Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sharon Lovejoy at the AK Smiley Library in Redlands

Every person has a story. Every story is better when you know the people.

In August 1990, Country Living Magazine featured Sharon Lovejoy as the proprietress of Heart's Ease Herb Shop and Gardens in Cambria. My admiration for her obvious affection for feminine bonding with the natural world was instant and lasting. Meeting her for the first time at a Garden Writers Association event two years back confirmed my initial impression. This is a woman who might sprout wings at any moment. If she did: I would want to be there to write about it ):-

Now, I in this new role as a grandmother in-waiting, when the children's author, illustrator and speaker's book tour   brought her to Redlands, of course I would be there.

When it comes to creativity- Sharon knows no bounds in getting children to smile.  Don't you just love    her very  neutral clothing- and then these vividly wild sandals and pedicure?

 Four of her books came home to inspire a love of garden and nature in our family's impending population explosion .  Somewhere in a file it doesn't belong, is the card with the name of the woman pictured with Sharon. She is evidently  a master gardener and cook. The "recipes" they bantered from their dinner- I'm still salivating.

You can order personalized book's of Sharon's here.

We said our goodbyes. It was time to explore the magnificent A.K Smiley Library.  Just a few images to whet your appetite. We will revisit this palace to literacy on a stand-alone  visit.

For now- admire the building's likeness in an oil painting.

Let the center rosette stained glass window fill your spirit with awe.

The hand-carved oak banisters - this building wasn't just built with money . It was built with love.

Illustrated Redlands has a lovely story  on the history of the identical twins,  Alfred H and Albert K Smiley.  East coast educators, the Quakers are probably better known as  real estate developers. Their 
Monhonk Mountain House  resort in upstate New York remains in the family. 

 Taking up residence on the west coast, they brought their shared spirit of philanthropy with them. Alfred wanted a park. Albert, a library. Neither demanded their names be attached to the projects. On behalf of their residents, a grateful City Council surprised them.

I hope you've enjoyed reading this snippet about men who did a great thing not for honor or glory- but simply because they could.


Sharon Lovejoy said...

My dear Lydia,

We were so happy to see you in Redlands last Saturday. I kept that hope tucked into the back of my mind, but thought that the distance was too far. THANK YOU!! for coming.

Now, also thanks to you, my toes are famous!

I loved having some time with you and wish I could go to Tucson and share in the fun and networking.

Sending love from Maine,


Sharon Lovejoy said...


I worked for the Smiley family a few times at the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. I taught gardening classes and lectured there. Mohonk is a paradise on earth settled right beside a lake. They let you take boats out onto the water, wander a network of trails, sip tea on a vast porch filled with rockers, and hide away in a multitude of whimsical gazebos.



Tara Dillard said...

Lucky you.

I adore her work !

Garden & Be Well, XO T

Lydia said...

Dear Readers- Sharon wrote me this morning

The woman with me is Dr. Marjorie Arnett, who is a mover and shaker in the library and with the Children's Literary Festival in Redlands. She is someone very special and caring in the world of children (and dogs).

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Lovelly to read about this amazing place and about this amazing woman, too! You live a full life Lydia, and much thanks for sharing so much of it with us.

nikkipolani said...

Oh! I didn't know Sharon Lovejoy had a book. I remembering visiting the shop years ago when I first visited Cambria. Roomie and I sat in one of the coffee shops and wrote postcards to our friends at home telling them we got jobs at Heart's Ease and looking for a place to rent ;-)