To own a business or “NOT” to own a business???

Handwoven Skirt and shaw

Handwoven skirt and shawl

Notes from Alexis:

To have a business – or ‘Not’ to have a business?  These were questions Mom and I spent our whole life asking. I currently own two small businesses; I guess it is in my blood. 

PLUS: Read the delightful short story by Dr. Louis Camuti called “All my patients are under the bed”


4- 14-83


Dearest Lex,


Now for “Options.”  One thing you absolutely have to get through your head is not answers but questions. It is just so simple. Ask the right question and the answer pops right into your mind. If you aren’t getting the answers, you aren’t asking the right questions, so go back and start over.

Can you stand some more “Options?”  Too bad poor dear you get it anyway.

I have been much undecided about the business. Stewing might be a better word. So this past week I did a neat thing. I pretended I had closed the business down…not just temporarily but forever. I played the whole thing out in my mind. So now what? I sat around, and lay around, and read and read and read.

One day when you were a teenager at Austin Street you stayed home from school for some reason. In the afternoon you said, “So this is what you do all day.” and I have never heard such scorn.

 That is how I felt… “so this is what ‘not’ having a business feels like?”

I did not fall into a deep depression but boy was I bored. I began, frantically, trying to find some avenue to go down (let’s face it I’m not going to clean house). I thought of clubs, go to school, take art classes (remember Dad said I shoulda). Well I twiddled and diddled away the week and then found a book on taxes and business, and then I asked the right question– Do I want to be in business? Yes!  it just popped out. What I like to do is spin yarn and weave yardage. What I do not like to do is make things. Let’s face it ‘Frameworks’ is not ‘things’.

So, of course, the big question! Can I make money with yardage? My immediate answer is yes (gut answer). While there aren’t a lot of people who know how to use handspun, there are millions who know how to sew. The sewing machine people and the pattern people and even the fabric people (bless their little pointy heads) have been making my customers for me.

It’s time that I find sewers who want $30 a yard material; surely they are out there somewhere! I got out my dress jumper (Outback grand opening #1) and blouse (Outback grand opening #2) and boy, was I impressed. Also have several ideas about other fabrics. Other ideas indeed, it is as if they have been stacking up like planes over New York. (I have also have talked Dad into making me a sample loom.)

Somehow the whole thing just feels so right it is almost ho-hum. Now while I haven’t thought I was moping, when I told Dad what I was going to do, he was as close to enthusiastic as he could get. Gwen doing nothing is a time bomb and he is used to The Spinning Wheel, he certainly doesn’t want me taking off in new directions.

So I really quick whipped that linen warp on the loom (10 hours & 15 min.) and am now waiting for good weather so I can spin weft.

That spring I told you about last week, lasted two days and it has snowed every day since. Squirrel went down in his hole and pulled it over him. I see him out this morning–does that mean I can spin outside today?

I told Dad about my plans to build a shop on Lot #1 and got my “no” so I figure we are in business.

I am enclosing a copy from a book I just read “All my patients are under the bed” by Camuti. He is a cat doctor in NY who makes house calls. If this doesn’t give you a laugh, I give up.

Here is a “Helpful Household Hint”. If you have something on your hands that smells bad–onion, garlic, God forbid liver–rub coffee grounds all over them and presto nothing but coffee. Now that is an original thought from your old ma. (This doesn’t mean, of course, that somewhere out there, nobody else has thought of it.) It just means that I didn’t read it in a book.

Well got to run. This new way of thinking about my business has set the old adrenalin to pumping, and I am full of piss and vinegar.




All my patients are under the bed

by Dr. Louis Camuti


For wacky moments in the Camuti book of memories I think I’d have to give top honors to Mrs. Studebaker, whom I never met but will always remember.

I judged her to be a chatty lady from the long message she left with my answering service. The gist of it was that her cat was having urinary problems and she wanted to speak with the doctor.

From her voice, I got the impression of a sweet, elderly lady when I returned her call. She said that she was .legally blind, though she did have partial vision “Enough that I could see my cat–his name is Chilton–was having trouble with wee wee”.

“Can you bring him to my office?” I said.

“That’s not necessary any more, Doctor. I’ve cured him. I used to be a physical therapist. I’d be happy to tell you my technique, in case you want to use it.”

“That’s most kind of you,” I said.

“Well, I remembered back to my early training. We had been taught that one way to reduce inflammation was to apply hot potato halves around the inflamed parts. Every time poor Chilton tried to wee wee I could see that his woosy-doosy was protruding but nothing came out. I decided it must be inflamed inside, which closed off the wee-wee tube. So I decided to use the hot-potato method on his woosy-doosy. Are you following me, Dr. Camuti?”

“Yes,” I groaned, aching with sympathy pains for my fellow male creature. Not knowing what else to say I finally got up the gumption to ask, “What happened?”

“Oh,” she said matter-of-factly in the same sweet little voice, “He flew through the air and pissed like hell.”