January 16, 2017
Toller Alloway was born and raised in Tillson, New York, pretty close to the house that I grew up in. I never knew him or his family back then though. I met his mother a few years ago, and she told me about her son Toller, who didn't live in the area any more. I recently found out that he moved back to his parents' house in Tillson, and I knew he had worked in food professionally, so I approached him to ask if he'd like to be featured in my Life in Ulster County series.
I met him at the house today, and we enjoyed talking about mutual friends and acquaintances, and all things Tillson. He also told me about his love of cooking, and how he went to culinary school in Vermont, and that's where he'd been living for several years before coming back to Tillson. He showed me some of the jewelry he's been making and selling, and I just had to get a photo of his tattoos on his fingers.
At some point, the conversation took a more serious turn, and Toller told me about how he is a drug addict who is in recovery. At 28 years old, he is 164 days sober after spending 10 years using "anything he could get his hands on". His best friend died from drug use, and the tattoo on his neck is in honor of that friend. He realized in Vermont that he couldn't live like that any more, and asked his parents if he could come home, and they have welcomed him back and given him a supportive environment.
He is currently trying to get more customers for his jewelry, and looking at getting into private chef work, while also working for his mother's landscaping business. He definitely loves working with his hands.
Even though I don't know him well, I was happy to hear about what he is doing to get control of his life. I'm also very impressed by the courage that he has to let me share his story. I am looking forward to keeping in touch with him and seeing where his pursuits lead him.