on the main floor as well. With more than 16 years in the hearth business, Kerry Yancey stuns customers every day with her vast knowledge base. Her product, safety code, and technology knowledge are first-rate and on point all the time. Joe says, "When people come here, they find things that they like because they remember the way things used to be built." Customers will like the added benefit that right now there is a 26% TAX CREDIT on eligible Wood Stoves and Pellet Stoves for 2021. This

tax credit which, according to Joe, may even increase, is only on current merchandise in stock and new arrivals. For more information on this, stop in to see if what you're looking for qualifies!

The rest of the main floor is truly a trading post with stove accessories, Big Green Eggs, pellet grills, gift items, even an old-fashioned popcorn machine, and everywhere you look there's a firm handshake, a ready, genuine smile,

and a sincere willingness to sell you the best product for your needs. Tammy seemed to earnestly want to have the last word here, and it's not about furniture nor interior design. It's about Joe Biber the man. "I just think you should know," she begins, "that Joe is here seven days a week all the time, working long hours. He'll never tell you that because he's so humble, but he is thoroughly invested in this place as a tribute to his father. Make sure people know that. It's real." So we are telling you that. Firm handshake. Firm resolve. Solid family with a bittersweet history that Joe Biber and his staff are keeping alive, keeping the home fires burning. It's real. Go see for yourself. The Preston Trading Post is located at 651 Route 165 in Preston. (860) 886-1484


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Black Bear Sled Dog, and “Expo-Sleigh” By Ali Kaufman / Photos by Denise Lawson


hen Denise Lawson says she has a “bee in her bonnet”you have two choices - get on board or get out of the way. We met years ago when she was heading up a fundraiser in honor of her father’s first cousin, Allen Toussaint. In doing the interview with her I not only learned of her connection to the legendary New Orleans pianist but about other things on which she was passionately working. I was intrigued by how ideas became reality once Lawson set her sight on a project and how she manages to keep making a difference. With the recent release of her 6th

book about the adventures of her adopted sled dog, Black Bear, I thought it was high time I introduce her to you. One of Allen Toussaint’s most indelible songs, "Southern Nights" stands as a musical history of Denise’s family gatherings during the summers when they would drive out to the country to visit relatives. Allen, and Denise’s father, Reginald J. Brown, grew up together in New Orleans and defied the odds by both becoming highly accomplished in their chosen field. Mr. Brown attended West Point and went on to achieve the

rank of Major in the Army. His life of public service continued as Assistant Secretary of the Army under President George W. Bush’s administration. Even with Allen Toussaint’s fame as a songwriter, performer, and ambassador of all things New Orleans, he was always involved in community as well. He and Aaron Neville founded NOAAHH – New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness in 1985, which is still changing lives today. The combination of family ties, responsibility, and strong work ethic shaped Denise, spurring her on to turn challenges into opportunities.


One such challenge was Alaska. After dealing with health issues in her 40’s, Denise faced her new decade by running a half marathon, introduced to the sport by Gordon, the gentleman who was becoming her other half. A trip to Alaska where she imagined terrors of all sorts, seemed like another mountain to climb. The fear of small planes, the wilderness, and dangerous cold were justified, but her conscious choice was to go forward because she could. I will add here that she’s also done a swim from Alcatraz, another personal first that she took on without even a kiddie pool race of experience. She made it...because she could. Pure joy is how Denise describes the site of the dogs running on the bank of the river, listening for commands from their musher to which they will instantaneously respond. It is evident why she connects so profoundly with this breed; they channel their energy and fortitude into persevering with an enthusiasm that speaks to her being. The sled dogs are working dogs, they do their part in the family to support the survival of all. Hunting and trapping, racing, different needs, call for dogs that fit the job, but all need a love of running. They also need to be physically able for the rigors of mushing, the families want what is best for their dogs. Dogs are not forced to run, the teams have a bond that allows them to work with each other in

unison as well as with the musher, but all need to be 100% in. The natural cycle of life is another reason that necessitates rehoming as a dog reaches retirement age since 50° below zero temperatures are not exactly optimal. Denise makes a point of explaining “re-homing” as opposed to rescue, these dogs are not being mistreated, quite the contrary, the families want their dogs to live out

their years in comfort. The reality of living in remote locations of Alaska means that food becomes a major factor for survival, they are dependent on the Salmon Run. Denise and Gordon were affected and enchanted by everything they were learning so adopting 11-year-old Black Bear made perfect sense. Born in Eagle Alaska, Black Bear had been the lead dog in the 2009 Yukon Quest and was now acclimating to life in Virginia. Things like stairs, glass doors, and all the sounds were new to Black Bear, but with her sweet nature and natural curiosity, she navigated her new world beautifully. So much so that she would insert


herself into new situations and that’s when it occurred to Denise that she could turn their story into teachable moments for others. Perhaps through these efforts, she could raise funds to offset the cost of re-homing more sled dogs. Thought led to action in the form of the first book, "Black Bear Goes to Washington," a children’s book that I promise grownups will like too! The story chronicles

Black Bear as she learns about her new home while sharing what her life was like in Alaska. Through words and layered illustrations, we can glean a bigger message about working together, using our differences to strengthen our society, and making new friends. Five other hardcover books have followed, all with positive themes that open the door to conversation. "Life Lessons From a Sled Dog"

is especially good for anyone, no matter what your stage of life, this “older dog” might just teach you some new tricks. The books led to speaking engagements which have evolved into live programs where Denise educates her young audiences with Black Bear by her side and accompanying media by Gordon. I can hear a thrill in Denise’s voice as


One event that will be ongoing is the Virtual Run Like A Sled Dog, where anyone can participate, they kindly interpret “run” very loosely. These efforts help offset the cost of transportation, food, and veterinary care for each dog’s individual needs. Each adoption takes all the factors into consideration, you might be surprised at how affordable they are able to make the fee.

she describes those moments when she is in front of all those young faces, and they make the connection to how what she’s sharing relates to the world at large. Covid has of course curtailed the larger groups she was booking, but just like so many of us, Denise and Gordon found a way to pivot. With schools closed, they got to know their neighbors, reading outdoors to pods of kids, complete with an appearance by reindeer antler-wearing sled dogs pulling Gordon on a bike. Zoom was a platform for storytime, and the games section that was added to the website proved very popular. Thankfully, things are opening up and dates are again being added to the calendar.

