Creations: Pat Guldan, who has spent decades producing adornments for homes “from Pennsylvania to Virginia,” is ready to retire
(The Baltimore Sun, 6/17/2003)
Surrounded by her beloved reflecting lawn balls and statues of gnomes, Madonnas and pink flamingos, Guldan sadly relates that she is selling her business — one of the largest lawn ornament outlets in the mid-Atlantic — and heading for the garden of retirement.
“My back’s OK but my shoulders are giving out from lugging around those 100-pound bags of plaster,” said Guldan, 65, nine times a grandmother and twice a great-grandmother.
When U.S. 40, or Pulaski Highway, was the main corridor between Baltimore and Philadelphia, Guldan and her husband, James, settled on that asphalt ribbon — he with a bar, she with a gift and curio shop that grew into her career.
Her husband sold his bar and has been retired for 12 years. She wants very much to join him.
“I started with $200, and we did pretty good along the years,” she said. “Concrete was becoming more popular with garden and lawn ornaments because they last so much longer. I started making my own molds, pouring my own concrete and delivering stuff from Pennsylvania to Virginia.”
She envisions herself as part artist, part laborer. Her customers have ranged from the chi-chi in the northern valleys to the elderly woman who bought a set of kissing pigs on lay-away.
“That’s been the thing,” Guldan said in her home next to the business office. “I have been blown away by the people I’ve met and what they’ve been interested in buying. I’ve made no judgments, but still … .”
It was quite interesting to place the concrete statue of Neptune atop a 12-foot column along the winding garden path of an upscale call girl in Washington, she recalls.
It was an absolute hoot to install a little indoor fountain in the wedding chapel of the Towson courthouse.
And wasn’t it just grand to have as a customer one Dominic “Crowbar” Carozza, minus a right leg from a car-bombing that went awry, who wanted a nice fountain in his front yard? Before Guldan could deliver Carozza’s fountain, he was implicated in a murder and was sent away for life.
“I’m glad I didn’t have a problem with him,” Guldan said.
Items with a religious theme have been popular throughout her time on Pulaski Highway. Guldan points with pride at the three versions of Mary that she has in her inventory — Our Lady of Grace, Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Lourdes.