Name: Marcia Almeida
Where do you live? Montclair, near Applegate Farm
When did you move there? 1972
Where did you grow up? Dominican Republic
How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion?
I am 70+ and semi-retired, but my “professional passion” is being a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant. I love to co-create and offer personal, meaningful, and engaging weddings and other ceremonies for people.
For the last 50 years, my passion has been the Montclair community. I was raised to believe that you must get involved in the community you live in, and that meaningful changes come from people caring about each other and getting involved. When my kids were little, I had leadership roles in the school and district PTAs, and focused on programs that improved education and opportunity for all of the town’s younger citizens. I was one of the small group of parents that started Project Graduation—now an annual tradition and rite of passage for Montclair High grads.
As my kids graduated and got older, I became more involved in improving the town’s public spaces. I have been a member of the Montclair’s Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs Advisory Board for over 25 years, and volunteer in various town projects and committees. Recently, I helped some committed young skateboarders realize their dream of creating a dedicated Skate Park in town. I am an active board member of May In Montclair and the Northeast Earth Coalition.
Coffee, tea, or … ? Coffee, tea, and Albariño. Not necessarily in that order.
What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? Some music, reading, and being with my family.
What’s your favorite local restaurant? I love Mediterranean food, so … Toros on Valley Road comes to mind!
What’s on your nightstand? I recently finished a book I absolutely love called Mango and Peppercorns: A Memoir of Food, an Unlikely Family, and the American Dream, which was co-written by Montclair’s own Elisa Ung. It was engrossing and heartwarming — I highly recommend it! I am currently reading Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro.
What are you listening to? “Caballo Viejo” by Army Field Band. I love almost any kind of music; it doesn’t matter what language it is in . I cried every time I listened to “Return to Sorrento” or “Danny Boy” even before I knew what the words meant. Spanish and Romantic are particular favorite genres.
What are your current indulgences? Spending time in my backyard and being able to see nature with a heart full of love and imagining what else might be out there.
What talent you would most like to have? I’ve love to be a better storyteller or a singer. Sadly, I’ve never been able to carry a tune or remember lyrics.
What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? The Alonzo F. Bonsal Wildlife Preserve — 30 acres of absolute peace!
What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? Here lies someone who really cared about people, respected others, and above all, someone who made me feel important and loved.