I’ve known Pat Chambers for about four years. She was one person however I wished I knew longer. I fee that my time with her was all too brief. Pat was an intelligent, articulate, well-read person and one of the better friends I have ever known. Pat was an incredible storyteller, but more than that she was an excellent listener. She and I spent many hours sharing the stories of our lives and what led us to Rose Hill. I knew that Pat was someone I could share my hopes and goals with. I could always bounce new ideas off her, all the while knowing she would be my greatest supporter.
Pat gave me sage advise on the eve of the birth of my son. She said, “Pain is only brief, but the joy of your child will live forever.” She loved children. She would talk fondly and often of her own children and her wonderful grandchildren. She took great pride in the work she did here at Rose Hill. Always with a smile and a positive word she led scores of children and their families back in time to a place in the nineteenth century.
About a year ago on a September Friday, we sat down together to conquer a textile skill at Rose Hill, the spinning wheel. Pat was hesitant at first, but after several hours she was spinning with the best of them. She learned a new skill that day, but she taught me much more over those hours spent together. She taught me patience, joy and not taking one’s self too seriously. She also taught me that we should open our hearts and minds to all that is new and try again until we master what we set out to accomplish.
The following nineteenth century poem reminds me of that day in September:
By Mary DeVere
The spinner twisted her slender thread
As she sat and spun:
“The earth and heavens are mine,” she said,
“And the moon and sun;
Into my web the sunlight goes,
And the breath of May,
And the crimson life of the new-blown rose
That was born today.”
The spinner sang in the hush of noon
And her song was low:
“Ah, morning, you pass away too soon,
You are swift to go.
My heart o’erflows like a brimming cup
With its hope and fears.
Love, come and drink sweetness up
Ere it turns to tears.”
The spinner looked at the falling sun:
“Is it time to rest?
My hands are weary, — my work is done,
I have wrought my best;
I have spun and woven with patient eyes
And with fingers fleet.
Lo! Where the toil of a lifetime lies
In a winding sheet!”