Snapshot: Sandy Motyka

Published: June 07, 2019 at 08:00 am


Occupation: I’m currently retired, but I’m a writer by profession. I spent 35 years in publishing and direct marketing. I started at The Newtown Bee as a proofreader and wrote the gardening column, “Ramblings;” was a copy chief at Grolier in Danbury; creative director at Center for Humanities in Westchester, CUC, Cendant, and Trilgent in Stamford; and recently retired from The Taunton Press. I received my Masters in Corporate Communications and an Advanced Certificate in Professional Writing from Fairfield University.

Family: My husband, Walter, and I will be married for 55 years on June 13. We raised our son, Mark, here and are blessed with two grandchildren. Shannon has a Master’s from Boston College and Tommy is a graduate of Providence College — both are gainfully employed young professionals.

Pets: We have a 6-year-old apricot standard poodle named Molly. She’s our fourth standard poodle.

How long have you lived in Newtown? Walter and I have lived in Newtown for almost 50 years and built our dream house on Kent Road. We came to town with the PerkinElmer invasion, which was an up-and-coming organization that pirated my husband away from his job in Boston. My husband has been all over the world, worked everywhere, but once we moved to Newtown, we found home.

What do you like to do in your free time? I’m a big reader, news junkie, crossword puzzle solver — sometimes, and I love being outside gardening. I’m also an award winning-flower arranger. I’m currently studying with a Master in Sogetsu, a contemporary form of Ikebana, Japanese flower arranging, at Silvermine School of Art. I will be completing the Level 5 course work and receive teaching credentials, my Japanese name, and calligraphic character this summer.

Do you have a favorite book or author? I like all the American classics and read a lot about history. John Steinbeck is my favorite author, and my favorite book is A History of the World in 100 Objects.

What is your favorite travel destination? We’ve traveled with some friends now for almost 30 years. We like river cruises in Europe and road trips to the southwest.

What is the best part about Newtown? We always felt comfortable here and, for the most part, we were able to assimilate into the community rather quickly. Between St Rose Church, the couples’ club we belonged to at the Congregational Church, the Jaycees, and the Young Republicans, we were able to meet people that we are still friends with today.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My family. I was really blessed. I was an only child and only grandchild and was lucky enough to have parents, grandparents, and an aunt and uncle who were interested in everything from art to travel. Even though we lived in a small town, we got to do a lot.

If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? The grandfather I never met, Albert. He died in his 30s, and my grandmother was not very well-off once he died. One of the nicest things we were able to do is take down the wooden cross on his grave and get him a stone.

What is your favorite musical genre? We listen to everything. I like soft jazz, but I enjoy classical music when I need to concentrate, and of course we like the old-fashioned rock and roll.

What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? I had a wonderful nun in high school, Sister Mary Benedict, who had a degree in physics. She was so down to earth and used to say to us, “If you can read and if you can reason, logically, you can learn anything, and you can do anything.”

What is something you cannot live without? Creative thinking. I always think of creativity like a kaleidoscope. All the elements are there in front of you — how do you arrange them?

What is your proudest accomplishment? When Marg Studley, Jane Sharpe, and I formed the Mary Hawley Society as a nonprofit. We were able to renovate the Edmond Town Hall’s Alexandria Room, kitchen, and pantry. It was a wonderful experience.

What organizations have you been part of in Newtown? For elected positions, I did two and a half terms as a Legislative Council representative for District 1 and I did 26 years on the Board of Managers for the Edmond Town Hall, serving as chairman and vice-chairman. For community service, I served on the first Board of Directors for SCAN, am a past president of the Newtown Forest Association, past president of The Garden Club, recent president of the Town & Country Garden Club, and was a former design and horticulture judge of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut.

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Bad Hair Day
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