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Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
At the request of an audience member, actress Sissy Spacek sings a line from Loretta Lynn’s song “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” the film from which she won an Academy Award.

Spacek weaves a Tapestry

Extols influence of family, power of motherhood at event

Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
Jennie Gerken, left, and her mother Colleen Hinton, right, share family photos with Helen Grimes at Friday’s annual Tapestry fundraiser.

– Academy Award-winner Sissy Spacek began Friday’s Tapestry presentation by showing slides of her idyllic childhood, adding, “Nothing is more important than family.”

Spacek was keynote speaker at IPFW’s 12th annual fundraiser, Tapestry: A Day for You, at Memorial Coliseum.

Spacek grew up in a small town in Texas with two older brothers whom she adored. Her given name was Mary Elizabeth, but everyone called her Sissy, she said.

“All I ever wanted to be was a boy,” Spacek said.

A friend told Spacek that if she could kiss her elbow, she would turn into a boy. “I spent most of my childhood trying to kiss my elbow,” she said.

After Spacek married and discovered the power of motherhood and being a woman, she quit trying to kiss her elbow.

Spacek told of moving to New York City where she was mentored by her cousin Rip Torn and his wife, Geraldine Page, both well known on the stage and screen.

She credited family for keeping her grounded while building a successful career as an actress.

The fair, red-headed actress shot to fame in 1976 after the release of Brian DePalma’s film “Carrie,” an adaptation of a Stephen King novel.

She won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Loretta Lynn in “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

Most recently, aided by make-up artists, she added 20 years to her 61 years and played the feisty – and outrageously funny – Mrs. Walters in “The Help.”

One of her older brothers died of leukemia at age 19, and Spacek, now 63, said it was a defining time in her life.

“This very moment is all that we are guaranteed,” she said.

After her brother’s death, she “ditched college” and traveled back to New York to pursue an acting career.

She attributed her can-do attitude to her upbringing.

“My mother convinced me that the world was my oyster,” she said.

She once asked her father why he did not spank her when she was defiant and misbehaving, and he replied that he did not want to break her spirit, she said.

About 1,700 people attended the event, where they shopped at vendor booths and attended classes on ballroom dancing, cooking and financial planning.

Susan Meintel is a returning visitor of the Tapestry event, but this year persuaded a friend, Janelle Haffner, to attend for the first time.

Haffner, 45, said she hopes to return next year.

“The food, the vendors, the breakout sessions and the camaraderie – I loved it,” Haffner said.

The breakfast program featured the mother-daughter team of Marci and Courtney Crozier, veterans of the TV series “Biggest Loser.”

Together, the pair from Valparaiso lost more than 300 pounds and now travel the country as motivational speakers.

“We really want to help other people, but in order to do that, we all have to remember to keep ourselves – and our health – first,” said Marci Crozier, 51.

Crozier has worked 29 years at Franciscan Omni Health and Fitness and currently is director of sales and marketing.

“I’ve learned that if I set my mind to it, I can do anything,” 24-year-old Courtney Crozier said.

A student at Indiana University East, she will graduate this year with a bachelor’s degree in business and has already started her own business – a low-fat, no-sugar yogurt store.

Nearly $40,000 in scholarships was awarded to seven IPFW students: Tamara Amberg, Ashley Anglin, Laura Bieszke, Mary Bullis, Beth Hombach, Danisha Jenkins and Staci Rader.

Final figures are not yet available for Friday’s event. About $86,000 was raised last year.