From 1992-93, I worked at The
Sweet Vidalia Café…
…a wonderful restaurant that was in Newburyport, MA, owned by Lenore (“Nore”) Rogers and Amy Maliszewski (“Ski”), in order to make additional money so I could move to Washington, DC and enroll in law school in August of 1993. I felt immediately like I was with family at The V, as we called it. Nore was the chef and Ski ran “the front of the house” and so managed all the waitstaff. The intensity of being a part of their dream of restaurant-ownership serving exquisite food, combined with the stress of any restaurant job, led the whole crew to become very close. We also all got to know Rachel, Ski’s daughter, who would come by the restaurant a lot and entertain us all. When I went off the law school, they threw me a huge going away party and I stayed in touch with nearly everyone from The V since then, despite being hundreds of miles away for the next twelve years.
While in DC, in addition to graduating from law school and becoming a lawyer, I started and managed a nonprofit, Women Empowered Against Violence, Inc. (WEAVE) and served on a couple of nonprofit boards. During my ten-year tenure at WEAVE, it grew from an organization employing two people with an annual budget of $130,000 to one that employed twenty-four staff with an annual budget of $2.5 million, so I had learned a lot about management and administration of nonprofits. When I moved home to Massachusetts in July 2005, I started a nonprofit consulting practice with my best friend, Jodi DeLibertis (yes, she worked at The V too), called Greater Good Consulting (GGC). In the Summer of 2006, Rachel did an internship with GGC between her junior and senior years of college, and it was then that I learned how sick Ski was.
The last time I saw Ski, she was so weak and tired from her treatments that she could not talk much. But she still had that radiant smile and ability to make everyone around her feel special and connected to her and one another. When Ski passed away, Nore asked me for feedback on some of her ideas of how to memorialize Ski. Since I am a lawyer and have extensive nonprofit experience, I had lots of feedback. When Rachel and Nore explained the idea of Amy’s Treat to me, I was intrigued – what an effective and inexpensive way to provide a true service to others suffering from cancer, all while connecting members of the community from business owners, to cancer center, to patients, and beyond. When they asked me to be on the board, I immediately accepted. It has been an incredible honor to serve on the board of Amy’s Treat, not only to remember Ski, but to pass on her gifts, her “treats” to so many others!
—Lydia Watts, Amy’s Treat Board Member