Turning It Over – August 26, 2018

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August 2000/August 2018

For 18 years Northeast Ceramic Supply has been the center of my clay life and Dennis was the man at the helm.  He fit all the synonyms of “at the helm” ~ in charge, in command, responsible, in authority, at the wheel, in the driver’s seat, in the saddle, holding the reins, running the show, calling the shots.  With me he was gentle and indulgent.  He was/is my anchor.

At the moment I’m “at the helm” of Dennis’s beloved Northeast Ceramic Supply and Monroe ClayWorks.  Dennis was in the hospital from March 13 until March 24 of this year.  Nine of those days he was in an induced coma during which time his hospitalist, neurologist and infectious disease doctors performed dozens of medical tests and procedures.  On March 23 they gradually reduced his medication and by that evening he was off the ventilator and breathing on his own.  His voice was shaky and low but his humor was still the same.  He said “I’m ready to get out of here” then he smiled.  His voice was stronger the following day but his pain level increased and the doctor’s ordered another CAT scan.  Earlier in the day Dennis talked a bit with friends and family.  The CAT scan showed an internal bleed that could not be operated on.  Dennis and I had talked extensively about what we’d each want if our lives ever came to this point.  The doctors told me the options and I asked to have the last few minutes alone to hold and reassure Dennis that everyone would be okay.  I held him, told him how much he was loved not only by me but by his friends, family and customers.  I promised Den to do my best to care for those that he’d cared for and helped.  I’m hoping he felt peaceful and loved as he passed.

My heart is heavy because my anchor and best friend isn’t physically here.  The moments, minutes, hours, days, weeks and months since Dennis’s death have been lonely, scary and yet I’ve been surrounded by dear friends who have stepped up in every way possible.  If I start listing the people who have gone out of their way to care and guide me I’d have to list almost everyone who knew Dennis.  Dennis the gentle, caring guide for many.

On March 29 Patrick Durkin and Marica Monori told me they wanted to buy Northeast Ceramic Supply and Monroe ClayWorks.  My heart stopped beating for a few moments because four years ago Dennis and I hoped and dreamed that Patrick and Marica would one day own Northeast Ceramic Supply and Monroe ClayWorks.  Den put over four decades of hard work and love into Northeast Ceramic Supply and his wish was that it would continue.  Even though Patrick and Marica and their two young children lived in California they made immediate plans and preparations to move back to Upstate New York.

So we’re at the “Turning It Over” stage ~ the sale of a well run business, the negotiations, paperwork, endless details that must be completed so that Patrick and Marica are at the helm.  For those people, potters, sculptors and teachers who don’t know Patrick and Marica you are going to delight in their care and running of Northeast Ceramic Supply and Monroe ClayWorks.

Classes, memberships, firings, sales of materials and equipment will all continue uninterrupted.  The electric, gas and wood kiln will be busier than ever.  I’ve been asked to stay and oversee Monroe ClayWorks, teach pottery classes, fire the gas kiln and organize the wood firings.  We’ll go on, we’ll turn over the reins to very loving hands who will lead us with changes here and there.  We’ll still be a large clay community and I call on everyone to welcome Patrick, Marica, Daniel and Emma.  It’s as it should be, it’s as Dennis and I want.  Northeast Ceramic Supply will continue and grow.

Thank you to the endless list of people who have helped me through these very dark months.  Your help and guidance means so much.

Love,

Barbara