When I was 17 I did something wild and crazy. No, it didn’t involve piercings or tattoos or even a bizarre hair color – in fact when I came home from Summer camp at 14 with pink streaks in my hair my Mother and several of her friends wanted to know how I did it; they all wanted to try it for themselves.
This was something even crazier: I bought a store.
In May of 1997 I started working in a small art gallery in Berkeley Springs. By August I was the manager, and in October the owner – a painter who’d tried to make it work for three years before running out of time, energy and money – gave up and sold it to me. Every dime of the cash I paid for it was mine, but my Mother had to sign the papers because I was underage. I was scared and overwhelmed, but excited and I had a pretty good grasp on what I wanted it to become.