BERLIN — One morning while out walking her dog, Beckley Farms resident Linda Colomonico noticed something out of the ordinary - a small rock with a frog painted on its face in one of the neighborhood’s green spaces.
Before long, rocks began popping up in public spaces across Beckley Farms and in people’s front lawns.
“All these rocks are painted with pictures of frogs, lizards, butterflies, hedgehogs, etc.” said Colomonico. “I received a rock with a black puppy on it since I have a large poodle ordering me around these days.”
Neighbors started talking and soon the resident craftswoman was discovered.
“I was bored one day and I was looking for a hobby one day. I had some big rocks in my back rock and I said ‘Oh, well I’ll paint a rock’,” said Patricia Manoni, a retired school nurse who now resides in the 55 and older community. “I put a couple around to the neighbor to my left and the neighbor to my right. From there it just morphed.”
Residents began contacting Manoni to request rocks of their own and rocks for their neighbors. It ended up becoming such a popular project that Manoni enlisted the help of a friend, Rick LaRosa, to help.
Today, over 100 painted rocks sit across Beckley Farms, at least one rock for each of the 87 homes and more strewn across various public areas.
“I have met more people in the last month than I have even met before in the past few years,” said Manoni. “They come up to me and say ‘Are you the Rock Lady?’ and I say ‘Yes, I am the Rock Lady!’.”
Colomonico and Brian Armet, vice president of the condo association, have noticed more foot traffic around the neighborhood since the rocks began popping up.
“We have more people walking now than ever before, it’s incredible,” said Armet. “I’ve been here almost five years now and there are people who have lived here longer than I have that I never saw until the last few weeks.”
With people confined to their houses for the past few months, Armet says that Manoni’s project hasn’t only been fulfilling work for her but it has given the entire neighborhood a much needed morale boost.