By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
SLIPPERY ROCK —
Even after her recent move to Longmeadow, Mass., Laurie Bloomberg is still supporting her beloved Slippery Rock Community Library -- through her artwork.
"The library is just one of my loves," said Bloomberg, a founder of the library who celebrates her 90th birthday today in the apartment she shares with her husband of 68 years, Leo.
Bloomberg has created countless oil paintings, watercolors, sculptures, stained glass and other works of art, and part of her collection will be sold to benefit the library Aug. 31 at the Slippery Rock Volunteer Fire Company & Rescue Team's yard sale.
"I'm all for that. I've done all I could," she said of how the sale is her way of helping without being able to physically assist.
The sale runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the fire station at 162 Elm St., and her table will include other items she's collected over the years and many travels, thanks to her husband's 30-year career with the U.S. Air Force.
"Our house in Slippery Rock was our 32nd house," said Bloomberg, a Los Angeles native.
They finally settled down in Slippery Rock after moving to town in 1977, going on to raise three daughters; one is deceased. They also have three grandchildren.
"There was no library," she recalls of when they moved to the borough.
Bloomberg, Jan Forrest, who is president of the Friends of the Slippery Rock Community Library, and several others started the library in 1980 in the basement of the park office, later moving it to the covered porch and running it as a self-serve paperback exchange.
The porch was enclosed in 2005 and the library has remained there ever since, in a 283-square-foot room at the recreation building at Slippery Rock Community Park.
The Friends recently bought a vacant lot in the borough at 330 E. Water St. to build a new facility, but have a long to way to go to reach the $400,000 goal.
"I'm hoping the sale at the fire hall does well," Bloomberg said.
Before she and her husband, who will soon be 95, decided to move, she fell at home and broke her left wrist.
"That was one of the reasons we moved," she said, adding they also wanted to be closer to family.
But the injury hasn't slowed down the artist in her, which includes Japanese brush-painting she learned while her husband was stationed in Japan.
"It's in a hot pink cast," Bloomberg laughed. "Thank heavens it was my left wrist that I broke. I'm right-handed. I've turned the second bedroom into my studio."
Since the couple downsized with their move, they left behind a lot of artwork, a passion of Bloomberg's that started years ago as a hobby and turned more serious as she entered art shows and taught classes.
"There was stuff I just couldn't take with me," she said.
That's when Sonya and Linda Lenz stepped in to help, and they're still sorting through the collection that they'll sell at the yard sale on Bloomberg's behalf for the library.
"She looked at me and said 'You're my guardian angel,'" Sonya Lenz, a Slippery Rock business owner involved in many projects throughout the borough, said of the offer to help.
Her mother, Linda, is friends with Bloomberg, and the women knew they had to do something special with the artwork. "These are their treasures of a lifetime," Sonya Lenz said. "And she's passionate about the library."
If anything is leftover after the yard sale, she will sell them at Slippery Rock VillageFest on Sept. 14.
"I believe there will be a lot of money raised for the library," she said, adding the Friends are also helping out.
Slippery Rock Volunteer Fire Company & Rescue Team invites the community to participate in its yard sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 31 at 162 Elm St. Eight feet of table space is $5. Also, those who have items left from their own yard sales can donate them to the team to help raise funds for a new station. No clothing or household chemicals can be accepted. SRVFC reserves the right refuse any questionable items.
You may drop of your donations at 162 Elm Street from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 24 or from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 19 or Aug. 24 or by calling for an appointment at 724-794-3817.
Published Aug. 21, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.