Remembering Joan —MAV


This past week I found out about the passing of someone very close to my heart, my first boss.

I started working at the age of 14 in a flower shop in my town. I went in after school, sometimes two days a week and sometimes more. I worked a lot of extra hours at the holidays and on other big flower holidays. At the time I started, it was a small shop with flowers, home goods and greeting cards. My boss, Joan, some called her Joanne, was a round short woman with soft skin and gentle eyes. I worked in that shop all through high school and even in the summers during college. It was my first job and the small team there was like family to me.


Now, Joan could be stern and serious but she also had a great sense of humor, a sweet motherly smile and was the most generous person I knew. She taught me so many important things … things I needed to learn at that age. She taught me that you don’t go to work looking like a slob. Joan dressed up every day and did so beautifully. She always had her hair done and wore coordinating jewelry with her glasses on a cord around her neck. Joan taught me to start a job at the beginning and to work hard on it until it’s done. She would give me tasks in the shop and expected that I would do them well. She had high expectations for me and although at the time it made me nervous as hell, it was the best thing for me. Joan also taught me how to give. She gave everyone who came into the shop flowers; she never skimped or took advantage of her customers. Being a generous person is one of the very best things you can be, in my opinion, and Joan really was one of my early examples of that grace.


Thinking about Joan passing away has made my week rather pensive. I look at my own shop, More & Co., and think of how much Joan is a part of what is going on in our space on High Street (Joan was all was puttering around the shop moving things around … you can find me doing that most days). I look at our projects here at 3191 Miles Apart and think of how much Joan would love them. I look at my deep love of flowers and plants and know that that love started with Joan. I am so grateful to have known her and wish I had had the chance to tell her how much of a difference she made in my life.


Life moves pretty fast, doesn’t it? SCB and I blinked and we are now preparing to send our last issue of 3191 Quarterly to the printer this week. It is so hard to say goodbye to our beloved Quarterly (I will save the post about why it’s our last and what we are moving on to for another time) but it is time to move forward to new things. These next two Beauty & Use Collections will be my last as well (mark your calendars for October 24 and November 21!).


It seems all of the sudden I’ve been thrown into a time to remember. I’m remembering Joan and how she made her mark on me; there is a part of Joan in me. I am remembering the days and nights of work we have all put in here at 3191 Miles Apart on our Quarterly magazine. I am remembering that life moves fast and all we have to do is try to be here now.

All film photographs were taken a few summers ago at one of my favorite gardens in Acadia National Park.