Pianist Rose Chancler’s Personal Connection to Anne LaBastille:
I first met Anne while walking our dog with my family. Her beautiful German Shepherd pup “Krispy-Creme” came running out of her house, with Anne frantically (and ineffectively) blowing a training whistle from behind. Krispy and our dog, Elvis, struck up a wonderful friendship. While they played, my husband Steve and I chatted with Anne, and we arranged to meet up with our dogs again sometime in the future. Anne quickly scrawled her number on a piece of paper, and we were on our way.
Afterwards, my husband asked me if I knew who she was–and I said, ‘no.’ He commented that we had just met “The Woodswoman” Anne LaBastille, the well-known—sometimes controversial—yet tireless Adirondack environmental advocate and international women’s icon.
Over the next few years my time spent with Anne grew, sometimes just a stop in to see how she was doing; other times, sitting amidst her towering avocado plants, talking about life, husbands, and more often than not, animals. She was always engaging, but wary of me for quite a while. Soon I learned that her past had some traumatic experiences that, understandably, made her cautious. Mostly I think she was just used to watching out for herself, and didn’t trust people until she spent a significant amount of time getting to know them.
Over the years, Anne grew to trust me and several others who came and helped her with many tasks that she slowly grew unable to master. These people were fiercely loyal to her and her way of life, allowed her to remain at home despite a degenerative illness. This rather large group of very caring friends were clearly her own brand of extended family.
The “Woodswoman Project” (still a bit of a working title), is my musical way of paying tribute to my friend and extraordinary woman, Anne LaBastille, as well as to all those people who lover her. And sharing the passion and spirit of the “Woman of the Woods” with all.