To write this piece, I’ve had to reflect
on who I am and why Cornerstone
is such an important part of my life.
At first, ideas about being a middle child, or that I had started businesses with names like D is for Duck and Toys that Toot seemed like they may hold some clues, but later I realized it comes down to this – there is a way that my current role at Cornerstone is the perfect expression of who I am and have always been. For my entire life I have loved creating opportunities for shared community experience.
As a child, I remember Jerry Lewis telling us to host carnivals in our backyards as a way to raise money for “his” kids, and me spending three summers between the ages of eleven and fourteen doing just that.
I remember working tirelessly building the ticket booth, popcorn stand, hall of mirrors, ring toss and fishing game; and daydreaming about renting a huge glass tank for the water dunk or retro-fitting my back yard to accommodate a spinning teacup ride. One year my sister and I cut into the hillside of a neighboring property to create a log-boat ride. For fifty cents I’d shoot water from a hose against the back of a halved garbage can until the buildup of mud, water and steep incline would finally move you down the hill. I printed tickets, stapled programs, bagged goldfish and slathered my hands with butter to form popcorn balls. And yes I wanted to help Jerry’s kids – but what really motivated me was a desire to create a place where people of all ages could come together to spend an afternoon having a great time.
One of my proudest moments at Cornerstone was talking to an older gentleman in the barn area with his wife. He was waiting for his son, daughters and their families to arrive. He told me that meeting them here, in the gardens of Cornerstone, was exactly how he wanted to celebrate his 75th birthday. At that moment I realized I had helped to create a new kind of carnival with gardens and grounds instead of rides and games – and yes he did appreciate the gift of a cornerstone book on his way out but I bet he really would have loved a bagged gold fish.