There is a fundamental connection when you sell products that is essential in business: your customer base. When you sell online, you do get to "meet" some of those customers and every now and then a bond forms and a relationship develops that becomes a real friendship, even if you never meet in the physical realm. When you have a shop on a busy Chicago street, people come in and out and you get the full impact of their physical presence. Claudia Elliott was one of those customers who filled all the space around her with a powerful light. Ironic, as she was confined to a broken body that slowly deteriorated over the years, causing her tremendous pain and physical hardship.
She and her husband, John, came into my life through my Chicago shop. We did not see each other often, but every meeting was full of stories, wisdom, laughter and the desire, at least on my part for more, much more. Claudia had been a Peace Corps Volunteer in Brazil in the 1960's, at about the same time when my parents went down as missionaries. So, there were many stories about that and both of us had a chance to practice our rusty Portuguese. My friend, Donna of Razzle Dazzle, did Claudia's hair (and mine for 15 years!) so there was always news flowing through her, too.
I moved to Kentucky. She and John moved back to New Harmony, Indiana, where she was originally from. Laura Foster Nicholson was another connection as she joined TAFA and we got to know each other online and through a meeting at the Paducah Quilt Show. All of those circles that connect us through both business and common ground. Claudia passed away, or rather, was released, earlier this year and Laura just sent me a beautiful, poignant video that captures the end of this cycle of her life. Claudia had a distinctive manner in how she spoke and held herself. I am so glad to have a record of her voice! Those of you who did not know her will appreciate the strength and dignity this woman had, a role model for any of us who wish to live life fully and honestly!
I am honored to carry Claudia's light. May I also shine as she did!