We All Have a Story: Patty Cooke; Rochester NY Portrait Project
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Saturday, March 28, 2020
By Hayes Photography
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“The mountains are calling” is more than a cliché.  For me, it’s a reality.  

In the warm summer breeze across the lake, the wind atop a mountain, or the crunch of pines below my feet, I hear a voice say, “Isn’t this beautiful?  We are so lucky!” It is the voice of my mother.

Since 1941, my mother’s family has spent every summer camping in the Adirondack Mountains. I was nine months old when my mother first took me, along with her four other children, camping.  We stayed in a big, green army tent, down the way from our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. For weeks, we would share in the simple pleasures of the wilderness: climbing mountains, hiking trails, sliding down waterfalls, and swimming in clear, cool lakes. We played Scrabble on the beach (Grandma always won), built sand castles, picked blueberries and (begrudgingly) did chores.  At night, we sat around campfires, singing tunes from the 1920s. Four generations of my family marveled at the beauty of every setting sun, every shooting star, and every glorious moonrise. Before her early death at the age of 53, my ever grateful mother would say, “Isn’t this beautiful? We are so lucky!” And lucky we are!  

Today, my cousins, siblings and I still bring our children to the mountains, where we share the joys of a simple life, under a thousand slumbering pines. There is a profound sense of peace that flows along a babbling brook as the words of my mother reverberate through mountain cols. At the summit of every mountain, the wind gently kisses my face as it whispers to me.  My mother’s words prevail. And the mountains are calling.


Patty Cooke

Guidance Counselor

Webster Schroeder High School


Send Patty some love. Make a comment!


Leave a comment:
Heidi Harbeck - So blessed to have had you share the mountains with me...the sitting and smelling the air part was the best. (:
Martha - So beautiful girl! I hear you, and I hear your Mom!
Linda Hayes - Thank you Patty! It was such a pleasure to come see you at your beautiful home and visit with your awesome family. This project has been so meaningful to me. I have learned that it is also so meaningful to many others and that means the world to me! <3
Aunt Mary - So beautiful...so true
Patty Cooke - Aw! Thank you, everyone, for your kind words. This project that Linda has done is so neat! I am so lucky to have been a part of it. I appreciate what you have posted here. Thank you, everyone, especially Linda Hayes! The love and support that you generate by sharing your gift is amazing!
Linda Hayes - Thank you Beth for your kind words. Patty is an all-around beautiful person and I was honored to help tell her story.
Linda Cooke - That is wonderful. You are so lucky to have great memories.
Kim - That was beautiful Patty!
Lisa - I’m so glad you are able to remember your mother and connect with her up in the Adirondacks. We will get there soon! Stay safe and healthy. Lisa
Jacki Ouellette - Love our family tradition, and you, Aunt Patty. Beautifully written, love you!❤
Kathy - Hi Patty
So true. Nature and it’s beauty are often taken for granted. Our family was also given the gift to love what it offers.
Shelly Cahoon - Hi Patty,
Your story is beautiful!
You are so blessed that your mother, and her family, showed you the true meaning of what’s important...nature and family...and that you continue the tradition and message with your family.
Hoping you and family are well.
Stay healthy,

Mary Alice Moore - Your mother was a wise woman! So glad to hear that you are carrying on the simple life tradition of going to the mountains.
Beth Brasser - How beautiful your memories are of time spent with family in a natural setting! I’m sad to learn you lost your Mom at such a young age - but, apparently, she was a woman of great wisdom - and who has passed it on to you. I’m sure the students you counsel are most fortunate to benefit also from that “attitude of gratitude”. Thanks also to Linda for sharing YOUR story.