From Public to Private

With a 16 x 20 foot sign at the end of our drive on a major highway, Ken and I led a very public life for decades. Even with posted hours people came up at odd times, and this led to some amusing anecdotes: the time I rounded the corner from the outdoor bath in a robe with a towel around my wet hair and there was the “chard guy!”

We were also out in public as marketers and salespeople: pottery shows and farmers markets.

Many people saw us as a unit. I often heard, “Keppers are here!”

Once Ken died people started calling. They wanted to buy pots (before they were all gone), wasn’t I growing vegetables for them, and was I going to be at… I was focused on the immediate necessities: wood for heat, getting the driveway plowed, emptying the compost toilet, butchering fighting cockerels, legal and banking processes, and grieving.

Although many people offered help, many parts of my life are out of mainstream and require unique skills – like butchering chickens. And I was confronted frequently with how uncomfortable people are around death. Many wanted me to come up with something for them to do to help and it wasn’t a job I was able to do at the time.

So I decided to focus on two last public events: the first was the annual pottery and produce show the first weekend in May

And the second was Ken’s Memorial Service the third weekend in May. April and May were busy and many people helped.

Then I felt I had fulfilled my obligations and could assume a quieter, private life. Wrong. People came past a closed sign and through a gate across the drive. After years of people coming at all hours I needed some time alone.

And now, after establishing privacy and time alone, I am starting to come out again. First it was safe places like the homes of friends, then places I could leave if I needed like a farmers market, and now I have been to events and concerts.

Thank you to each of you who helped me through the past year

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