Two years ago when I taught for the first time at the O.H.C.G. school, I blogged about it. That was in my early days of blogging and teaching. And it was very special. Here it is, two years later and after my second stint at Mt. Mary, I’m back to blog about it again.
Often, after a special experience somewhere, we believe that expression “you can’t go back again”. But I’m here to tell you that you certainly can. And many of the students in my class (and the rest of the school) have been doing so for years and years.
What is it about Mt. Mary that’s so special? All of it! Like every other school, it has its own DNA. It’s a relatively small school, compared to many others. It’s housed in a venue that is magical for so many reasons. The acreage upon which it is located is a study in serenity, which is a good thing for a retreat. The grounds are vast and tree-filled. Many returnees talk about seeing deer early in the mornings on their walks. There are ginkgo trees amidst every type of evergreen you can imagine. And the fall colours are gorgeous, despite the overcast weather. As someone said, the brilliant foliage out every window finds whatever light there is and shines it back on you.
When you enter the buildings, the tranquil feeling continues. As soon as I walked through the front doors of the main building, I had an olfactory memory of the place from the last time I was there. It seems to be a combination of wax and warmth, and like an old song, I felt instantly at home.
There were five classes this year, each in a room that reminds you of your childhood school days, complete with wooden desks and old fashioned windows. The rooms are all bright and cheery and soon were hives of hooker activity.
The meals are all homemade. Good basic stick-to-your-ribs fare, with delicious desserts. With breakfast, lunch and dinner and two snacks served, you really feel as if have eaten your way through the weekend.
The smallness of the school encourages mingling. You can visit other classrooms to see what they are up to. And over weekend, you can talk to nearly everyone in attendance. The camaraderie within the classrooms spills over into the corridors, the common spaces and at night in the Villa and Manor where everyone sleeps.
Although utilitarian, the rooms have a certain charm. The open-door policy encourages visiting from room to room. And the common area in the Villa is the perfect spot for getting together in the evening.
This year, Jennifer Curran the school Administrator, had a couple of “extras” that made the weekend even more special. A gentle stretch yoga class on the Friday night was the perfect way to work out the kinks of the day. And the unusual offerings at the Prohibition-themed party on Saturday night will undoubtedly live on in the stories of the school for years to come.
The standard attractions of every good hooking school are there in abundance. Lots of vendors selling patterns, wool and books. A great silent auction that allows everyone to part with some items so that they can acquire more. And a Sunday morning Show and Tell that demonstrates how amazing each class was and how much you can get done in a Thursday-night-to-Sunday-morning time frame.
Another little extra is the fantastic yarn store located directly across the street from the retreat – The Needle Emporium - where knitters and hookers alike can discover exquisite yarns to add texture and flair to their next projects.
As a teacher who now has a few more stints under her belt, I can highly recommend this school to hookers of all ages and stages. It’s intimate. There’s lots of opportunity to learn and share and enjoy the company of others for those glorious three days.
If the OHCG School is sometimes forgotten in the roster of places to go, let this be a reminder of all the wonderful reasons to reconsider the reasons why there’s something about Mt. Mary to charm each and every one of you.
I’ll post again tomorrow or later in the week about my own class, so you can see their projects and find out more about how very special they were. Stay tuned…