Yankee Peddler is a craft show that has been around for over 50 years now, and I have gone every year since I was born. To be more precise, it is simply defined as, “a step back in time to acknowledge master artists and crafters.” There isn’t a better way to describe it in my book. I believe that it’s important to immerse yourself in new cultures—especially if those “new cultures” are historical.
On August 1, 2017, my grandma passed away. She was a slate painter and had a booth every year at Yankee Peddler for over 40 years. She primarily painted on slate, and honestly, it was awesome work. She used to paint dogs, elephants, landscapes and homes. As time went on, the pieces she created became more sentimental to me. She was diagnosed with polio at 17 years old. After becoming paralyzed from the deadly disease, she never walked another day in her life. She passed away at 87 years old. As I knew that she was slowly dying from 2015 to 2017, her work really started to immerse me into the projects that she appreciated as well.
Every day since her passing, I have worn a blue ring on my pinky-finger, and I only take it off for basketball games. It’s the memento of her I make a point to show off. The ring symbolizes that I miss her, but that her artistic ability exists within me. It’s part of my passion for the gratitude I try to instill upon others.
However, something amazing happened at Yankee Peddler the other day. As I walked into the craft show, I felt my Grandma’s presence with me, but it was nothing too heavy. I felt as though I knew her work was still here. I knew that Yankee is the place where I really got to know her and help her.
I walked by where her booth was, and there was another artist who was a slate painter! It was the most gratifying thing I had felt in a while, and it took me back to the many years I had gone to Yankee and helped her try to sell her work. I also remembered running to all the other booths and supporting their work as well. It meant so much to me that I even bought a piece of work from the new slate painter in Grandma’s spot.
To this day Yankee Peddler is something that will always have a place in my heart, and I can’t wait for next year’s show.