"She's taught me patience. Every day is like a growing and development stage, and as she grow, I grow along with her. I'm learning how to adjust to live and different circumstances."
"Right now I'm about to take a drug class, man. Got in a little trouble, gotta do drug classes to stay out of jail, basically. It's like an in-patient rehab type thing. Three times a week for six weeks, and then you do one a week for twelve weeks."
"So what made you decide to take that first hit, the first time you ever did drugs?"
"Just wanted to get high, honestly, that's really it. The people I was hanging around with at the time, you know. Bad decisions. A bunch of bad choices led up to that."
"I dress the Rockettes at Radio City and I dress the stars on Broadway: Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Savion Glover, all the stars that come to Broadway, they request me and I do my thing. And actually, Broadway came to *me*. I'm an artist and designer: I do interiors, I do clothes, I do leather bags, jewelry, everything. And someone saw something that I made--I had a show--and they wore it to work. They asked me to come in and show my stuff and I didn't realize it was Radio City. I walked in the door and they said, 'You're hired!' I said, 'For what? I'm here to show my stuff.' They said, 'You're hired to dress the Rockettes!' That was 20 years ago and the rest is history."
Lucia Vanin-Agrusa, owner of Eclettica Decor, 245 Northampton Street, describes herself as having "an accent people like." She originally hails from Italy:
"I'm from Padua; it's close to Venice, and I got married in America, and then we had a house in Riegelsville together. We used to commute every weekend from New York to Pennsylvania. When we divorced, I was living there and he got the house here and I felt like I couldn't move my daughter so quickly from New York. The date was high school: when she started high school, we were going to move back to Pennsylvania to be closer to her father. It's better here. It's easier, safer, cheaper, you know, it doesn't cost you a fortune and the people are friendly."
"What made you decide to open up your store?"
"Easton! Easton is very close to Manhattan, there's a lot of hipsters here. I like the College and the community. I love it. It's almost like New York."
Visit her Facebook page at Facebook.com/LuciaVaninAgrusaAntiquesDesign
"In the beginning I was just taking care of her but now I feel she’s bonded with me emotionally, so now I have a little friend here to support me. She works with me and she’s very kind and caring and loving."
"What's it like being a single mom?"
"For her it’s not good because I can’t just sit and play with her and do skills with her and entertain her and constantly have face-time with her because I have to do things in the house: cook clean go to work, run errands—the supermarket, the laundromat. So, she’s not constantly playing and getting the skills that she needs and the attention that she needs."
"At eighteen, I got to experience a pub in Ireland and played a rock show, played keyboards in a group and we were very well accepted. Everybody was very sweet and nice, and kept the pints flowing."
Ronald has owned Gentlemen's Barber Shop, 65 North Fourth Street, for four years:
"What was the strangest haircut you've given?"
"I had a gentleman, he was like, 'Can you give me something modern with a little bit of the old look from the eighties?' And I was like, 'Like what?' He said, 'Give me a nice fade with a mullet in the back.' So, I was, like, okay, and I had to do it..."
She taught in the South Bronx for many years:
"I loved it. Often in high poverty neighborhoods, kids don't get the same kind of education as they do in more affluent. You can go three subway stops away and it's the most affluent neighborhood in New York. And my goal was to give the kids the same education and we did."
"What have your grandkids taught you about life?"
"Just how to enjoy it and kind of see how they progress into little people, which I don't think I had time to watch with my own children. So taking a little bit of time with them kinda lets me see how much they grow."
Michael Flavian Ruggiero, owner of Flavian's Hair Studio, 312 A Spring Garden Street:
"Off and on, this salon has been here since the early '90s. I closed for about a decade. I went about working in New York City cutting hair here and there. Came back about six years ago. I'm not really from Easton originally, but I've been here about 30 years. Even when I commuted, I never had any desire to move anywhere else. I'm really happy to be back and it's been fun watching Easton turn into what it's turned into. I'm one of the people who can say, 'I was here when there was nothing...' I'm proud to be downtown and to be a part of it all."
Certified personal trainer Ollie Thomas trains out of Next Level at 323 Pine Street. He does personal training, group classes, boys classes and boxing. You can find out more about his programs at his website: Ollie1more.com. His trainee explains why she decided on a personal trainer:
Her: "I run recreationally and I felt that my running wasn’t improving as I got older. I felt I was losing a lot of muscle mass just based on my age, so I had gotten my daughter going with Ollie and his business because we knew it would help her, and he motivated her so much that it motivated me to give it a try, and it really has helped quite a bit."
