Friday, December 12, 2008


At this time of the year we think about all the people that have meant so much to us along with the ones who continue to be a big part of our lives.

The other day I was thinking back 10 years, when I first met, Bill Shaver. Bill was an Interior Designer with tons of talent who never had the opportunity to shine. We were in the market for some furniture and he was the salesman who approached me as I entered the store. We hit it off right away and he mentioned that the store had a policy that encouraged their Designers to make house calls to help the buyers with their choices. That statement stuck in my head! He was so helpful with my selection of a sofa and chair and gave me wonderful hints about future projects.

A few months later, a cruise we were planning on taking to celebrate our 40th Anniversary, was canceled four days before it was to sail! We were devastated. Then, when I realized we were getting all our funds back, I had my first EPIPHANY !

Bill had mentioned that there were lots of ideas he had to "finish" the look I was after. He said: "When you're ready, come back and we'll work together." EPIPHANY……use the trip money and finish my design dream.

That was the start of a lasting relationship that evolved over the next 5 years. He helped me with area rugs to candles. You name it, he had wonderful ideas and new ways to do things. He loved to add little touches of whimsy, and like Kenneth, loved that pop of RED. He told me he had many plans for our home and would let me know in steps, because I was too eager to do it all at one time. He taught me to use restraint, that less was more, and that I didn't have to have everything I owned displayed. He was the inspiration for my warehouse! The idea of putting some things away and bringing them back out at a later time for a different purpose has been a wonderful tool I owe entirely to him.

In his last year he was very ill and became housebound. The furniture store supplied him with a special chair so he could sleep in his living room. He could no longer climb the stairs to his bedroom and when his fellow employees realized he was sleeping on the floor they got to work and supplied the chair. He was hospitalized the last few weeks and Emil and I would visit him daily bringing him design magazines. The next day they would be spread out across the bed with tabs marking his favorite "projects" for the future. We also made him tapes of all the HGTV design shows. He didn't have cable and missed his favorite designers, none of which are on at this time. Kenneth Brown was a new designer that we would catch on Designer's Challenge. Bill loved his work. He said: "That guy is going places… he has what it takes- that special talent… Patty … learn from him."

Emil and I miss Bill very much, but we know he is in a better place and is no longer in any pain. But……. the story doesn't stop here. Bill's work wasn't finished when he died. He remained with us….

He stayed for almost a year. We had many "happenings" and strange events that go beyond the "natural" during that time. You might think I am crazy, but we are positive Bill was with us. If I got an idea on a design project, he let me know if he approved.

One of the first "strange" happenings was after we put some mirror tiles on a wall. We were trying to think of a product for another project we were working on, a backsplash in the kitchen. In the middle of the night, we heard a loud crash! We looked all over the house and finally discovered one of the mirror tiles had fallen to the floor. Immediately we realized Bill was telling us…."use mirrors for your backsplash." We did, and it was perfect!

Occasionally, furniture would move during the night. Heavy furniture. The small adjustments would be improvements from their original placements. We started looking forward to his comings and goings. I was constantly getting ideas from him in one form or another. He was there to the end of the design project.

One sunny morning, about a year after his death, we looked out onto our balcony, we saw two large footprints. The weather was so clear and sunny that day, but these two prints were wet and as clear as a bell. They were facing away from our home…..Bill had left… His job was finished. He approved of all our work and he could rest.

Today I have been thinking of Bill quite a bit. I believe his spirit will move with us, to our new home in Georgia.

"Merry Christmas Bill", put a little whimsy on the clouds and add that pop of red to the stars.


  1. This is so true! I saw the footprints-it was amazing!! Bill did some faux painting on Mom's fireplace but never signed it and Mom and Dad left a pen near the fireplace for some time after Bill died to see if he would "sign" it - he never did. I always looked forward to seeing if Bill "approved" of Mom's changes. Bill was a very special friend to Mom and Dad and this was such a nice tribute to him.

  2. this is wonderful.... you are an excellent writer.

    and yes.... sometimes i thought you were nuts about Bill's "happenings," but more often than not, once you explained what happened, the events were too perfect not to believe!

    i'm glad you had someone in your life to give you confidence to know your true talents. you've always had creativity and a design eye, and i think he really showed you what YOU could do. he was a good man.