Stephen Huneck | Here In New England
People still visit the chapel on a nearly daily basis. The walls are so thick with remembrances now that Gwen is concerned about where they’ll be able to fit new ones. “Maybe the ceiling,” she quips.
She’s left the chapel untouched since Stephen’s death, save for one addition: On one wall of the foyer she’s cleared a space for him. A handful of photos from their life together are wedged between those of the Dobermans and Labradors of strangers. It’s a slight aberration from Stephen’s original vision, but one that Gwen feels he would have approved of.
Gwen doesn’t see any of this as an ending. As she chooses the art for Stephen’s upcoming retrospective in St. Johnsbury this summer, she doesn’t approach it as a final viewing, but as the continuation of her husband’s legacy. “It gives me purpose in life,” she says. “It helps me feel connected to Stephen. I’m like the caretaker of it now.”
Gwen hopes Dog Mountain will always remain open, although she doesn’t know who will maintain it after she’s gone; she and Stephen had no children. With a wry smile at her black Lab, she ruffles his ears and says to him in an excited voice, “Maybe we’ll leave it to Sally.” Stephen would have laughed.
The Stephen Huneck retrospective, “Dogs, Angels & More Dogs,” runs August 4-September 28 at Catamount Arts, 115 Eastern Ave., St. Johnsbury, VT; 888-757-5559, 802-748-2600; catamountarts.org
Save the date! Dog Mountain’s Summer Dog Party is scheduled for August 7 this year, from noon to 4 pm. Chapel and gallery are located at 143 Parks Road, St. Johnsbury, VT. 800-449-2580; dogmt.com