Lady Colleen Heller on her time in Egypt:
"The tribe I lived with was Al Naz’aina, a South Sinai Bedouin tribe of south Egypt on the west peninsula of the Sinai. When I lived there, it was stark and hot, really hot, and there’s no electricity, no running water, no food refrigeration. It’s survival, but also you find out who you are and who you are not. So it was very clear for me to find an expression of myself in the sands of time—the brown sands—and then on my camel I went over to this place called Malayhas. So, Malayhas is a natural oasis that is very small, and on your way down to it, from the compression of the earth and time, colors are there in the sands. So, there’s golds, and greens and blues and oranges and yellows and even like a silvery hue from the crystals. So we would draw in the sand, and we just left it because we couldn’t take it with us, and we had no phones to take pictures. And the wind would blow it away, and then the next month we’d go back to that area and we’d leave more signs. And so the inspiration for my art today is based on that fact that the colors are there. How we want to interpret them at the time, our emotional being at the time, and how we are as creative beings shows up when you’re stripped from everything you know to be true. That’s how I got to this today."
"I was born in Easton, and since I was born here, this is the place I wanted to die one day. I love Easton."
"What do you love best about Easton?"
"I’m able to walk around freely."
"I had a traumatic brain injury. I just got knocked in the head and my whole life changed. I used to work all the time and now I’m a disabled person. I spend my days going to the doctor and watching the world go by."
Steven from Premier Vapor & Lounge talks about vaping:
"Vapor is just a cleaner, healthier alternative to the people who smoke or use chewing tobacco as a way of getting nicotine. A lot of people come to it to slowly phase down their nicotine use but can enjoy the vapor, which is like the smoking experience, but is a much lighter and cleaner product. It's a booming business. Last year I think was four-and-a-half billion dollars with a 'b,' so we're doing pretty well."
Barbara Brock, owner and artist at Dichroic Glass Artistry, wearing one of her iridescent creations, explains how she began working with glass:
"When I was 62 years old, I lost my husband and after three months of sitting around the house, I figured out what to do. I took a fused glass course at Louisville Glassworks in Louisville, Kentucky. I walked out of that class and ordered my first kiln, and I've been going ever since. I just moved to Easton two years ago from Alabama, and I *love* this community! The art community just smacked me in the face when I came here the first time and I've had encouragement from them, and I enjoy it. Keeps me out of trouble, or in trouble; I haven't decided yet..."
Carmen Abrazado took over Delaware River Books, 52 South 2nd Street, in October of last year. She explains her bookstore's philosophy:
"To get books off of my shelves and into people's homes. I want people to read. I don't want books staying on my shelves, because the more reading the better, as far as I'm concerned, and the younger the better."
"This is my graduation picture from Hofstra. I lost 150 pounds. I was hospitalized, and when you're hospitalized you just cant eat anymore. And then, when you lose 150 pounds you can't eat much because you'll start being in pain. It's not Jenny Craig; it was just totally natural weight loss."
Chelsea Cornelius (left) and Cat Schutzer of Skinterest Skin Care Boutique, 11 N. 3rd Street, talk about what brought them into skin care:
Chelsea: "I fell into it by accident. I went to culinary school beforehand, loved it, but realized it wasn't what I wanted to do forever. And then I just started looking for schools for make-up because I thought it was really awesome, and then stumbled upon aesthetics and fell in love with it."
Cat: "I was tweezing eyebrows since I was in middle school. It was just my thing; I loved shaping and tweezing eyebrows. So I fell into more of the make-up end like she did and when I went to school, they suckered me in to signing up for the aesthetics program thinking that I was learning more about make-up, but I fell in love with skin care. It just all worked itself out and ten years later we just opened up our own place. We went from working in chains and being stuck in the box of not being able to do our own protocol and treating each client individually... It was all a number game and each person got the exact same thing. It was like cattle, you know, in-and-out, in-and-out. So being able to come here and being able to take our time with our clients and giving them the right regimens and the time they need really changed us and makes us what we are."
These are the stories of the people of Easton, PA