Baristanet Profile: Deborah Villarreal-Hadley

Name: Deborah Villarreal-Hadley (Debbie)

Where do you live? On Midland – just a couple of doors from the plaque marking the geographic center of Montclair. It’s my family’s first house, having lived in a coop apartment in Park Slope (where else) before moving here. We had no idea how convenient a location it is.

When did you move there? September of 2000. At the time we had 3 kids (now 4). I remember the first day of school after having been in town for about 6 days – navigating to the kids’ 3 different schools – the Community Pre-K, Nishuane and Hillside with a paper map of the town.

Where did you grow up? San Antonio, Texas. Like all Texans, I usually let people know where I’m from within the first 10 minutes of meeting them. But in this case you asked me. 😉

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion? I own a video production company, Screen D’Or Pictures, with my husband – someday I’ll write a book about how we’ve made that work. We work for corporations and not-for-profits – I love telling their stories.

My 2nd job is as President of the Council of Montclair PTAs (website under construction). A year after moving to town my company was temporarily idled after 9-11, at which point I jumped into volunteering for the PTA with both feet and I’ve been at it ever since. I’ve made life-long connections with people I have met in our schools’ PTAs — hardworking volunteers with tremendous heart. They’ve become my social circle, and I couldn’t be happier.

Coffee, tea or … ? Black coffee with my OXO Barista Brain that replicates the ‘pour over’ method, or a dirty chai when I’m ‘drinking out’.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day?

Working in the garden all day without interruptions (rare) and then playing a board game with the family. I’m competitive about most everything I do, but not in the garden. I’ve learned to garden by experimenting and through observation. I’ve also learned to tolerate failure and about patience and resilience. About the board game — on a perfect day I’d win.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? My husband is all about the food while I am all about the ambience and with 4 kids we don’t eat out very often. Raymond’s and Noches De Columbia are 2 places we mostly all agree upon.

What’s on your nightstand? It’s crowded — my language arts education was lacking so I’m revisiting some of the greats more seriously this time –included Selected Stories of O. Henry and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. Also Marie Kondo’s “Manga of Tidying Up,” but I can’t seem to find it.

What are you listening to? NPR, NPR, NPR and Sirius Radio The Bridge.

What are your current indulgences? I have always loved exercising to music (stress reliever), and I’m not disciplined enough to work out on my own. So every week I take classes at the Montclair Bar Method, Cycle Bar, Sharon Miller’s Academy (with Sharon, just saying) and am actively seeking to replace Zumba classes I used to take with Ariella and Niria.

What talent you would most like to have? People who know me may be surprised to know that I am actually a shy person. I grew up as one of nine children and was never able to handle individual attention – it made me cry. For better or worse I was also the odd-ball and the black sheep, so it happened a lot. I would love to be one of those people who feels at ease ‘on stage.’

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? I moved into my house thinking I would raise my kids, grow old and die in the same place. That was my/my family’s experience growing up. But there is a transience about Montclair that I’ve only become resigned to after 20 years.

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? That the line was too long to get in.

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  1. Ms. Deborah, don’t go thinking I’m trying to rush anything. But I was thinking of taking a number early. Maybe two. Henry and I will want to be in that line to say we were grateful.

    The life of a family in a single house is so much more than attachment to boards and nails, neighbors and familiar streets. It is an attachment to home. The settling of love.

    Live that dream.

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