Thursday, August 13, 2020
Pandemic Masks Treat Children to a Summer of Reading
Joyce Patricelli was aided and abetted in her mask making quest by her husband Ernie Patricelli, who has chauffeured her to fabric stores and waited patiently while she chose the perfect fabrics for her masks.
Thursday, July 16, 2020


The Community Library has raised funds through a variety of means, including its Moveable Feasts and sales from its Gold Mine and Gold Consign stores.

But Director Jenny Emery Davidson never envisioned she would receive a plump donation from the sale of masks stitched together to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

That’s what happened this week when seamstress Joyce Patricelli and Huck and Paddle’s Brandy Herold handed her a thick wad of paper bills totaling $1,000.

Brandy Herold asks for donations for the masks, raising $1,000 for The Community Library.

“It takes quite a bit of ingenuity and skills to make so many masks so rapidly,” said Davidson. “And I love it because Huck & Paddle is so unique to this community, reflecting the character of this community. This will buy a lot of books for the young people in this valley.”

The path to this point started in mid-March when Patricelli began making masks from fabric she had left over from her “crafty period” in the 1970s when she sewed all her children’s clothes and even made dinner placemats.

“I recalled my mother, who was a great seamstress, making and folding bandages during the Vietnam War with a group of women. A friend of mine was making masks and I thought, ‘Why don’t I make masks!’ ” she said.

Patricelli covered the faces of friends and family members with washable, reversible masks sporting flowers, polka dots and checkerboards. She covered the faces of those at the Environmental Resource Center, Sun Valley Museum of Art and those at Sun Valley Museum of Art and Higher Ground summer camps.

“This is what community looks like--people offering their talents for the betterment of the community,” said Jenny Emery Davidson, as she showed off her Joyce Patricelli mask.

She offered an array of face masks to the staff at The Community Library. And she even gave some to her good friend Sharon Bockemohle to give to those who gave her gifts following the death of her husband Lynn to COVID-19.

That done, she turned to Herold at Huck & Paddle, an upscale gift shop on the corner of Sun Valley Road and Leadville Avenue in Ketchum, and asked if she could use some face masks for her customers.

“Ohmigosh, they ask for them all the time,” Herold said.

Patricelli went to work stitching some fun masks using material that referenced landmarks around Idaho and even the birds and the bees, with fabric sporting birds on one side and bees on the other.

Joyce Patricelli has gone through 350 yards of elastic so far to make her masks.

Herold decided to ask for a $5 donation for each mask and give the money to a favorite cause. The two agreed The Community Library would be the perfect beneficiary.

“I am in awe every time I leave the library because I feel I’ve learned something,” said Patricelli. “And I’ve met so many people at things like the Hemingway Conference and the “Ulysses” book group I’ve been taking part in. Just before the pandemic they enriched us with a project on Japanese internment camps—I grew up with kids whose families had come back to farm in the Kent, Wash., valley, but I didn’t know all that.”

Herold agreed: “Everybody utilizes The Community Library for books and talks.”

The donated money will buy books to be given away through the Bloom Truck, which traverses the valley during summer offering free lunches to kids. Normally, the library turns it into a mobile library during summer. But because of COVID the library has been buying books with donations from library patrons and giving them to preschoolers through teenagers to keep.

The books are distributed through The Bloom Truck, which also gives children free meals that Sloan Storey pulls together from The Hunger Coalition.

“It’s allowing the kids to grow their own person libraries. And it keeps them in books at a time when reading is more important than ever due to classes being cancelled,” said Davidson.

Chances are Patricelli and Herold will soon have more money to put towards that venture. Herold says she gets a lot of requests for masks from hairdressers and other clinicians, as well as college girls who want an array of masks with which they can make a fashion statement at college.

“Every single mask goes,” she said. “We can’t keep them in. A lot of people are buying multiple masks because they want one for each of their cars and others for home. We get 10-year-olds and people in their 90s, tourists and residents.”

Patricelli looks forward to continuing her mission.

“Every time I walk in, Brandy says, ‘They’re gone,’ ” she said. “As a dental hygienist, I wore masks all day. My husband Ernie is a dentist. So, masks to us are no brainers.”


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