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It’s not my usual May issue…

It’s not my usual May issue… deb-gardner-250x250.jpg

Despite the milestone vaccine numbers and the slow loosening of restrictions, I could see the tentacles of the coronavirus pandemic still invading so many parts of ife as I prepared the copy for this issue of Prime.

For example, there was a dearth of the local Mother’s Day events - such as teas and  and mom-centered events - listed on any of the sites I usually source for Calendar and Six Things events.

The same held true for Memorial Day observances - I polled my fellow journalists, all of whom report on the towns around us, and only one had notice of an event planned to commemorate Memorial Day - and that was a virtual event at that.

Part of the issue may be the timeframe for collating information for a print publication such as this – I have noticed that events seem to be scheduled closer to significant days now, probably taking into account the pandemic conditions at the time – but I’m also wondering if there isn’t something more at play here.

After a year of social distancing, I’m wondering if we might be just a bit reluctant to begin gathering in groups again.

What’s your take on this? Are you feeling more comfortable about going out to public events? What are you still avoiding, even if you’re vaccinated? Drop me an email at, or send me a message though Prime’s Facebook page at Prime Magazine of Western Mass.

What talent have you discovered in retirement?

I love talking to people who have reinvented themselves in some way in their “third act” - be that a new career, a new dedication, or a latent talent.

It was a latent talent that Mary Ellen Lowney, the watercolor artist whose work is highlighted in this month’s feature story, rediscovered in retirement.  Prompted by a social medial-based “sketch a day” challenge – and the encouragement of her nieces – she took up a paintbrush and found her school days doodling habit was a harbinger of a hidden creative side.

“I never thought I had any talent,” Lowney confessed, adding that her lack of confidence kept her from taking art classes while in school.

It appears she was wrong, as her skill with a paintbrush quickly improved, especially when she and her sister – who had joined the sketch challenge with her – decided to take lessons from a local artist to polish their technique. With one art show submission down, and the encouragement of her instructor to enter more shows, who knows how far this newfound talent may lead.

Have you got a newfound talent- or hobby- to share? Drop me a line!

As always, thanks for reading,

Debbie Gardner