Saturday, October 17, 2015

The last farm festival in the old place

What a whirlwind of a week it's been! I learned something valuable, that I have enough of a track record in this business that people will take my calls. And meet. And work with me. Why didn't I know this? It was a good week and I'm thankful for everything it held.

I feel calmer now. It's Saturday. The only showing up I plan to do today is among dear friends at the last farm festival of its kind put on by Manhattan Country School, the Pre K-8 school my daughter attended. It's not actually the last farm festival, just the last one on East 96th Street, as the school is moving to a larger location on the Upper West Side next year and the first grade parents, who are responsible for the whole gargantuan event, will have to reinvent this decades old tradition.

A lot of the kids now in college who went to the school are coming home to attend, along with many of their parents. Parents of kids who can't make it home (like my girl) are also attending, and I imagine congenial groupings of these alum parents will just sit and chat at tables in the street, which is closed off to cars for the event. We'll listen to band music and watch the kids jumping in the bouncy house and going back and forth on the hay ride and getting their faces painted and their hair powdered in rainbow colors, and we'll remember when it was our year to stage the event, and how bone-weary we were at the end of it, but how elated too because our silent auction had broken the fundraising record set the previous year. After the festivities, we might get a meal together at the Greek diner on the corner for old times sake, and then I will cart home a bag of farm produce and homemade pesto and pickle relish and marmalade, and maybe also one of Elin's apple pies, with the flakiest most buttery crust you've ever tasted.

My daughter told me she is sorry the school will be moving from the East Side townhouse where it has been located since 1966, with its shabby chic elegant living room and grand curving staircase and odd shaped classrooms with massive windows and the fire escape on which the girls sat to work out their differences in fifth grade and the loft that Jasmine fell out of in fourth grade, a scary moment that became, my daughter said, the funniest moment of their lives when Jasmine started laughing. She said she wanted to send her future children to school in that building, and now it won't be the same. "But they'll still have the farm," she said, cheering up. And so they will.

Up top is a farm festival photo of lifelong friends; my girl is on the left. Below, one of my favorite pics of The Six, on farm trip in seventh grade. These days are worthy of nostalgia, I'd say, except their gifts are with us still.


  1. Look at those little thugalinas! Forgive me if that's un PC but that's the word that came to mind for your last picture.
    What a wonderful thing this school has been in your lives! I am so glad you've had it.
    And I am so glad you've finally realized that you are a valuable commodity in your own right (write).
    You are, you know. You are.

  2. I'm so glad you had such an uplifting week. Continue to believe in yourself; you sure are worth it.

    - Irish Celt.

  3. I don't know if I would feel comfortable working out my differences on a fire escape! I picture the game of chicken but way high up on a building.

    1. Birdie, the fire escape was enclosed on all sides, so it was ok, really. The teacher used to send them out there to talk through their differences in fact.

  4. Change, change, change... I'm glad you found out good stuff about yourself and the outer world.