Growing up, very dear friends of our family who lived in Bernardsville, were instrumental in my decision to attend school for design and architecture. More specifically, it was a raw passion for everything 'American' in terms of furniture and building processes and designers which my 'Aunt' Carole Gronros wanted to impart to me, largely because I listened. She and her husband Warren were a childless couple who had taken my mother under their wings when they met Mom and began purchasing vegetables and fruits from her at the little house on Madisonville Road. I have always been of the opinion that Carole was lost before Mom, maternal with nobody to rear, and so my mother fit perfectly the bill which was Carole, her love of gardening and cooking, preserving foods, and we children, David and myself. I also think it was a bonus when Carole discovered I had a love of things old at such a young age, and she fostered that with me, gifting me books on antiques, pieces of jewelry her mother had given to her, and outings to museums to view American art. When I was in middle school, Carole ordered a subscription to then House and Garden Magazine for me. It was my beginning. And...beginning with that first issue which arrived in late August of 1986, I was hooked; not on the magazine so much, as I was hooked on becoming a designer. Never forgetting Aunt Carole's good and close friend, Sister Parish who I met only once, but who would duly influence me for the rest of my life, I would go on to study art, architecture and design and become a student of classical American design. Carole had thought of everything. Maybe playing a greater role than she knew.
I'd always held onto that initial issue from August of 1986, and moved to and from three houses with it before settling here in Charleston. Only because I was searching for my car title one day, did I run across it. I brought it to the table to thumb through, and noticed something I had not noticed ever before - a beautifully written article on Kenilwood, the Wilson - Thornton house in Bernardsville, New Jersey along with another beautifully written article on Charleston's Roper mansion - nearly back to back. Coincidence? Maybe. Just not the only harbinger of the way my life would go, so I tend to think no.
Think I'll continue to hold onto the issue - some very interesting writing on Dahlias in the formal garden.