Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Never thought a church lady could be such a &!+(#

A few weeks ago I did the Unitarian Universalist Church show in Buffalo,NY. It was going on at the same time as the Elmwood Arts festival and is right on the same street so I thought I would give it a whirl since I was never bumped up from the waiting list for the main event.

Elmwood Festival of the Arts
(courtecy of

The trouble started Saturday morning when I heard the event coordinator for the church arguing with one of the vendors. The coordinator refused to open the front doors to potential customers and wanted only the side door open. The vendor pleaded with the coordinator stating that we wouldn't get as much traffic if the doors were not open. The coordinator said that she didn't care and to basically deal with it. And of course, everyone did poorly on Saturday.

On Sunday, I was surprised to find the front doors open, and amazed at the amount of traffic flowing through the show. I did about 3 times better on Sunday. 

Now to get to the heart of the story. Saturday after the show, I spoke to my mother who told me some heartbreaking news about my grandmother. The stroke she had after her surgery for ovarian cancer left her paralyzed on the left side of her body and unable to swallow.  Grandma was refusing a feeding tube. 

My Mother and Grandma

I knew what this meant, but I didn't want to believe it. My grandmother was always such an independent and strong woman. Hell, she worked at Wegmans for over 30 years and was still slingin' coffee up until the time she found out she needed surgery.

Fairport Wegmans courtesy of

During the show on Sunday, I talked to my mother who told me that I should get down to see Grandma while she was still responding to what was going on around her. Mom needed a ride home from the hospital so I told her I would meet her down there. Which meant I had to pack up early from the show since I was in Buffalo and Grandma was back in Rochester.

Dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's 
It was 4pm, the show ended at 5. There were still a few customers shopping, but nothing like the craziness from earlier in the day. Visiting hours at the hospital ended at 8, so I thought I'd better pack it in a bit early in order to spend some time with Grammy.

Those of you who know me, know that my booth takes about 30 minutes to set up and half the time to break down. I had all of my things on my dolly and was making my way to the side door when the event coordinator stopped me in my tracks about 10 feet from the door. I told her the situation, and with zero compassion, she told me that me leaving was extremely disruptive and that I needed to go through the back door. I told her that my dolly would not fit through the back door. You know how much she cared? She didn't give a flying fuck.  She told me to go to the back door and unpack everything so that I could fit. I then told her that in the moments she wasted yelling at me in front of customers and other vendors, I could have slipped out the side door unnoticed. (talk about making a scene and being disruptive) She stood her ground and pointed to the back door, I wheeled my dolly around her and was out through the side door in less than a heartbeat. I couldn't believe how insensitive she was, especially being a church-going person.  It boggled my mind! 

Grandma in the background, my pretty
Mama, far left

I am not one to burn bridges, especially when it comes to something I make my living on, but I have no regrets leaving the show early. At the hospital, Grandma was able to nod 'yes' and 'no' at questions asked and hold my hand. After Sunday, she was unresponsive to what was going on around her, and perished just 9 days later. 

I thank my lucky stars for the few hours I had with her that day. I got to tell her I loved her and know that she heard me.  Grandma Mortillaro was my favorite Grandma. She was hip and 'with it' her whole life. So not only was she always cool, she was always so positive and upbeat. Grandma sparkled, and the skies in heaven are that much brighter because of her.  

*On a side note, ALL of the other folks affiliated with the church were EXTREMELY nice. They went well out of their way to help and make sure you were fed, comfortable, and had bathroom breaks. Definitely a show I would have gone back to if it were not for my unfortunate experience. 


  1. ~Sigh~ Sadly, just because someone goes to "church", doesn't necessarily mean God is in their heart. I've heard pastors say that "going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going into your garage makes you a car."

    I'm so sorry for your loss. But I'm glad you were able to spend some time with your Grandma before she passed.

  2. I'm so sorry about your Grandma...and sad that you had to have contact with such a nasty individual.

  3. Feeling for you Erin. I'm sorry you have lost your grandma. I'm glad you are able to talk about it. I know you have lots of good friends to help you through, but know I am thinking of you too if you ever need to talk.

  4. It's too bad that one person can ruin a beautiful event. I'm sorry for your loss and hope that happy memories can help you during this difficult time.