For the last instalment of Faces of the Valley

Face of the Valley – Reflection

For the final instalment of the Face of the Valley column, author Jennifer Cronin reflects on writing them.

It is with some sadness that today I am signing off with faces of the valley, which I have had the great pleasure of writing for the past eight months.

The inspiration for this column was all of you, the faces that make up the tapestry of this amazing valley we live in.  It all started because I felt that there were people in this valley I wanted to know more about, and I was hoping that you, the readers, did also.

I knew going into it that my first column would be pivotal, realizing that I might not even be able to write. For this reason I chose someone that I knew, and felt comfortable with – my dad’s golfing partner, Patsy Caravetta – the gentleman barber. Patsy made it easy for me, as he is such a gracious gentleman. I did however learn from this interview the following; a) talk less, listen more to avoid a transcribing nightmare, and b) never interview in a noisy coffee shop.

This gave me the courage to tackle columns about other faces of the valley, including the iconic Claire Wilson. I feel very humbled to have had the opportunity to visit with Claire and to hear her stories. I will always remember her throaty laugh and the hug we had on parting ways.

I will never forget my visit with Florence Phillips. I was unfamiliar with the neighbourhood in which she lives, and asked for directions three or four times. When I arrived, we had so much to talk about, and many of the same interests. I felt as though I was visiting with an old friend. When I was leaving, Florence admitted that prior to my visit, she was hoping I would get lost on the way to her house, but I think in the end, she was glad I hadn’t.

I don’t think that Florence was the only one who felt this way, however after all of my interviews I felt like I had made a new friend or at least, renewed an old acquaintance.

Now when I see a full moon, I wonder if Carolynne LeCavalier is taking a picture of it….actually, I know she is!  An eggcup will remind me of Florence, and if you know Florence, you will know why. Frank Rambold loves good history books, and Marion Gravelle and Mary Jane Leppard can tell you where everyone lived back in the good old days.

It was never just a column to me, writing a column like this is a privilege afforded to few. Being allowed into the homes and hearts of all of the “faces”, and knowing that they trusted me to tell their story was an honour.

As much as I wrote the column for The Free Press, and for the readers to enjoy, I must admit that each and every one of the people I met taught me something. I feel richer for having had the opportunity to learn about some of the interesting people that call the Elk Valley home.

There were so many more of you that I had on my radar, but things change, and to this end, it is my time for change. As of next week, I will be taking on a new role, moving into the role of Advertising Consultant with The Free Press. While I am excited for this new opportunity, one of my biggest regrets will be setting aside ‘faces of the valley’, at least for now.

I wanted to sincerely thank all of you who allowed me into your homes and into your hearts, and for all of the readers of our paper, thank you for making the faces of the valley the most read story on our Facebook page each week!

Perhaps one day we can do it again!

 

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