The larger dream of rehoming other sled dogs came into focus with several trips back to Alaska, concluding in the last-minute run to bring four back before the flights shut down. Each new arrival acclimates by living with Denise and Gordon in their Virginia home and is exposed to everyday life. The sled dog’s transition is of such importance that through the relationships they’ve built they now start the process by meeting the dogs a year or more before retirement. While the median age is about 8-10 they also get dogs like 4-year-old Etta, she has a shoulder issue that makes it unwise for her

to pull no matter how much she might wish to do so. The main thing is that the right matches are made for dogs and families, all adoptions are handled lovingly on a case-by-case basis. The Black Bear books are authored and illustrated by Denise, using a combination of hand-drawing and digital aid to create layers of texture. Much like how she lives her life, adding experience upon adventure. “Stories are everywhere when you see the world through the eyes of a sled dog,” Denise imparted. The entire Black Bear Sled Dog series is published by Brown & Lowe Books which Denise shared is her own publishing company. The name is in honor of her father and mother, Brown for her Dad and her maiden name, Lowe, is her Mother’s middle name. So during this time when reindeer may leap to mind, I hope you’ll have room for a tail of a different kind. One of good cheer, with gifts that keep giving all through the year! Information on all things Black Bear Sled Dog can be found by visiting Follow on Facebook & Instagram too!


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“She She Was Was a Manifester M f st r” That Thaat Life, LLiffee, That Thaat Love, L v and Oh, That Thaat Laugh! L !

by Rona Mann Photos Courtesy of Julia Balfour LLC


TThis Th hiss iss a happy story. story. It’s a perf perfect feect sstory tory ffo for or the holidays because it will inspire inspire you and hopefully hopeffuully make you smile. At itss very very heart, heart, “It’s such a good story. story.” At


es, this is a story about a young, talented, unique woman who died much too soon, but the happy part is that she lived. She wasn’t just born, grew up, lived, and then died. No, Julia Balfour LIVED! Lived and took no prisoners when it came to living life to the fullest, being happy y,, and dragging others along on her silly, y, crazy y,, beautiful, laughfilled, purpose-driven journey y.. Along the way y,, she not only lived her life to the absolute fullest, always reaching for more, but she taught a lot of others how to live theirs the same way y,, a way they never thought possible. And if you ask those others whom she pushed to the very core of their beings in order to get them to stretch beyond their reach, develop muscle memory for happiness, and work themselves to the bone b physically, y, mentally y,, and creatively y,, they’ll tell you u they wouldn’t have missed the experience for the world. But all of them, every single one of them, miss Julia, and a they wanted to talk about it. While most people reading this may never have known herr,, we assure you, you will w after this. Julia is Julia Balfourr,, and d no, this is neither a grammatical error nor a misprint. Alth hough she died little more than one year ago, her presence is still very much in the present tense and destineed to stay that way y..


Legs ” Give Me Your Legs! “Give Jenn Hayn, now head of New Business for Julia Balfour, LLC, didn’t initially meet Julia when she first wandered into her yoga studio to take a class. “I kept seeing her name all around town, then I got a mailer. I had never done yoga, so I thought I’d try it. I walked in, the instructor was amazing, I fell in love, and cried after my first class.” Jenn was so taken that she sent the owner of JUL Yoga, Julia Balfour, a couple of thank you cards. “I told her this has changed my life.” Eventually, they became friends - the best of friends -and as the circle of life turns in delicious and serendipitous ways, Jenn now lives in the 480 square foot yoga space that Balfour eventually converted into a tiny apartment. “Julia told me it would be too small for me, but I thought it was perfect,” so she surprised me by buying me a washer and dryer.” What wonderful ghosts must live within those walls, constantly reminding Jenn to breathe, stretch, and extend herself fully. Jenn continued to take yoga, “sometimes two classes in the same day,” and her favorite instructor was Julia herself. “She saw beauty and strength in every student and took them to heights they never would have scaled on their own. One day she came up to me on the mat and said, ‘Give me your legs!’ Why? She wanted me to stand on my head. I didn’t think I could, but when Julia asks, you do it. I did, and I learned to stand on my head with confidence and strength. She was a manifester, she made things happen.” But all this goodness, this talent, this popularity covered a horrible truth. Julia Balfour was going to die. She had known it since she was a toddler when she first was diagnosed with Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a horrendous, inherited genetic sentence that makes one copy of the altered gene in each cell, leaving the afflicted person prone to cancer their whole life. Julia’s mother and grandmother both had this and died, and as a very young child, Julia had her first bout with cancer. Having had cancer several times subsequently, Julia never let it get her down nor limit anything she did. Although she shared this with a limited number of people throughout her community, she never let it define her; instead, it seemed to empower her to approach everything she did with gusto, creating her trademark raucous laugh, and fostering an attitude that she would live forever.


Done? ve Ever Done?” You ve “IsIs This the Best Thing You’ Logan Galla, a designer at Julia Balfour, LLC first met Julia for his interview more than seven years ago. “I had just published a new portfolio of my work and tweeted it. It got re-tweeted, Julia saw it, and contacted me. The interview lasted 15 minutes before she asked, ‘When can you start?’ I found out quickly that nothing annoyed Julia more than if even a little thing was wrong with the work. Everything had to be approved by her, and one day when reviewing a simple project I thought was good enough, she sent me home telling me she didn’t want to see it again until it was the best thing I’d ever done. She forced me to grow quickly because she believed highly in the abilities of the people on her team and wouldn’t settle for anything less.” Julia dressed for success and demanded her team do the same. Denim and sneakers were never allowed. She liked creating an experience for clients by the colorful and beautiful look of her offices, luxurious but never over-the-top accouterments, and even by the remote-controlled, heated, water spraying, bottom drying toilet seat installed in the agency’s bathroom.


ng” ng Going ou re Goi YYoure Where You’ ’m Going Where “IIm

tory SStory “A Good Story”

Kristen Peterson, an Accounts Manager. mooved back to her native Connecticut from Philadelphia wherree she haad been a digital project manager for a larrgge company and didn’’t enjjoy the fit. She wanted didn’tt have that r, LLC didn Baalfourr, eative, and at the time Julia Balfour creative something cr availabilityy, but eventuallyy,, she got the call and garnerreed an interview with Julia where Kristen became thorrooughly “entrreenched in her style, beautyy, warmth, and inviting mannerr.. I instantly knew I wanted to follow her and go wherever she went.”

“It’’s hard not to have a good storry about Julia,” Holly Johnson says. A designer who often works in tanddem with Logan, Holly’’s been a member of the team for 7 1/2 years after bbeing recruited straight out of college. p y, inspired p ak at Sacred Heart Universityy, ff to spea p an offer JJulia had accepted everyone, and as she walked through the halls looking at the work of the design students, she kept fixating on Johnson’’s. “She started me as an intern while I was still in college, then it led to this full-time position.”

When Peterson became pregnant with her first child and wonderreed how she would balance what seemed overwhelming, Julia was therre. You “She never made me feel like I had to make a choice. She told me, “Y can kick ass in your prrofession and also be a present motherr..” So after Kristen gave birth, the baby became a welcome prresence in the day-to-day Julia Balfourr, LLC workplace!

