A Mom's Story
A MOM’S STORY by Franny Engelman
The tale begins at a glass window on the 4th floor of a hospital nursery. There, alone, stood a NEW Dad, oblivious to others passing by, reading aloud a story to his one DAY OLD 6 pound, 2 ounce baby girl, Elizabeth, who was so “obviously engrossed “ in “ hearing” her first story she neither stirred nor uttered a sound-unlike the 8 and 9 pound newborn infants who were “demanding” immediate attention. Watching dad and baby from afar, it was as if NATURE and NURTURE were meeting for the first
time- and a lovely meeting it was!
And there was I, the baby’s mom, who had always cherished my memories of sitting spellbound, listening to my own dad’s original stories and watching him illustrate many of them. So it was second nature for me to want to impart the same to my daughter - reading together and inventing stories - mine not nearly as imaginative as my dad’s, but with fun and laughter.
Entering the little girl’s life was her BELOVED grandpa who mesmerized his ADORED granddaughter with his imaginative, compelling stories in which the characters seemed to take on a life of their own. Child and grandpa, immersed in each episode, glued together in the latter’s big reclining chair, was an image not to be forgotten. And there was the DEVOTED grandma waiting to serve them her delicious meals created from love.
Witnessed early on was the introduction to THEATRE-starting with “The Pumpkin Theatre of Baltimore”, a “one-liner” in Lillian Hellman’s “The Children’s Hour” and followed by more and more theatre all through her growing years. Creative writing, critiquing literary assignments were the school’s curriculum where Lizzy, later dubbed Liz, truly thrived. This same interest in reading, writing, theatre (and Orioles baseball) continued to travel with her onward and upward throughout her life.
NATURE and NURTURE, the blending of innate personality and experience, molded Liz into the WONDERFUL woman she is today. Perhaps, in retrospect, one might say the SEED for TLC was unknowingly implanted at a very young age. With much sweat, hard work, smarts, vision, passion, risk-taking and incredible teamwork, TLC became a REALITY!
TLC is now TEN YEARS OLD! Much growth and challenge have taken place during the past years. I, as does everyone else who has been fortunate to have been here, always departed with a keen awareness of the meaning of BEAUTY, CREATIVITY, INNER CALM, QUIET, STILLNESS, CONNECTION and a renewed SPIRITUAL AWAKENING.
This, in essence, is my story of Liz Engelman, my favorite daughter and FOUNDER of TLC, and her encapsulated journey toward actualizing her passion. In closing, I would like to recognize Liz’s astute ability to seek and surround herself with GEMS - as in HUMAN GEMS:
Meet Thea Sheldon, TLC’s PROGRAM ASSISTANT, and Dave Hunsche, OPERATIONS MANAGER, whose enormous footprints, skill, hard work, devotion and ability to think outside the box are, and always have been, INVALUABLE. They have become great friends and family. TLC would not be where it is today without them! They are definitely unique!
It would be impossible to speak of TLC without conjuring up the captivating image of the late Gaia Fenna, TLC’s “Earth Mother”, whose spirit, dedication and artistry will abound these grounds long into the future. Tom Bezek, our “Mr. Nature”, who radiates such great Karma to whomever he encounters or wherever he goes, has been TLC’s mainstay from its inception. His optimism, love and physical and emotional investment are INCOMPARABLE.
And what an ASSET is Lori Boes, TLC’s loyal PROVIDER OF CLEAN COMFORT! TLC could not have managed without her energy, extraordinary commitment and her amazing and welcomed sense of design.
SUPPORT is “spelled” Steve Lampman and Liz Schendel. Steve’s knowledge of the area, his impressive know-how, his curious and innovative mind were his trademark from the beginning. LIZ’s kindness , her generosity, her concern and caring for others, her sharing her home and her family with TLC’s other GEMS have endeared Liz to us forever.
To my Liz, her staff, her board and to ALL those who have contributed to making TLC what we see today, I, personally, thank you for a “job” WELL DONE and a special thank you to the sweet and faithful Jai Engelman in whose presence I bark in awe. I want to wish TLC a most JOYOUS and CREATIVE YEAR.
A Lucky Mom,
May 5, 2018