When I made the bold but also long overdue decision to leave my marriage, I had to find a new place to live. Working within the constraints of a limited budget, my options were few. However, I had a hunch that being an artist might just play to my advantage and I began to look for live/work spaces in old mills.
And damned if I didn’t find exactly what I needed. Big enough (1500 square ft), open floor plan (one large room), huge windows abutting water (the Pawtucket Canal) and within my budget. However the very best part about my new home would turn out to be the community.
There are fifty lofts at Western Avenue filled with an incredible assortment of people employed in creative endeavors/vocations. Painters, photographers, writers, musicians, actors, fiber artists, dancers, teachers, metal smiths, ceramicists, glassblowers, jewelers, clothing designers, sculptors, printmakers and a resident drag queen (our facilities manager)…we’ve got it all.
It is a wonderfully funky, fun and supportive crew, and sometimes I feel as if I’ve landed in Oz. We even have a Toto, although his hame is Luke. Besides Luke there is a supporting cast of cats, more dogs of all sizes, a turtle and a rabbit too (oh yeah, I inherited a fish from one of Peter’s classmates).
The one thing we’ve been missing is a baby.
However, my friends/neighbors J. and Joelle took it upon themselves to address this issue and Miles Franklin Haley was bestowed with the title of First Loft Baby on June 16th.
I love my home and the people in this community have become an extended family for me. J. and Joelle, who used to live across the hall from me, have a special place in my heart. One day, about a year into my living here, I impulsively knocked on their door. Joelle answered and I burst out with ‘I just want to tell you that I love you and J.’ Joelle, who is incredibly serene, calmly responded ‘We love you too.’ Five minutes later there was a knock on my door and her husband J. (who is not serene) rushed in and gave me a big hug. Didn’t say a word but we both knew what it was about.
Now I get to be an honorary auntie to the newest member of our community, Mr. Miles. And my family just got a little bit bigger.