Handle Handle” Lot to Handle I’m A Lot Ready Im Ready, Get Ready “Get Shay Sweet, in charrgge of Operations for Julia Balfourr,, LLC, explains Julia always called herself a “shooting star” because they burn bright and extinguish quickly. “Julia knew her time was limited and rreeferred to it as, “the hand I was dealt, no big deal.” But in the meantime, Shay says, “there was a lot of work to do, but she always made it fun.” w, Starting 3 1/2 years ago as her assistant, Julia warned in the interview “Get readyy,,. I’m a lot of work.” Sweet went on to echo what so many others have, “She was a visionary. She always made you feel loved and changed each one of our lives. I’m not the same person for knowing herr.”

Whether you’re speaking with a member of “Julia’s team” who still make the award-winning agency so unique, outside the box, and overr-the-top successful; or a former yoga student, or a y, they all remember Julia Balfour for member of the community having a largerr-than-life personality and a laugh that should have been bottled and sold. Logan Galla tells a story about members of the team being on an Amtrak train out of Old Saybrook bound for a client presentation y. “It was the end of the day and other people in in New Jersey the bar car we shared were primarily quietly working on their laptops.” Not for long! After a few glasses of wine for Julia and a beer or two for the others, the sheer joy of being alive spilled over until the entire car rocked with the sound of her infectious laughter. “She didn’t care how loud her laugh was or if she was We just followed her energy supposed to be quiet,” Galla added. “W because she usually was always having a good time.” Julia Balfour will not come again...then again, she never really left; and those who knew her whether as a client, a well-loved member of the team, or on the yoga mat, know well that if they cock their haps on a commuter train, heads, somewhere in the distance perrh in an office, on the mat at a yoga studio, or anywhere there are people, they may just hear that laughter reverberating. Louder and more raucous than anyone else. Filled with wild abandon, filled with the pure joy of having lived life to the fullest and loved every single minute with no regrets. Just ask anyone.


tory” sstory t s such a good story. IIts “It‘ A damned good one.

Julia Balfourr,, LLC

ded this marketing agency years ago, Julia Balfour found working out of her Lyme home. She later developed it to an y,, an efficient ntegrated marketing agency award-winning in package data, branding, content, and way for clients to p creativity; and to eeffect this, Balfour put together a team of the most talented designers, marketing people, social media, who understand the technology o strategists, and professionals out. of coding in and o Julia’s “team” wass carefully chosen and quickly became the most important peeople in her life. More than a team, they y, and here they remain to carry on the y, became her family y,, building a brand, nd consistent creativity legacy of strong an and treating peoplle like people, not just another client. keting is both art and science and dedicated Julia realized mark ouchpoints of helping people succeed. her life to all the to ues to work every day to create YOUR Her legacy continu legacy!

Julia Balfourr,, LLC maay be reached at (860) 577-0340 Website: We





Reviving Tradition With World-Class Aspirations The Lyme Academy of Fine Arts Caryn B. Davis


Jordan JordanSokol Sokol& &Amaya AmayaGurpide, Gurpide,Co-Artistic Co-ArtisticDirectors Directors


Henry Ward Ranger first traveled through the sleepy hamlet of Old Lyme, Connecticut, in 1899, he was immediately struck by the quality of light and bucolic landscape which appealed to his sensibilities as a prominent artist. He shared his discovery with fellow painters like Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, and others who descended upon the banks of the Lieutenant River spending summers painting “en plein air.” They rented rooms at a local boarding house operated by Florence Griswold whose property and 1817 Georgian mansion would eventually become a world class art museum named in her honor. This marked the beginning of the town’s enduring connection to the arts and was also the birth of the Old Lyme Art Colony, one of the most celebrated impressionist colonies in the country. It lasted three decades with hundreds of artists converging here during its heyday. In 1921, the town’s first art gallery, the Lyme Art Association (LAA), opened its doors giving colony members and other artists a place to showcase their work. One hundred years later, they still welcome artists. Miss Florence became the gallery’s first manager, and in 1975, Elisabeth Gordon Chandler, a sculptor from New York who had relocated to Old Lyme, was elected as the LAA’s president. Chandler had studied at the renowned Art Students League of New York, an unaccredited school without a grading system or degree program that has turned out many notable artists and instructors. Its influence on the art world has been considerable.


It is within this vein that Chandler decided to establish her own non-accredited institution, the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in 1976. The first classes were held at the LAA before moving to its current location at 84 Lyme Street. Chandler was inspired to start the Academy “because at that time, representational art and the traditional education of artists were disappearing in the Western world.” She was a visionary, and because of her foresight to safeguard these age-old practices, hundreds of artists have passed through these halls contributing their talent, ideas, and unique perspectives for the betterment of humankind. After twenty years, the decision to offer a bachelor’s degree in fine arts was implemented. While in theory this seemed a likely way to increase enrollment, in practicality, the infrastructure could not support it, and the ability to remain independent while still delivering a quality education proved too challenging. In 2014, they merged with the University of New Haven becoming a fully accredited college. However, this took the school further away from their founding principles, and eventually, the partnership dissolved. After much debate, the Lyme Academy decided to return to its roots teaching foundational skills in the figurative tradition in fine art. The newly reimagined Lyme Academy of Fine Arts opened its doors this past September and welcomed 14 full-time students into its two-year Core Program led by co-artistic directors, Jordan Sokol and Amaya Gurpide. This husband and wife team has created a rigorous curriculum that includes anatomy, art history, sculpture, and one year of drawing and one year of painting working with live models and European plaster casts. The students attend all their classes together to instill camaraderie, and by keeping the classes small, they can offer individualized attention and critiques, and hands-on demonstrations. Their goal was to design a curriculum to create versatile artists with a focus on skill-building. “The idea is not necessarily to train painters to make anachronistic or traditional work only, but to give them a skill set that allows them to branch out into whatever they want to do,” explains Sokol.


Student from Core Program in Figure Drawing class with artistic director Jordan Sokol

Gurpide and Sokol intentionally hired faculty from various schools to introduce a diversity of viewpoints. “Our approach and the curriculum we created comes from what we have learned through teaching at many different national and international schools,” explains Gurpide. “We have an understanding of how they approach art and took what we felt was the best incorporating it in a way it would be the most cohesive and make sense to the students holistically.” Student Studentfrom fromCore CoreProgram Programin inFigure FigureDrawing Drawingclass classwith withartistic artisticdirector directorAmaya AmayaGurpide Gurpide

In addition to their impressive teaching and educational experiences, Sokol and Gurpide are both working artists with personal studios on campus. “It was important for us to still be artists and bring the students into our process so we not only inspire but can have conversations about what we do professionally and teach through example,” Gurpide says.

Gurpide just completed a commission for the Government of Navarra in her native Spain consisting of three portraits of the Vice-Presidents from the Second Republic, and last year she was contracted by TIME Magazine to produce a cover drawing as part of their 100 Women of the Year Project. Recent exhibitions for Sokol include the Arcadia Contemporary in Pasadena, California; Villa Bardini in Florence, Italy; and the Salmagundi Club in New York.)


