I came to NEWS with a work study, through Antioch College, a friend found the listing for me and said “Ellen, this is tailor made for you!” And he was right! My summer with the show was hugely formative as well as making some life long dear friends.
After returning to school, I realized that I didn’t want to be in school! I knew what I wanted to do, so I did. I returned to Maine, married my sweetheart, John Gawler, dwelled in a small cabin, lived off the land and made music. Eventually, we built a solar house, raised 3 wonderful daughters and played music to our hearts content. 30 years later, looking back, reveals a life of raising a family on the farm, on and off homeschooling, growing organic vegetables, having ponies, chickens, etc, teaching suzuki violin and fiddle, and playing lots of music.
Like Montana, Maine has had a simular long involvement in the organic farming movement. Over the past 15 years, I have been happily emersed in growing for the local farmers market as well as a small pre-order CSA. All 3 of my daughters are doing simular things, Edith and husband Bennett, into large-scale garlic production, Elsie with a micro dairy and cheesemaking and Molly creating her own one-woman dance company with a water conservation message called ‘Droplet Dance’ where she employs various family members for providing live music.
I have also for 25 years drawn great fulfillment in teaching Suzuki violin/fiddle, resulting in many years of kids happily fiddling their hearts out. We have had a great time traveling to places where our traditional Maine fiddling draws inspiration, including Quebec, Maritime Canada and Ireland. As our kids grew John and I did the natural thing, which was to include our kids in performing, which evolved into a family band, and, thankfully, to this day, they still like playing with mom and dad! I am so grateful for a rich life of playing fiddle in schools, fairs, festivals, dances, camps, etc….what could be better! And so happy to be reconnecting with the Montana clan all doing amazing things in a remarkably parallel universe to my life in Maine……wow!