by Diane Rockall
History is not always long ago or far away. The past is past, whether yesterday or an hour ago.
For many, December may seem to be the busiest month of the year, and a birthday during the month adds to the thoughts of aging. Visiting and reconnecting with friends and loved ones, buying, wrapping and giving gifts, cards to write, decorating, cooking, baking, and sharing all lead to the sense of continuous activity,
December becomes a time of memories. As the year winds down we can all recall holidays from the past, some happy and some not so. For just under 24 years my home has been in Stockbridge, but it was during the Christmas season 1996 that husband Rocky and I found our home in this amazing community.
It immediately became my “little house in the big woods.” Sadly now 24 years later a big share of what used to be my one-acre forest has been felled by wind, lightning, downbursts, pine bores and age.
For transplanted city kids, the friendly, genuine neighborliness was amazing and wonderful. Rocky and I knew at once that this was where we belonged.
We watched neighbor children Cade and Torre grow to adulthood even though they’d moved to town. So many memories of times shared with them in the early years we lived here. We also saw grandchildren Nate and Katie mature to adulthood as their older brother Corey finished his degree at MSU, married, became a parent and found his own place not far away.
We settled into a routine of Stockbridge life including involvement with the Stockbridge Area Arts Council, which happened quite by accident. About six months after we moved in, an item in the Stockbridge Town Crier mentioned a new group for area artists was meeting at the high school art room of new teacher Jay Langone. The new group called itself the Stockbridge Area Artists. There we met Deb Duranzyk, Deb Campbell, Jay, Barb Anderson, Bev Glynn, and Dorene White. Barb and both Debs have left the area, but the last I knew Jay was still at the high school, Bev is secretary of Stockbridge Community News and a longtime member of the Stockbridge Area Arts Council. Dorene still remains the go-to girl in town for information and unlimited knowledge. Dorene encouraged Rocky to become involved with the Stockbridge Area Arts Council, and he ultimately served a two-year term as president. I spent a few years there as well as treasurer.
Eventually that led to “opportunities” to become involved and to meet more people. About 10 years ago we attended our first Community Thanksgiving and two years later we became volunteer workers. In 2014 Rocky was too ill to help, so I went alone. By 2015 he was gone, but I continued our tradition of helping. Many of the volunteers work every year and generally I believe many have a better time than the diners, although the dinner is great and no one complains about too little to eat.
Time has slowed me down a bit, but memories of a lifetime seem like not so long ago. The holidays bring a time of nostalgia.