As part of the immersive experience, Sokol and Gurpide want to bring to their students, they intend to host lectures, workshops, and seminars with artists from different disciplines such as writers, photographers, film directors, and cinematographers. “We have colleagues running schools in other places and want to collaborate with them. We can see residencies happening here, artist exchange programs for students in Italy and Spain and more. We are working on bringing in international students and getting the visas to do that,” says Gurpide. “The intention is to develop a renowned art school that people from all over the world will want to come to and study here,” adds Sokol. They will also curate quarterly art exhibitions at the Chauncey Stillman Gallery, located on campus. Their current show, Memento Vivere, like all the shows going forward, is open to the public. “We want the school to be internationally recognized which is why for this first exhibition we chose emerging and established artists that have been an enormous inspiration for us,” Gurpide says.


In addition to the Core Program, the Lyme Academy is offering Continuing Education classes throughout the year for all ages and skillsets on a full-time and part-time, trimester basis. Classes in drawing, life drawing, sculpture, printmaking, oil painting, content and composition, and figure painting will be led by professional artists, some of whom were students under Chandler’s leadership. Also newly added is a one-year portfolio preparation program encompassing drawing, sculpture, painting, synthesis composition, and printmaking. This course is suited to those who want time to fine tune and build their portfolio before embarking upon college. While in the past the Lyme Academy has decidedly steered away from community involvement, this is yet another way they’re returning to their roots. They are planning programming and events to enrich the cultural life of the local community. “I think our future, our success, and our vitality depend on the community being involved. I think that’s what Elizabeth Chandler and her crew were about when this place started, and that’s what made it strong. People pitched in. That’s the spirit we have now,” says Michael Duffy, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Lyme Academy.


portrait of Elisabeth Chandler, a nationally known sculptor founder of the Lyme AcademyofofFine FineArts. Arts. A portraitAof Elisabeth GordonGordon Chandler, a nationally known sculptor and and founder of the Lyme Acadamy

They are also re-establishing their art supply store, opening a cafeteria with a café, and talking with the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library across the street about how their collection of art books can be more accessible to the public. The 1817 Sill House is available for rent to other organizations to showcase their own member’s artwork, and the on-site printmaking studio, run by a local artist, offers printmaking sessions. “Our partnership with the community and the accessibility and openness of our campus are of the highest priority,” says Mora Rowe, the Academy’s Executive Director. The campus is perfectly suited for the creation of art and its enjoyment. It was designed by artists and executed by architects who understood the nuances particular to an arts facility. For example, the windows face north so the lighting is outstanding, and a set of barn doors enable large “models” of all types to be brought in for replication. The courtyard lawn, surrounded by striking sculptures, is an inviting place for community gatherings such as last summer’s Sounds on the Grounds concert series, produced in partnership with Nightingale’s Acoustic Café also located on Lyme Street. “If any readers have ideas about how they’d like to get involved or want to volunteer we invite them to talk to us and share their ideas,” says Duffy. For more information log onto









SSheihein DDiie (Shayne Sh yn D Dy ye) e

A Ange ngennggelel ooff ththhee BBllues ues “My “M My hhope p is i tha t at my my photograph h togr phss inspir n p e others t er to to broaden o dn their h r exposu x o ur u e too Blues l es Musi Mu icc and and Black l ck Cult C l ure.” .

B A By Ali K Kaufman fm n Photos ot bby Shein h nD Die

Image ma Co Courtesy es off R Ron Bo Bobbelee


In Jaanuarry of 2014,

I reached out to a person on F Facebook whose Blues-centric p photography I much admired. L Little did I know how the story w would unfold or how incredibly connected I wou uld feel to a friend without ever hem or hearing their voice. laying eyes on th voice y, Confused? Pour yourself a cuppa, get comfy ou about Shein Die, the Clark and let me tell yo Kent of the Bluess World. y,, albeit guardMy first query got a kind reply o entertain the thought of a ed, but willing to message volley y. The photos I had stumbled upon were of old derr, let’s call them “seasoned” musicians, guitaarists, and harmonica players, taken in the Deep South, hallowed ground for nre. I had already been broadlovers of this gen casting my bluess radio show on WCNI 90.9FM 90 9FM for about 3 years at that point. I was writing and photographing for music magazines while lusting for a trip down to the Mississippi Delta.

Shein sent me the link to their F Flicker page, that’s a site where photographeers share their photos with a zillion other phottographers. There was also a blog, “Blues, B Blues, Blues – My Adventures Through The D Delta”. The blog stunned me with its images, intterviews, and nt especially its “mission mission statemen nt” that worded the usual about public domain aand all rights ope is that my reserved but at its core, “My ho photographs inspire others to broaden their exposure to Blues Music and Black Culture.” oud and clear in Shein’s passion came through lo words and pictures. Shein Die flew under the wire, aall attention hand, never was was focused on the subjects at h ght, so much this intrepid artist in the spotlig so that no one knew if Shein Diee was male or female. The interviews interviews, whether interviewer or female interviewee, were always donee via email, no connection was made to the perrson actually on location snapping away y. One w was able to glean

52 some information abo out Shein Die’s likes. This d a thing for comic books was a person who had man being the hands down and characters, Superm favorite. This person eembodied both alter egos and n one of our exchanges when confirmed as much in Clark Kent. I asked about being C ngs Shein recommended to Among the many thin me, attending the Jukee Joint Festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi was a musst. Every April, the town’s h visitors from all over the population swells with on of blues, art, and culture world as the celebratio commences. Main Streeet becomes an art gallery with pop-up tents sharring folk art, southern wares, and fine conversation. Music is on every corner and spills out onto thee streets from the jukes and makeshift venues like the bank building that is transformed into a listtening room. Shein gave me the scoop, where to staay y, whom to contact, and ns…in detail, I mean right the must-see musician or performances! “DO NOT down to where to sit fo Weelch, and MISS Cedell Davis, Giip, LC Ulmerr, Leo W nday y, park in front of Ground Robert Belfour! On Sun AM, then get yourself over to Zero Blues Club at 9 A Trrust me, ask Cat Head Delta Blues aand Folk Art. T Roger Stolle for a foldiing chair and set it up in front hein said it’s a good idea.” of the store, tell him Sh ne of our messages. That is a quote from on u might be asking yourself, Now at this point, you as I did did, ARE YOU CR CRAZY? RAZY? Taking advice from a stranger that goes by y a made-up name and traveling 1,300 miles solo olo to a place wher where this person will easily recognize ognize me but I would have no idea who they were? e? Ye Yes, it seems, I am exactly that kind of crazy y. I fleew into Nashville to begin my journey y. Hittin ng the road out of Music City in my rrental car was everything and a side of ffried chicken, Gus’s Fried Chicken n to be exact. F First stop, Street, at Silky O’SulMemphis, cattching Barbara Blue, the Queen off Beale Str her connection made through Shein in Die’s intr introduction. livan’s, anoth I was already feeling a growing confidence as I navigated my travels but hitting the Gaateway to the Blues Museum and Visitor i Center in T Tu unica, nica Mississippi fellt electric. This refurbished old train depot on Route 61, commonly y, is a favorite with photographers. Just a bit referred to as The Blues Highway w exhibits, information, and gift shop, but it feels like you’ve of a stop, a few ough the turnstile and the ride is about to begin, so I buckled just gone thro


