*clears throat* Wow… A few losses recently, and then finding out about some I didn’t know happened in recent years. It’s left me a little reticent at times. It’s something I have to voice though.
Today, on the last day of this year’s run of Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Southern CA, our founder Phyllis Patterson slipped from this life. It seems a most fitting day if she had to leave us. She and her late husband Ron were visionaries, pioneers, and creative geniuses. They forged an empire that has touched, changed, healed, and energized so many lives that it is wildly unique. My own experiences of 20 years with Faire have given me friendships, loves, family, fun, respite, and growth, and it influenced the woman that I am today. Like any great social circle, it comes with ups and downs, and it’s own set of “problems”, but overall it has been worth the invested time, money, energy, blood, sweat, and tears. Looking back to the first time I stepped into that world – in Devore, at Glen Helen Regional Park – I could never have imagined what a long and interesting journey it would have been by today. I wish that I could have at least been there on this closing day, with my Faire family, but this year it was just not in the cards. In my heart, I am present even if physically absent. We know that Phyllis is there too, even though loosed from the bonds of her body. What I will remember was that she was kind to me.
Every great person, and indeed woman, has her fans and her critics. Phyllis was no exception. There are so many inside stories and jokes that only Faire folk, and especially those that were involved with crew as I was, would understand… I won’t even go into them, but they are on my heart today. Let’s just say that her “million dollar wave” is what gave us all the joy that we can now carry for a lifetime, and from such humble beginnings did this thing come to us. Her great love for history and learning, and sharing knowledge ignited a spark that burned through this entire state and beyond. For those of us that let it consume our lives, it has given us strengths and unbreakable bonds we would have never had from anywhere else in this world. Bless you, dear lady, for your vision and your determination to always move forward. Bless you for taking a small cart and imagining a grand environment into existence around it… for dreaming all of us into your world, and making it happen. What an amazing legacy you sweetly shared with us.
Years ago, I had an eye opening conversation with Phyllis about pain. It was long before I knew that I had autoimmune disease, or knew what Lupus was, and I had no idea why I lived with so much pain. What I also had no idea of was the amount of pain she lived with, from her own health challenges. I remember her advising me that I should see someone in pain management, and how much they had helped her. At the time I knew nothing about it and it didn’t really “compute”, but I remembered her words. I now know many people that benefit from such programs, and her words always come back to me. I also remember that she was as active as her body would possibly allow her to be (and maybe a little more), in spite of whatever she felt. I admire that in anyone. I consider her a great example.
Wherever you are now, Phyllis… all of our hearts here are one today, united in tender gratitude for your gift. We are left with a treasure that cannot be tarnished or taken away. Huzzah!
A special cry from those of us that are Landsknecht – Noch weiter!