Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why I love New Hampshire

An account of why the people of New Hampshire are some of the best you'll ever meet.  And I'm not just saying that because I'm from there...

Yesterday was the day.  I picked up my newly framed piece from the frame shop and made the drive up to Rochester, NH to drop it off in time for the museum opening next Saturday.  The sun was shining, iced coffee in hand, and listening to belting out the Backstreet Boys (thanks, Danielle, for reigniting that passion...)

As I drove up and pondered why I hadn't gone into the recording industry, it hit me.  No not the amazing opportunity of being a part of a new museum and artistic community...I had to pee.  The iced coffee went straight through me.  I still had 30 minutes ahead of me in driving time and said to myself between "I Want it That Way" chorus's, "You can make it, Laura.  Drop off the painting first."  I arrived at Rochester in good time and walked up to the Jenny Wren Gallery where I was instructed to go to drop off.  (Her gallery is acting as the museum gift shop!) Upon arriving at the door, there was a wee tiny sign that said:

Sorry to have missed you!  Feeling ill!

Wait, what?  No one is here.  Insert panic stricken face and have-to-pee dance. I've been in the city and 'burbs for so long that I forgot about that little part of small town New Hampshire.  When you're ill and you're the only person that works at a shop, you just shut down.  People will understand.  Down here in Boston, that's basically unheard of.  It was my own fault for not calling ahead so I couldn't be upset at anyone but myself.  But I didn't have time for that!  I had to pee!  So I collected my thoughts and pulled into a gas station.  

The attendant gave me the key, no questions asked. I didn't even have to buy a soda.  Thank you Cumberland Farms lady! 

With a clear mind and bladder, I was able to figure out my next course of action.  The Rochester MFA Collections Office!  I had also been given the shipping address for the office if I wanted to ship my piece up.  I decided to drive there.  It was 8 miles away.  It was also 4:30pm and I was pretty sure wherever this was, it was going to close at 5.  I hightailed it up to Farmington, NH according to my GPS directions.  "Arriving at destination on left."  It was a field. An empty, grassy, field. I forgot my cell phone so I couldn't even call anyone for help. 

LAST RESORT: The UPS Store I saw it on the way!  I'll just ship the piece down the street.  I pulled in at 4:57pm and opened the door, dreading being that customer that comes in right at closing... Of course, being in New Hampshire, I was greeted by the manager like I was the first customer of the day!  I gave her the address of where I was shipping and guess what happened?  

SHE OFFERED TO PERSONALLY DROP IT OFF FOR ME THE NEXT DAY, FOR FREE.  Yeah you read that right.  A stranger offered to go out of her way on her day off to hand deliver my little piece of art.  She even wrote up an insurance claim and mini receipt in case it was lost or something. My goodness, I couldn't believe my ears.  I instantly started mumbling my thanks and fumbled for a business card and told her to go and pick something out and I'd send it to her for free.  

Kathy from the UPS Store in Farmington, NH!
She then let me use her phone to call Matt, the President of the Rochester MFA, to let him know she'd be coming to drop it off or if he wanted, he could pick it up.  Wouldn't you know, the collections office was about 1/8 of a mile away from the UPS store and gave me directions.  So I ended up dropping it off myself, but still in awe of the kindness of a stranger.  

And then I met Matt Wyatt (who is a super amazing mixed media artist along with being the prez of a new museum!) and he and a few friends have been starting a revolution in Rochester, NH, trying to bring the arts into view for the public.  First starting with a gallery of rotating artists and has now transformed that idea into a permanent museum.  He's established partnerships with businesses all over the town from a art teaching space, to a gift shop, to a cafe! AND he's a preschool teacher on top of that!  I can't wait to be a part of it.

Moral of this super long story is: New Hampshire rules.  And I forgot how much.  NH, we've had our differences, but at the core, you're amazing.

Thank you Cumby's lady for letting me use the bathroom in a time of need. Thank you Kathy and the UPS Store of Farmington for your incredible offer and I hope to see you at the opening.  And thank you, Matt for inviting me to be a part of your museum and new art scene in Rochester. 


Anonymous said...

That's an amazing story, and very well written I might add! It's just amazing how people being nice is such a revolutionary concept now. And how absolutely powerful it is!

Sally said...

Woot for friendly people in New Hampshire and for you and your piece!

Stacey said...

See there are great people in the world...and it has a ripple effect like the Liberty Mutual Commercial...:) little bits of kindness make the world a better place! Thanks for sharing and the great reminder!