up and started off again, headin ng south, past miles and miles of snowy white cotton fields. Clarksdale is only 90 miles South h of Memphis but is a difffferent world. None of the bright lights and big city structures are here, b but moments of awe abound for anyone who ffeels the blues, realizing you have arrived at its b birthplace. The Juke Joint Festival is held on a Saaturday in April with all sorts of other events hap ppening from the Thursday prior to the Sunday aftter. The website describes this event as “half bluees festival, half small-town fair and all abou ut the Delta.” During the day y,, over a dozen stages are set up all around town within walking distance of each g it all in. Shein other. I felt like a sponge soaking Mecca for Blues Die was right, Clarksdale was M lovers, and I felt empowered that I had made y eyes open for the pilgrimage. I always had my must have fellow photographers. I figured Shein S hey had to be a camera that would stand out; th at some of the same performancees that I was attending. Nothing. No inkling,, not one person felt like they could be the mysterrious Shein ngle moment of Die. I went on to enjoy every sin The Juke Joint Festival, from the daytime to far ves inside. For p sunset when the music mov past the price of a wristband, ($25 lastt I checked), you can hop from juke to juke feaaturing over 20 d Zero, the club acts. I made sure to visit Ground n and Clarksco-founded by Morgan Freeman dale’s own Mayorr,, Bill Luckett. I didn’t get to see the upstairs apartment that Sheiin Die told me

was a super cool rental, but I did spend time in the club. The walls are covered with signatures, pictures, and evidence of very good times had over the years, flags gifted by travelers from a myriad of countries billow from the ceiling. I took all the indelible memories and a ton of photos home with me, I may not have met my friend on this trip but I sure had some new material to share! The months and then years passed, we shared our professional highs, lows, and along the way some personal information. This person liked to ride a Harley y.. Shein Die also loved The Rolling Stones and CREAM, San Diego

Comic-Con was like being a kid in a candy store, stellar photographerr,, Bob Minkin was a relative! Bob Minkin’s live music photography is the barr,, his work has graced an impressive array of publications, including his own books that illustrate the experience of experiencing the Grateful Dead. That tidbit led to interviews for me with Bob after Shein Die took the time to send an introduction. Thank you! Fast forward to spring of 2019, Shein Die sends me a message about a friend in the hospital and went on to divulge that this “friend” is in actuality their son, Rod. It didn’t matter if I was communicating with Mom or Dad, we were both parents, and I ached for what this person’s

54 family was going through. There were some encouraging messages that followed, treatments were yielding progress so it was with great surprise and sadness that I learned it wasn’t enough to beat his diagnosis. This was August of 2020, and with Covid shutting everything down it didn’t seem strange that we hadn’t been in touch very much. January of this year was the last time we communicated. It was that kind of friendship, we would pick up the thread right where we left off. On March 18, 2021, I was jolted by a post on Shein Die’s Facebook page. It was an obituary, a beautiful, petite woman with a mane of golden blonde hair smiled from the photo as I tried to make sense of what I was reading. Suzie Kusnetz Bobele, born in Brooklyn on April 15, 1947 WAS Shein Die! I felt gutted. I was meeting and losing my friend in the same moment. I could not even imagine how her husband who had made the announcement was dealing with this. I reached out to Bob Minkin to extend condolences then circled back after struggling to process this loss. He kindly offered to speak to his Uncle Ron, Suzie’s husband, to see if he might consider a conversation. I wanted to learn more and might he be willing to share their story? Ron Bobele, or Doc Bo, as many respectfully refer to the retired Marine Corpsman, was willing to speak with me. I was immediately at ease, Ron generously shared his time and many stories, solving all the mystery that had cloaked my friendship with Shein. Suzie fell in love with the blues early in life. As a teen growing up in Brooklyn she would go with her friends to Central Park to catch the free shows that many of the greats came to play. Suzie was so enthralled with the music that she took up guitar and played a Martin 12 String from then on. As an adult, Suzie went to work on Wall Street, spending 10 years as a Mutual Funds Administrator paving the way for so many other women in the male-dominated world of finance. She was well respected and worked for a boss who valued her expertise and backed her up as she navigated the sexism of the times.


Ron and Suzie had a marriage that thrived, the kind of union that we all hope for - lasting love, friendship, and respect. They traveled the world together, raised two children, and when Suzie first brought up going to Clarksdale, Ron was all in, albeit amused that given the option of going anywhere, Mississippi was her choice. Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art Inc. opened in 2002 by Roger Stolle who left a lucrative corporate job to relocate and become a catalyst for Clarksdale’s growing popularity. His book, Hidden History of Mississippi Blues, became a bible for Suzie’s adventures, her dog-eared copy is chockful of side notes, clippings, and pictures she’s taken clipped on top of the book’s version. It was also a map for one of her favorite things to hunt for, the resting places and markers for the pioneers of the blues. I could hear the smile in Ron’s voice as he imparted the tales of their treks to out-of-the-way places, getting stuck in mud,

Phoro By Ali Kaufman

and traipsing through private property to find Mississippi John Hurt or Robert Johnson, once getting a police escort after finding themselves lost. As much as Suzie was a historian, she was equally, if not more concerned with the musicians of the day, helping to get them bookings and exposure. She had an authenticity that opened doors and drew people to her, she cared enough to ask, but more importantly, she was an adept listener. She recognized a need and worked to fill it, she was instru-

mental in getting imperative dental work for a harmonica player and a wheelchair for another musician. Suzie would light up when it came to selling a photo, reason being that every single penny she earned went anonymously to the subject of her photography. Her captures were published by several outlets, used for CD covers, but she felt the biggest honor was when her photos were requested by the families of musicians that had passed so they could be used for memorial services.


One of the most incredible things Ron revealed to me was about what Suzie shot with. Here I had been thinking Shien Die was probably a big burly guy toting a lens as long as my arm, nothing could have been further from the truth. This blonde bombshell was snapping away with her Nikon, a pink point and shoot no bigger than a pack of smokes. No matter how much Ron pleaded to buy her new gear, she declined. Her camera was part of her disarming magic. It was unobtrusive and combined with her charming smile, she was able to capture images like no one else. The University of Mississippi has requested all of her photography for their archives.

