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Snapshot: Ann Cote Tolster

Published: December 29, 2017

The Newtown Bee

Occupation: I’ve been working at Newtown Color Center for 15½ years. It’s my brother’s store and when my other brother, who had been working here with him, moved to Florida, I came to help for a summer then I wound up staying. I do a little of everything; I make paint, put away paint and supplies, help people pick colors, and I also individually go out and do commercial or residential color consultations for people’s businesses and homes. Before that I was a kindergarten teacher.

Family: I live with my husband, Jim, who is originally from Sandy Hook. He’s a painter. I have three grown children: John is 30 and lives in Peekskill, N.Y.; Katy is 28 and lives in Savannah, Ga.; and David is 26 and lives in Shelton.

Pets: We have a 4½-year-old hound mix named Mugsy. She was rescued from a Woodbury vet who had taken in a mother and the puppies from a high-kill shelter. Our cat, MooMoo Kitty, is about 10 years old and was a rescue that my son David used to let in and out of his bedroom window.

How long have you worked in Newtown? I live in Bridgeport, but Newtown is my second home after working here for over 15 years.

What do you like to do in your free time? I like to read and do home shopping. I also chalk paint, which is a special kind of paint that you can put on anything without priming or sanding it. Then you kind of distress it, so it looks vintage.

Do you have a favorite book? Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, because it’s about a woman trying to find herself and going through all these different processes to finally be strong enough to be on her own.

What is your favorite travel destination? I love to go down to Savannah, where my daughter lives. Also, my husband and I love Misquamicut and the Rhode Island shore. We try to go at least once a year.

What is the best part about Newtown? Definitely the people. I met my husband here, I have tons of good friends here, I know all the customers, and I know a lot of the small business owners.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My children. They teach me something new every day and they call me out when I need to be called out on. They’re all good, kind people, who challenge me to be the best person I can be.

If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? My grandparents, who lived next door to me when I was growing up and were the definition of unconditional love, and my father, all who have passed away. Those are people that I think about every day and try to live my life by.

What is your favorite musical genre? I love all kinds of music from Diana Krall to the Allman Brothers to Etta James to Susan Tedeschi. I really like female singers, because that’s what I always wanted to be. I was in a few bands, and when I was 18 I had an agent come and audition me. He wanted me to go tour all the Marriotts in the country, but I was too afraid to leave my parents and had never been away from home. I love music, so now I sing for myself.

Do you have a favorite TV show? I like a lot of PBS documentaries and Fixer Upper.

What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? Sometimes you just have to do things you don’t want to do. Also, I lead my life by “God will take care of it” and “We are all just here to walk each other home.”

What is your proudest accomplishment? Having my children and being a mom.

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