This and That |

This and That

Mary Eshbaugh Hayes

Going into the off-season, I’ll include a little of this and that. Some people are returning from springtime ski trips, others are heading off to the beaches … and still others are gearing up for summer programs.

Fraser, the main character of the “Adventures of Fraser the Yellow Dog” book series, has had a busy spring. Jill Sheeley, owner of Fraser and the author of the books, Tammie Lane, the illustrator of the books, and Fraser himself visited Aspen Country Day School to read Jill’s newest book, “Rescue on Aspen Mountain.” Tammie and Jill gave the students a chance to create their own story.

Then Fraser stayed home while Jill and Gwyn Knowlton traveled to Belize for a week, staying at Peggy and Bobby Mason’s Casa Tortuga. One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the Island Academy, a private school on the beach in San Pedro. A former Aspenite, Dixie Summerscales, is the headmistress of the school, where Jill spoke to the children about writing, publishing and skiing.

Then Jill and Fraser traveled to Denver to participate in the Read Team, a program presented by American Family Insurance in conjunction with the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche that encourages second- and third-graders in the Denver area to read for 20 minutes a day. This year Rob Blake and Greg DeVries read to students at the Yale Elementary School. Jill, as guest author, read to more than 400 students. The Read Team has just completed its sixth season of encouraging a lifelong love of reading. More than 5,000 children participated this year. Jill and her husband, Don Sheeley, have returned from visiting Muffy and Andy diSabitino in Scottsdale, Ariz., where the diSabitinos spend the winter.

Summer Words, the annual writing festival and retreat presented by the Aspen Writers’ Foundation, will be held June 21-25 at the Given Institute. Faculty members for the retreat include Amy Bloom teaching fiction, Ron Carlson teaching fiction, Pam Houston teaching advanced fiction, James Houston teaching creative nonfiction, Christopher Merrill teaching poetry and Laura Fraser teaching magazine writing. These authors will all give talks during the festival, as will authors Ann Patchett, Patricia Schroeder and Adrienne Miller. To sign up for the festival, the retreat or both, call the Aspen Writers’ Foundation at (970) 925-3122.

The May 2003 issue of Victoria magazine includes an article with many photographs of the Denver home of former Aspenites Katherine and Michael Whitcomb. Katherine, an interior designer, decorated their home and added a large new kitchen. Michael is the son of Dr. Harold Whitcomb. Katherine worked during the 1970s as an advertising rep at The Aspen Times and was known then as Kathy Swalm.

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Former taxi drivers, dispatchers, owners and office workers are holding a Mellow Yellow Taxi reunion on Saturday, April 12, at the Pyramid Peak Roadhouse (the new building next to the Aspen Golf Course). There will be music by Starwood and a dinner buffet by Back Door Catering. For more information, contact Bruce Meyer at (970) 925-7283.

Art Hyde recently spent some time on the Hawaiian island of Maui, and he sent me a clipping from the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper telling how Aspenite Lily Garfield has opened a Cos Bar in The Shops at Wailea. Lily started her Cos Bar in Aspen when she discovered that Colorado had few high-end skin-care products available. Her Aspen and Hawaii shops carry chic skin care, makeup and fragrance lines, including Prada, Nars, Laura Mercier, Trish McEvoy, T. Leclerc, Origins and La Prairie. The newspaper clipping also included a photo of Lily.

Janie Bennett has been presenting slide shows and talks at ACES and at Digital Arts Aspen about her return to her childhood home in central Australia last fall. With Jody Cardamone and their two daughters, Janie traveled to the Pitjantjantjara lands in remote Australia. She was returning to her childhood home to honor the request of a tribal elder and his people. As a child there, Janie’s friends included the Aboriginal people. In her presentation, she tells a story in words and images about returning to one’s place and renewing old friendships in a remote and harsh landscape, the home of wedge-tailed eagles, dingoes, thorny devils, and the Aboriginals.

Karen and Gyles Thornely announce the birth of a daughter, Ava Jane Thornely, on March 26 in Aspen Valley Hospital.

Undercurrent … With the on-again, off-again snow showers of springtime, Aspenites cheer themselves up with bouquets of tulips or daffodils from their favorite florist. However, one sign of spring is the return of the robins. This week I saw a flock of more than a dozen singing in the trees in the Hyman Avenue mall.