My conversations with Ron have been a gift, getting to know Suzie as he lifted the veil of Shein Die, which by the way is a play on Shayndala, the Yiddish nickname her father affectionately called her that means

pretty little one. She was that and so much more - grace and grit, a grown woman who never lost touch with her inner child. After her passing, I scoured my photos and videos now that I knew what she looked like, and sure enough, we did cross paths. I have a clip where she crosses just a foot or two in front of me, twice during a performance by Leo Bud Welch. Suzie’s efforts will continue to ripple out through the years as new generations learn from, and are inspired by, her body of work and the lives she touched. I was, am, and always will be grateful for all these ties that we looped together as we wove our unconventional friendship. Shein Die, Suzie, by any name this was a Super woMan for sure.

Shein Die’s blog can be viewed by going to The Juke Joint Fest will be held in 2022 on April 23rd details here


Above: Photos Courtesy of Ron Bobele and Shein Die Opposite Page Bottom Left: Ali Kaufman Bottom Right: Courtesy of Ron Bobele | 800-390-1000

"! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Provenance®

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Denizens of the Deep A Brief History of Humans Beneath the Waves. Part 2 by John Tolmie Upon the arrival of the twentieth century, the practice of deep-sea diving had been firmly established as a viable and vital skill to meet the needs of the sudden boom in maritime activity as the combustion engine swiftly replaced steam engines and sails powered by wind. Established salvors such as the Captain T. A. Scott Diving and Salvage Company in New London, Connecticut, amassed wealth as the need for subsea specialists swelled. Residents of Connecticut continue to benefit from Captain Scott to

this day when passing the west end of Fishers Island. He built Race Rock Lighthouse in the early twentieth century which has guided boaters to safety for over a hundred years. It was also an era of vigorous development for the advancement of diving technology. This evolution in undersea exploration had been exclusive to the military. Spanning over two hundred years of trial and effort, defense forces from nations around the globe pioneered each crucial and significant leap in diving innovation. During World War, I and World War II, the demand for divers in the military greatly promoted a rapid maturation of improved gear aiding the diver with expanded ability and progressive efficiency, while pushing ever deeper. The final result gave birth to the legendary MK-5 Diving Dress worn by U.S. Navy divers who served from 1910 until being retired in 1987. The new century was an era of vigorous development for the advancement of diving technology. However, diver training for civilians was all but non-existent. Professional divers, like Captain Scott, were either self-taught, military-trained or learned as a wrecker’s apprentice. As a result, civilian diving schools across Europe and the United

States were established to train and deliver proficient divers to meet the need. Ellis R. Cross was trained as Navy Diver during WWII, and after being honorably discharged, immediately established America's first institution for commercial divers in 1948. The Sparling School of Deep-Sea Diving promised to prepare students for the dangers, challenges and obstacles awaiting in the field. Only individuals who performed efficiently at depth would be certified to join the elite vocation. A skilled diver is a jack of all trades. They are welders, carpenters, mechanics, explosives experts, and master riggers, and are relied upon to complete these tasks deep down, blinded by cold darkness, helmeted with brass, weighted down by lead, and wearing the discomforts of a rubber impregnated


canvas suit. Companies, who manufactured gear for the aquanaut, thrived both in wartime and in times of peace. The profession of military and civilian commercial divers was rugged and more dangerous than any other job, ever. The deep-sea diver began to replace the need to lift a vessel out of the water for maintenance and repair. The standard had always been the immense costs, time delays, and loss of profit associated when drydocking. Luckily, divers hold a universal creed and believe that everything is possible. Simply improvise, adapt, and overcome. They invented ways and fabricated devices to repair and maintain a boat moored dockside, saving both time and money for the civilian marine industry and improving Naval operational readiness. Other advancements in the early nineteen hundreds did not require all tradesmen to don a cumbersome diving dress to toil away at the bottom of the sea. Evolving from the technology of the diving bell, caissons became the latest vehicle by which any skilled tradesman could perform tasks underwater in a mostly dry environment. The design of a caisson is quite simple. It is a large steel container that is sealed on top and open un-

derneath; basically, a giant metal shoebox turned upside down. As the workers were lowered down and once on the bottom, fresh air continuously flowed, being pumped from the surface, affording the crew below to labor away with little concern. Before electricity, work in a caisson was guided by gaslight, with spent fumes of carbon monoxide vented directly to the surface to avoid contaminating the breathable air. Many safety improvements were implemented over time, but a key factor of the physiological effects on humans while working under the ocean's immense pressure had yet to be dis-

covered. Caissons Disease afflicted nearly every operative across the industry and relentlessly baffled those who sought to find its


caisson workers dreading the return to the world above knowing only the suffering that awaited. It is rumored that some begged to be lowered down for the night where a sleep free of pain would be assured. While these subaquatic laborers carried on, the United States Navy had been delving into the

cause. After a long day on the seabed, the caisson was hauled topside, the employees went home where numbness, joint pain, temporary blindness, and other odd maladies awaited a majority. A staggering percentage of industry members had succumbed to one or more symptoms associated with Caissons Disease. However, they all had one thing in common; their afflictions struck on the surface and virtually vanished at work in the benthic realm. Strangely, the wide variety of symptoms miraculously disappeared when the workers were submerged. once on the bottom. Workers were no longer crippled in the agony that had burdened them but a few short moments prior. Unwritten lore speaks of

research and development of submarine medicine, hyperbaric technology, equipment improvements, mixed gas studies, and the initial development of decompression tables. It was discovered that the air on the surface has a vast and accumulative impact on the human body while breathing it at depth.


Caissons Disease, known today as decompression sickness, is caused by the body’s soft tissues being saturated with nitrogen. The deeper a person went and the longer they stayed, the more nitrogen built up in the body. Think of a soda bottle. When the pressure is released at the twist of a cap, a fizz of tiny bubbles appear, join and erupt from the mouth of the bottle. A soft drink and a diver are not unlike in this scenario. If done patiently, it is not impossible to open a bottled beverage slowly enough to impede the formation of foam perceptible to the human eye. Similarly, nitrogen will off-gas harmlessly from the body when significantly reducing a diver’s rate of ascent in conjunction with incrementally timed decompression stops. The Navy continues to refine diver decompression tables as diving physics are theoretical at best. They are based on a compilation of studies, their results, and bolstered with a fudge factor for added safety. Sweden, Britain, France, and the United States had competed unawares. For decades, the four autonomous nations produced crucial innovations in diving. However, the genesis of recreational divers must give thanks to a duo of 19th century Frenchmen for constructing the world’s first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, commonly known a SCUBA. France also delivered another gift in the 60s with the most famous diver ever born. When Jacques Cousteau and his undersea world appeared on television, he captivated the world. Never before seen footage of the mysterious deep unfolded with each episode. Jacques had piqued the curiosity of millions, with a respectable percentage yearning to experience the silent deep. Recreational SCUBA diving became an overnight sensation, instantly becoming a popular sport for outdoor enthusiasts. The seeming fad had

become a competitive industry, with manufacturers racing to make the next leap in great improvements. Recreation diving has only continued to grow in popularity each year since.

