Carolyn Comeau, NC
Carolyn is a writer who believes everyone has a take-your-breath-away story to tell. She currently creates content for businesses and nonprofits, pens stories for regional lifestyle and design publications, collaborates with curatorial teams on museum exhibition and educational film content, and ghostwrites for C-suite executives. Her specialty writing niches are healthcare, art and design, and history and museums. She earned her MA in Education with a concentration in Museum Studies and a BA in History, which pretty much makes her a bonafide history geek. Her curiosity, interactive nature, and compassion make her a great fit for anyone with a compelling story inside them—and aren’t they’re all compelling?
As a Story Terrace writer, Carolyn interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.
I’m Grateful, Henry
“Meet Henry,” my dad said, as I grasped his hand with all the firmness a six-year-old could muster.
My mouth hung open in awe as we looked heavenward at the famous fourteen-foot-tall African elephant that graces the great hall of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
I was born and raised in Washington, D.C. It was an altogether unique and interesting place to grow up, but one of the most treasured and lasting gifts I received was to have the remarkable network of Smithsonian museums, and all their attendant magic, right in my backyard. Lucky me!
Henry really struck me. He represented the world’s thrilling vastness, and from then on I was hooked on museums.
I took in fine art at the National Portrait Gallery and sculpture at the Hirshhorn. I remember my family’s ritual of taking turns interpreting whatever piece was in front of us, from a faintly rendered Renaissance drawing to a bold, in-your-face Picasso.
If we happened to be viewing something modern and not necessarily representational, the exchange would go something like this: “Would you look at those gorgeous colors!” my mom would exclaim. My dad would say something along the lines of: “I could have done that myself…” And me, I’d talk about the limitlessness of what I saw: “There’s a cloud! And there’s a woman’s face, oh and can you see that big flower?”
My parents kindly signed me up for art classes at the Hirshhorn. The museum had a wonderful sculpture garden where we’d eat lunch in the sweltering afternoons of a typical D.C. summer, and a favorite ceramics teacher encouraged us to “create what you feel,” literally, as we pinched, bent, and manipulated our clay.
I later loved ogling the First Ladies gown exhibit at the Museum of American History, and imagined myself sporting Jackie Kennedy’s chic early ’60s yellow silk creation by Oleg Cassini.
I sought comfort as a homesick college student in Boston’s many museums. I sketched at the Museum of Fine Arts and wrote letters to loved ones as I sat, surrounded by the ornate babbling fountain and statuesque palm fronds, at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Venetian palazzo-style inner courtyard.
Later my husband and I honeymooned in Italy. We—for a nanosecond—couldn’t decide whether we should blow a then significant-for-us sum on either a private tour of the Uffizi or a gondola ride. I think by now you can probably guess which one we chose.
Museums remain my go-to for joy. To this day, I always search for the most obscure museum wherever I travel, and always end up delighted.
So thanks, Henry. I appreciate what you gave me that day long ago, and know that you’ve fueled the curiosity of every young visitor who gazes up at your colossal, majestic form.
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