We first met when Libby was 16 and Tom had just graduated from college. We had an instant and deep connection. Tom asked Libby's dad for permission to date her when she was 18. Through many twists and turns, our love for each other never faded. Even though we felt like the "world was against us" because of our age difference, our families came together with joy on our wedding day, March 9, 1991. We had always wanted children (it was even in the marriage vows we each wrote), so 3 months after our wedding, we became pregnant with our first born son, John Laurence (named after his two grandfathers). Benjamin came along a couple of years later, followed by Jesse after a couple more years. We tell people that our lives "have a soundtrack" because at least one of us is playing or creating music every day. Throughout the years, we've taken in some of our sons' friends who have had no other place to live. They have become part of family as well. We continue to gather here at the big house every Sunday, holidays, and many days in between. Having the house filled with our family and friends (and all of our dogs), is the meaning of joy for us. Whether it's jamming together, celebrating a birthday, or it's board-game night - anyone driving by can look through the bay window in our kitchen and see a crowd of people and animals laughing and loving the feeling of FAMILY.
Watkins Glen is a small town. Even though it is internationally known for The Glen and The Track, it still has many of the small-town qualities. Most people know or have a least heard of everyone else. There is one “main street” that’s called Franklin Street. It has banks, coffee shops, salons, antique stores, ice cream shops, and a few boutiques. We do get a lot of tourists. We have a huge, fancy hotel right on the lake, dozens of B & B’s, dozens of family owned restaurants and wineries/breweries. The population is an eclectic mix of lake house people, NASCAR fans, art and music lovers, and agriculture. We have one movie theater, one library and one large school complex.
Our house is a big old Victorian built in the 1880’s. I has 3 stories and a full basement. There are 24 rooms. We have 4 bedrooms on the 2nd floor as well as 2 full baths. There is also a Work Out room with treadmill and weight bench and a small room being used as a library. There are 2 half baths on the first floor. We have a billiard room, a living room, a large foyer or center hall, a very large room we call the Red Room. It’s like a formal living room and we always put our Christmas tree there. We have a very large kitchen with a bay window. Additionally, we have a mud room, a laundry room/half bath, and my business space. The business has its own separate entrance. There are 5 porches of varying sizes. The attic or 3rd floor has 3 finished off rooms and a whole separate storage area. It is not up to code for living space yet. Outside we have a pool and a hot tub, surrounded by a deck with child-proof latches. We have a side garden enclosed with shrubs. The back yard had a temporary fence this summer because we lost a One hundred thirty-year-old tree and a line of shrubs. This summer we plan on putting in posts to make the fence permanent.
We have smoke detectors in every bedroom, upstairs hall, downstairs center hall, basement and my business office. We have a carbon monoxide detector in the center hall by a register that is directly over the boiler in the basement. We have a kitchen fire extinguisher by the fridge near the stove, another by the fire place, and a third in the upstairs hallway.
The nearest park is 2 blocks away. The school is 5 blocks away (our boys still rode a bus when they were little). The nearest hospital is about 2 miles up the hill. The Glen is about 4 blocks away and we are 7 blocks from Seneca Lake and the pier. It’s amazing to sit on the pier and watch the sail boats and pleasure boats. Watkins Glen always has a parade or festival going on and the parades usually go right past our house. We have Boy/Girl Scouts, Small Fry sports, and the local library has regular story time.
I was born and raised in central New York, the third of four children. I have a brother and two sisters. My father was a meat cutter and Mom worked various clerical positions. She was an avid Yankee fan and her fervor rubbed off on all of us. We all rooted for the pinstripes.
Some of my fondest memories include visiting the stadium to watch games with Mom and our family. We were at a game one afternoon when the score was close and the noise from the enthusiastic crowd cascaded in waves down onto the field. The sound of 56,000 boisterous fans was deafening. I looked at Mom and her eyes were like saucers. I tried to say, “It’s loud,” but I couldn’t hear my own voice.
I can’t remember who won. It doesn’t matter. I remember the riveting moment when Mom and I marveled at the sonic whirlwind of a pro sports contest. I wouldn’t experience it again until Libby and I took our kids to watch a Buffalo Bills game decades later.
I was probably thirty years old before I realized that my Dad knew a lot more than I ever gave him credit for. When I was younger I knew everything, but as I matured I began to learn a lot from Dad. Our first house was a fixer upper and Dad came over every weekend to help. He used to say, “It doesn’t cost you anything to be nice to people.”
I like people. We live in a small tourist town. The village is teeming with visitors in the summer, many of them from Asia and Europe. In my position as the director of a department in local government I get to work with a lot of people, many of whom are angry or upset. I listen to them, and I treat them all with dignity.
I was the class president in high school, and I was the captain of our cross country and track teams in college.
Today my passion is music. I enjoy playing my cello either at church or as part of the orchestra for musical productions put on by either our local high school or the community theater group. I also play my guitar out at gigs where I sing a variety of oldies, country, blues, and jazz standards. Our kids are all musical and I love to listen them play and sing. Each one has his own special talent and I about burst with pride every time they play.
Libby and I have a great division of labor; she loves to work in the yard and I love to cook! I especially enjoy planning and making big meals when the whole family comes over. And the board games we play after dinner on those occasions are a perfect cap to the evening. Family is really the highlight of our lives.
I am the youngest of 5 kids (two brothers and two sisters). I love having a big family. I wanted to have kids since I was a child. I always carried my baby dolls like they were real. My sister, Trish and I, would dress our kittens in little clothes we made. We’d rescue small rodents and try to nurse them back to health. I grew up on over 70 acres of woods, fields, waterfalls, and trails. I have always had a sense of and an interest in, things “bigger” than me: The night sky, the Universe, angels, and that Great Source of Love who I was taught was God. I was raised by two very spiritual parents who taught me to put others before myself, to be kind to others, to route for the underdog or the kid that was being bullied. I raised our three sons, John (25), Ben (23) and Jesse (20), with those same ideals.
Those same ideals have stayed with me and expanded and deepened. I see the world as a magical place and believe that there is a spark of the Divine in all things and all people. After getting a degree and working as a computer programmer for about 15 years, I followed my heart and went back to school to become a Licensed Massage Therapist. Not long after that, I became a Reiki Master Teacher. Healing with the power of compassionate human touch and the energy of Reiki, is my job. But it doesn’t feel like work. It feels amazing to bring peace, to relieve physical pain, and ease emotional pain to people of all ages and all stages of health. This work that I do, which includes volunteering for hospice, has opened my heart to all people, no matter what color, race, or religion.
When times are tough, I ask my angels and guides to give me guidance, strength, and the grace to keep going. Somewhere deep inside, I know that everything has its purpose. I try to celebrate each day in some way because life’s lessons usually don’t give us a heads-up before they come.
I take great joy in the English flower and herb garden I’ve created over the years. I love books and book sales, antiques and garage sales. I get most of my clothes from thrift stores because my style is very eclectic, and I love a good deal! I fell in love with our big old Victorian house the moment I set foot in it over 20 years ago. Planning a library, decorating, and even cleaning my house are all things that I enjoy. I love it most, when it is filled with family and friends.