J Say Just


Y YES By Caryn B. Davis/Artwork by Patrick Regan


rankie Ann Marcille doesn’t take no for an answer. She has danceed across stages, traveled extensively y,, lived l in Alaska, published a children’s e book call alllleed “Yes Ye - The Story of a Drreea amerr,,”and has helped countless people like herself who are legally blind.. She p p dy y p , was born with septo-optic ysplasia, a condition that left her opticc nerves underdeveloped. While Marcille c can see, she has no periipheral vision so her sight is confined to viiewing life through a tunnel off sorts. “It’s like always looking through a pair of binoculars,” Marcillle explains. Marcille grew up in i New London, Connecticut and is the oldest o of her siblings. So, ass her parents were learning about parentting, they were also learning g how to navigate a disorder they knew nothing about. “There were a lot of questions about what I would an nd would not be able to do. Ther T e was speculation as to what my quallity of life would be and a big g question as to whether I would be able to t read as a lot of people with w this condition have no sight at all or cognitive c impairments,” sayss Marcille.


“I have to say I am living thee dream right now... I hope wherever life takes me,, I can continue to help others

Photo off Book byy Caaryn y B. Davis


“ He was a pivotal figure in my life. I had people who believed in me, but they did not have the resources to best support me. He shared things with me and with my teachers that could help me,” Fortunately for Marcille, her parents wanted her to try everything her peers were doing, so they signed her up for ballet at age two (which became a lifelong passion), T-ball at age four, and later soccer and cross-country running. “A lot of people wondered if I would be able to do those things, and while my parents did not know, they wanted to give me the chance to find out,” Marcille says. Marcille attended the same school as children without any visual impairments but had a teacher who came into her classroom regularly with the adaptive equipment she needed to learn and excel. This experience was transformative. Marcille later paid homage to her tutor who always encouraged her to live her dreams and told her yes she could, by immortalizing him as the character of Gardener in her book “Yes.” “He was a pivotal figure in my life. I had people who believed in me, but they did not have the resources to best support me. He shared things with me and with my teachers that could help me,” Marcille recalls. Marcille danced her way all through elementary school and high school and took up creative writing as well, so when it came time for college, her decision to pursue an undergraduate degree in theater arts from Western Connecticut State University was a natural evolution. Also, during this time, she became involved with the Connecticut branch of an educational sports camp called Camp Abilities, which has locations worldwide. There, she finally met people her own age who were blind or visually impaired. Even though she had a wonderful network of friends, and never felt excluded, she was still the only person she knew who understood what it was like to live with this particular affliction. After her senior year in high school, she ventured out to Alaska to volunteer as a counselor at Camp Abilities; and later, when another branch opened in Utah, she helped get the pilot program up and running. (This past year, Marcille co-created a program at the Utah School for the Blind who hosted their first virtual Camp Abilities experience.) Upon finishing her bachelor’s degree, Marcille was offered a teaching internship at the Colorado Center for the Blind, but when the summer program was over, she returned home and suddenly found herself without the mobility a young adult desires. “Being a visually impaired person means I can’t drive, so I had to rely on others,” she says. But as fate would have it, Marcille soon had an opportunity to relocate to the Big Apple after her college friends had

67 called to say their roommate was moving out of the apartment they occupied, and there was a vacancy. “I had always wanted to live in New York City especially being an arts person, dancer, and performer,” Marcille says. She secured a position teaching students with autism and is currently earning her master’s degree in education with a focus on vision rehabilitation and mobility instruction. In other words, she teaches blind young adults or those who have lost their vision later in life independent living skills, Braille literacy, and travel training skills, such as how to use a cane or public transit. She also does remote instruction at the Utah School and works with a casting company that helps actors with disabilities gain opportunities to audition for roles in television and film. And in between all this, Marcille wrote and published her first children’s book.

“One day, I was thinking how fortunate I was to have had all this support and people who told me yes, I can. I was thinking about all the students I have met who did not have people believing in them but instead leaned on the side of thinking they can’t do very much. It was disheartening,” she says. “I wrote this little poem on my phone five years ago and decided to turn it into a book. Even if only one kid reads it who needs to be reminded that, ‘yes I can in spite of what my situation is,’ that will have made all the difference to me.”

Photo of Book by Caryn B. Davis


“I wrote this little poem on my phone five years ago and decided to turn it into a book. Even if only one kid reads it who needs to be reminded that, ‘yes I can inspite of what my situation is,’ that will have made all the difference to me.”

69 When the pandemic hit, Marcille left Manhattan and returned home. She started working on her autobiographical book and found a local, independent publisher, Leaning Rock Press, in nearby Gales Ferry. She also reached out to her lifelong friend, Patrick Regan, who is an animator, graphic designer, and illustrator. Regan was also raised in New London. The influence of growing up by the sea in a city rich in maritime history is reflected in some of his logos, labels, and merchandise he creates for craft breweries, clothing companies, and restaurants. These themes are also featured in Marcille’s book. “I felt so lucky that I already knew someone I could trust to illustrate my book,” says Marcille. “The visual piece is difficult. There are fine details I miss because I just don’t see them, so I don’t think of them. I needed to work with someone who understood me and how to fill in those gaps.” While they did collaborate, Regan was given free rein and changed certain angles or perspectives to make the drawings more visually interesting and added a lot of little details like ferries, lighthouses, and lifeguard stands to the pages in the story modeled after New London’s Ocean Beach.

Marcille and Regan are hitting the road this fall to share “Yes” in person and virtually through June 2022. Their one-hour presentation will include a reading from the book, a discussion of their process, and activities for teachers and students. They are also offering volume discounts to schools. “I have to say I am living the dream right now. I am already doing all the things I said I wanted to do when I was that little girl in the book. I hope wherever life takes me, I can continue to help others and spread a little positivity. I am thinking about our education system and what needs to change. I hope after my Master’s, I can get a Ph.D. in educational leadership so I can continue to inspire and help others to change the way things are done for the better. I am open to whatever opportunities will come my way and continue to say yes to them,” Marcille says. For more information about presentation opportunities or to order “Yes,” log onto To learn more about Patrick’s artwork or to commission him, log onto http://faireharbourart. com.




