Jayne Gallo is a resident of Marathon, Texas, and part owner of The Main Street Shop. Gallo and her partners, Danielle Gallo and Ric Pavese, opened their little indoor/outdoor shop of handcrafted wares in the spring of 2019. They all make different things and also have items on consignment from local Marathon residents. Jayne makes decorative items like baskets and wreaths, as well as notecards. Her daughter makes things out of plarn (plastic yarn), jewelry and art from old books. Pavese is a weaver and makes belts, keychains, dog collars and wall hangings. Their consignment items include photographic items by Janet Groth – prints on metal, magnets, calendars and puzzles – mostly of the Dimple Hills Ranch. Handcrafted flutes, sotol walking sticks, cholla crosses (finally, a good use for cholla!), and hand painted-vintage purses fill the shelves, among other things. For a tiny shop, they have a lot of items.
Retired from North Carolina State University, Gallo moved to marathon in 2015 but has been visiting since 2005. She started coming to West Texas to visit her daughter and later, her granddaughters. She now lives next door to her daughter in what started out as a small house for visiting and later became a larger home for living. “It’s an absolute joy to be a hundred feet from those girls knocking on the door saying, ‘ Nana, Nana!’”
Gallo grew up far from Texas in an apartment in Manhattan with five siblings. One of her earliest memories is having chicken pox and the mumps at the same time. Her mother set up the fire escape so that Gallo could be outside in the fresh air – it was summer – and still be able to see and talk to her friends while she was in ‘ quarantine.’
Her parents were hard workers, Gallo said. Her father was quiet and her mother was very intentional about letting her children know that nobody was better than anybody else and they could all be or do whatever they wanted. “Growing up in New York in the 50s and 60s was the best place in the world to grow up,” Gallo said. “Everyone knew everyone in the neighborhood and you could safely take the subway to a museum or go ice skating in Central Park.”
An historical event that Gallo says influenced her and made a big impact was John F. Kennedy’s assassination. She was a junior in high school, and they were in the gym having choral practice when the principal ran into the gym in full habit. This was a nun who would never run, and was always the standard of decorum. Shocking enough that she would run was the news she delivered: the president had been shot and it was unknown if he would live or die. Gallo remembers walking to the subway that day and how everyone in the city just stood, stunned, in front of the storefronts with televisions watching news reports.
Besides her granddaughters, Gallo’s favorite thing about life in the Big Bend is the peaceful, unhurried (“for the most part”) lifestyle. Her shop is next to the post office and since everyone comes to the post office for their mail, she gets to talk to everyone, “and I like talking,” she said. Her least favorite things are the lack of medical care and no HEB.
One of Gallo’s favorite movies is To Kill a Mockingbird, and her favorite book, one that she’s read multiple times, is Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s Life is Worth Living. Sheen was very popular with his radio and TV show in the 50s, not just with Catholics, but people in all walks of life who tuned in weekly to hear him talk. “The book talks about what is life and why we’re here,” Gallo said. “To me, there are so many similarities between this book and To Kill a Mockingbird. They’re both about how to live.”
One of her main life philosophies is “Be who you’re intended to be. Or rather who God intends you to be.” Pay attention and see where you’re being led. What are people and circumstances telling us? She didn’t start thinking of this until she was in her 40s but now she says, “It happens. If we pay attention.”
Gallo seems to be very happy in the niche she’s carved out for herself in the tiny town in the desert. She recently bought a package of 240 gel pens to make crafts at her shop. “I get to sit here and color, “she said. “What’s better than that?”