I arrived at Logan airport from Seattle, followed the signs to Baggage Claim, saw my bag from the escalator, grabbed it from the conveyer, looked up to get my bearings and there was sweet Kathy. She was smiling from ear to ear, beaming to see me, excited to embark on our adventure. We shared a big hello hug and it feels as if that big hug never ended. Kathy’s warmth and generosity has made these past couple of days so sincerely joyful — to think that she was one of the first people to ever express interest in doing a multi-media story when I was first starting out makes my heart sing.
I knew very little about Kathy when we first began planning her story. I learned of her many adventures (living in Alaska, Paris and many places in between), relationships and passions. What I love most about Kathy is that she will never stop learning. She began a career playing the hammered dulcimer in her early 60s for gosh sakes! ROCK ON!!! You go girl! Forget retirement — if you love something, pursue it! Kathy fits into no mold, and that’s just why we love her.
Kathy and I spoke at great length about the passing of her husband. I can’t imagine losing my Garrett. The love we have for each other runs so deep, and the thought of losing him makes my knees weak. Hearing from her that the sobbing lasted years and that she’ll never truly finish mourning the loss makes my heart break. I hope that someday, when Garrett or I lose the other that we too are just as grounded, open and surrounded by love as Kathy is. I admire so deeply her strength and openness.
Last night, before going to bed, Kathy was tuning her hammered dulcimer and was playing many-a-tune for me. Three or four songs into her medley was a familiar tune… Edelweiss from the Sound of Music. I got lost in the music, began to feel hypnotized and began to well up! I noticed the rush of emotion and thought, “Wow! Where is this all coming from?!” I racked my brain, and as she finished, I asked her, “Was that a lullaby?” “No, that was Edelweiss” she responded. My mom sang me Edelweiss when I was a baby. That was where all that emotion was coming from. What a beautiful moment.
Thank you Kathy for sharing your gorgeous music with the world. I am dedicating all of the creativity that I invested in the creation of your stunning story to my mom Sheryl. You two are truly some of the best moms I know. XOXO
THE BOOKS THAT HAVE CHANGED KATHY'S LIFE
“The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett
“An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser
Q: Why did you choose to live in your state/city/town?
A: I wanted to move closer to my daughter who was in boarding school in southeastern MA. Was living on Long Island where we had moved from Alaska in 2003. The house chose me. I walked in the foyer and thought: this is the house for me. I am a mountain girl. I don’t know how I ended up here. I loved Seattle and Alaska. I am not totally committed to living here but no place else is calling my name. I am ready to go deep. Quality vs quantity.
Q: What is your favorite brunch spot nearby?
A: The Daily Paper in Hyannis.
Q: Best cup of coffee in the neighborhood?
A: Have absolutely no clue. I am a Diet Coke kind of girl.
Q: Is there one morning ritual you can’t live without?
A: I wish I could say I had one. I am doing a book “Rituals for Transformation” 108 day journey to your sacred Life. I am around day 35. The one ritual I have is to wake up with my two animals. My dog is on the bed with me and the cat comes as soon as she hears me rustling. I take the dog for a walk and see what is happening on my little dirt road and then I feed them both. To them I am a goddess.
Q: What’s your favorite ‘80s or ’90s jam?
A: George Winston, pianist. Rick Fogel, hammered dulcimer.
Q: Where was the last place you traveled to? What’s one not-to-miss activity there?
A: The last place was Tanzania. I loved every moment, every animal seen. I would say any National Park in Tanzania.
Q: Do you prefer traveling by train or car? If in the car, are you a driver, a passenger or a backseat driver?
A: Depends of course. Mostly car and by default I am the driver. I like both : driving and passengering. I took the train from Providence, RI to NYC two weeks ago and that seemed like the most sybaritic treat to relax on the train (I actually worked on an music exam) and not have to park in NYC. I had a brisk walk from 31st St to 63rd (to my hotel).
For a deeper dive, listen to Kathy's full interview below!
Kathy's journal entry transcribed:
This Silhouette is part of a bigger process of mine where I am pondering the path of my life from now until my death. I am examining the events and thoughts of my first 64 years to determine what I want to discard, what I want to continue to carry with me and what I want to add to my life. The Silhouette experience has helped my focus on my life as it is now and what the most powerful stories I have in my life. I am intent on gaining clarity, mental and physical clarity. I want few regrets as I go forward. I want my regrets to be: “I sure will miss camping,” not “I sure wish I had camped more.” I want the clarity to know the difference between those two statements.
I love how I have cycled back to “No such thing as a happy life, only happy days.” I realize that many happy days adds up to a happy life, like many needlepoint stitches make up a needlepoint and many musical notes make up a song.
I want to sing a clear song of love. Love for myself, love for others, love for earth.
I wish for our world a song of kindness and love.
My favorite junior high choral song:
“Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”
CONNECT FURTHER WITH KATHY SPIRTES
Eli Dagostino’s zest for life has been celebrated on the stages of SNL, on the pages of Vanity Fair, in the seats of Carnegie Hall and by the MET museum and Squarespace.