Cheesemonger Paul Partica, The Cheese Shop, Centerbrook CT

‘Tis the Season for Fondue & Racklette As the weather grows cold and the holidays grow near, visions of a warm fireplace, a pot of fondue, or some melting Raclette jump into my head. This tradition is enjoyed by so many and is growing all the time as is evident by the number of fondue pots and Raclette cookers I see being purchased. Both dishes are great for so many reasons. In addition to great taste they are, at the same time, both fun and elegant. The beauty of serving fondue is that all of the ingredients can be prepared in advance so you can relax and enjoy the meal with your guests, excluding of course, getting up for another bottle of wine.

have a special metal top to help stop hot oil from splattering and to keep your fork in place. Glazed clay or enameled cast iron pots work best for cheese fondue. Ceramic pots are best for chocolate fondues. I should add they come in a multitude of colors, shapes and sizes. Most pots come in a package that contains matching forks, burners and sometimes plates for sauces. My experience is that the Swiss made pots have the best quality and durability. I still use a Swiss fondue pot that I bought forty years ago. Most of the fondue equipment comes into the United States by a company called Swissmar. You should discuss your needs with a knowledgeable sales person to make sure you buy the right pot.



Raclette originates from the French verb “racler” which means to scrape. The original recipe placed a half wheel of Raclette cheese near an open fire. As the heat did its job you would scrape off the melted cheese and pour it over already cooked potatoes and serve it with small pickles or cornichons. There are two types of Raclette cheese available, French and Swiss. They vary a little due to age or degree of ripeness so it’s a good idea to taste before you buy.

Fondue gets its name from the French word “fonder” which means to melt. As elegant as the meal is today, it’s important to note its humble beginning. The dish was originally peasant food. It was a great way to use day old bread, leftover dried up cheese, and opened wine. Although there are many new recipes for fondue I still prefer the original Swiss one which uses one or more natural Swiss cheeses. You can find a great recipe for fondue on The Cheese Shop web site. There is also a troubleshooting guide you might find helpful. In addition to bread there are many other foods that go well with fondue. Apple slices, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, baby corn, cooked shrimp, meatballs, and so on. A good variety adds to the enjoyment. Fondue is your appetizer, first course and entrée all in one. There are many different fondue pots available today. They are divided into four groups: cheese, beef, chocolate and combination pots that do two or all three. Heat sources include electricity, fondue fuel, and, in the case of chocolate fondue, candles. Choose wisely when purchasing. Depending on your usage a 3 in 1 pot may serve you well but most often a separate pot for each type of fondue works best. Stainless steel or enameled pots work best for oil fondues. Oil fondue pots need to

Although many prefer the original way of preparing Raclette, the Swiss producers have changed or Americanized their product with a different purpose in mind. The new cookers come with a double function. The top has a grill which is used to cook steak, chicken, pork, bacon, seafood, vegetables, etc., which are then dipped in a vast array of tasty sauces similar to those used in beef fondue. The bottom under the grill serves to melt the cheese in little pans like traditional Raclette. The choices are endless. It’s a combination of old fashioned Raclette, cheese fondue, and beef fondue all rolled into one. Everybody gets to cook their own meal just the way they like it, rare to well done. Most of today’s Raclette cookers are designed for eight people. They include eight small pans for heating. There are also four person cookers available. I use mine all year due to their versatility. I often use them during summer barbecues to cook just about everything. Fondue and Raclette are really unique dishes. They are a lot of fun because they are a change from the ordinary, and are prepared tableside. You will find that the meal lasts longer and, by the way, you might again need that additional bottle of wine. By Paul Partica, The Cheese Shop of Centerbrook, www.Cheese



Specialty Foods & Espresso Bar


By Art LiPuma, General Manager SeaSide Wine & Spirits, Old Saybrook

Prosecco Hills, vineyards and San Lorenzo church at sunset. Unesco Site. Farra di Soligo. Veneto, Italy, Europe.



The Winery of Prosecco


ltaneve is a winery in Italy with beautiful property and equally quality Prosecco. The winery produces four different Proseccos, all of which have their own unique taste profile.

Altaneve wines are all natural, sustainably produced, vegan, gluten-free, and low in sulfites. In fact, they use at least 1/3 fewer sulfites than many other Proseccos, even the most popular ones. Their view is sulfites mask the freshness and brightness. Since it is used as a preservative, it is not helpful or needed to use as much as other wine because Prosecco is to be drunk young. Although these wines are all organic they are not certified. Unfortunately, it is very expensive to apply for certification, and the owner would rather put the money into producing more wine since he has low yields. Eventually, he will apply for certification, which will be just a formality. Generally, Prosecco is made in mostly Venato and Fruili. This sparkling wine is produced in the Veneto region in the northeast area of Italy. In a small region of Prosecco, there is a town in the foothills of the Dolamite Mountains called Valdobbiadene where they produce an excellent quality of Prosecco. This area produces cool temperatures resulting in a Prosecco that has balanced acidity and body. Also, it is interesting to note on the label the designations of DOC or DOCG. The noticeable taste difference is that bottles with DOC are generally fruitier and fresher and bottles with DOCG are more complex, floral, and minerally. In the foothills of Italy, an area where the grapes for Altaneve grapes are grown the soil contains an unusual makeup consisting of quartz, magnesium, and dolomite on an old seabed which shows through in the sparklers in a refreshing way.

Vineyards and road. Prosecco Hills, Unesco World Heritage Site. Valdobbiadene, Veneto, Italy

The owner, David Noto, started this winery over a decade ago, although this area in Italy has been producing Prosecco for over 100 years. Although the winery is young by most standards, he has assistants that have many years of tenure and generations in the wine industry to produce outstanding Proseccos. One of the highest quality Proseccos made starts with their premiere Prosecco Altaneve Valdobbiadene DOCG. This sparkler has a well-balanced and refreshing crisp taste. The flavors of pear, peach, and honeysuckle are long lasting. This Prosecco is made up 100 percent of the Glera grape. Altaneve Rosé is made from 70% Pinot Nero and 30% Glera. The Pinot Nero Grapes come from the Oltrepò Pavese region in the hills of northeastern Italy, and Glera comes from the same area as the one above. The pink color comes from brief maceration on skins followed be a light pressing. This is a light, fruity but not sweet (due to its secondary fermentation), crisp, refreshing sparkling. Their high-end wine is Altaneve Z which they feel is a superb quality Prosecco. It does come with a higher price tag, but it is worth it. Altaneve Z has extended its fermentation to produce a complex and long lasting flavor which gives the feel of richness like that of Champagne. The quality is also the result of the 60-year-old vines from which these grapes are grown. The production is very small with just over 1500 bottles. Market Watch has reviewed it as the best Prosecco in the world. The newest and last Prosecco in their lineup is Altaneve Prosecco DOC. This Prosecco was solely made to compete with the commercial brands for quality and price points. The sparkler consists more of a brighter apple, pear, and peach and is slightly fruitier than their other Proseccos. All of these Proseccos have been given great press, and because they all natural and sustainably organic, there is a sparkler for everyone! Happy Holidays!! Cheers! Art LiPuma


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