I am full up, Friends.
Been in Rochester since Friday night and have steeped myself in place and time–the memories swirl. And the archival materials continue to teach me about Jan’s life and art. What I’ve discovered. The words privilege and grateful circle through every minute.
Thanks to the great generosity of Joanie and Gerry Floriano (a most beautiful and alive couple), I have a place to stay this week as I speak with people and spend hours looking at archives. Photo of Joanie and Gerry to follow…
In the meantime, here are a few shots from Eastman today.
Saturday afternoon, I slipped into an informal concert in the residence halls–a jazz trio, and just before it began, I turned to find Tom Paul and his wife Esther sitting directly behind me. Tom is a baritone and taught at Eastman and performed with Jan for over 25 years. The story: I’ve been trying to connect with Paul for over a year. No answers to my letters or emails. I knew once I was here, I’d find him, even if it meant standing on his front lawn waiting for him! And there he was, they were.
Tom retired from the ESM faculty in the early 2000’s, but he was there when I went through ESM and was always a supportive friend. As I told him over a gorgeous lunch a few days later that he and Esther prepared–Tom puts together a mean pasta dish–I always felt he was in my corner and his presence in this way has always been with me. We sat, the three of us, for nearly five hours talking about Jan, music, our lives, what we’ve learned. Before I drove away from their rambling, warm 18oo’s farmhouse, Tom gave me a tour of his other passion: the Porsche. He rebuilds and restores these art pieces, and I smiled and laughed at the stories of how he came to own them.
I also had a lovely lunch with Barbara Staropoli who was a graduate student in Jan’s studio when I was an undergrad. I remembered Barbara as a kind and supportive soul, often soothing my turmoiled early-twenties heart and mind. She was with Jan daily at the end of Jan’s life. I leave you this afternoon with a few photos of Jan I love and want to share. And I hope you all are well and happy and experiencing grace every day. I am.