Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Very Sad Day

I just got home from a funeral, and sitting there listening to numerous people talk about Shelley made me think. I wish I had taken the time to get to know her better. She was this amazing woman, a speech therapist in our school. We'd stop and say hello and talk a little every now and then, but I knew her more because she was the mom of one of my son's friends than anything else. About two years ago, Shelley resigned, and it wasn't until after she left that I found out she resigned under pressure- and probably unjust pressure. I saw her one day after that, and she told me she had thought about coming to me (I've been the union rep. since our school opened), but she really felt that everything would work out, and when it didn't, it was too late. I wish I had paid better attention to what was happening because I may have been able to help her. I'll never know now. She loved her job- she loved kids, and losing those sent her into a depression from which she never completely recovered. Last week she jumped off the top of a high parking garage, leaving behind a teenage daughter, a husband, a father and numerous other relatives and friends who love her. Today, as I sat in the church, I heard about how she graduated from college in two years and got her Master's in only one- both degrees with honors. I heard about how she loved to read, to attend live theatre, to travel. I heard about how much she did for others, giving of her time and herself quietly, without expectation. And I thought about how we could have been the best of friends-- not just colleagues. It made me realize how many opportunities are missed because we're always in such a hurry. We slam through our days, rarely taking a precious minute to speak to those who work with us, go to class with us, live with us. I am saddened that for every minute we're wrapped up in ourselves and in our own small worlds, we could've reached out and done something for someone else, and in the process, expanded our world and that other person's too. Shelley is gone, but the lesson she leaves behind will help me to be a much better person, and I am grateful to her for that.

I wish I had gotten to know you better, Shelley. You continue to teach us from your new world. I wish you peace.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Home from NYC

NYC was a whirlwind- never enough time to do all the things I want to do, but, at the same time, I'm always glad to go back home. There for a Theatre Conference, Linda and I stayed at an apartment owned by her cousins on the West End. It was a lovely place to stay- close to the Hudson and to Broadway! Heard two known playwrights speak: Israel Horowitz and Donald Margolies who were both fascinating. Unfortunately, there wasn't time to go to a Broadway production- we did see some local theatre which was very good- some newly written pieces. There is certainly a lot of talent among the playwrights who attended the conference. Had the pleasure of dinner with Diana Spechler who happens to be Linda's granddaughter and just published her first book, Who by Fire. I read it on the plane and was very impressed. Diana was giving a book talk while we were there, so we got to attend that as well. She's already started writing her second book and just turned 30 this week.

Got home and hit the ground running. Rachel is ready to have our newest baby any day now. Alana is in town to help out. Aden and Abram are both doing great- with Abram sleeping in his "big boy bed" with no problems.

I started working on my next play for Hanukkah. Had a brainstorm about a matchmaker while on the trip, so hopefully, I can get it done. Am also editing another play for our Selichot production which is turning out to be more work than I thought it would be.

Wishing I could be at the shore with the rest of the Rice gang, but will have to miss this one. Hoping we'll do it again in the not too distant future. Alan leaves for Mexico Monday for two weeks, so it will be Eli, the dogs, cats, etc. and I to hold down the fort. Eli is in two bowling leagues this summer- one a high school scholarship league and the other his regular local league, but they keep both of us busy.

Last, our theatre group has been asked to perform Darfur Calls once again- this time at Travis Park Methodist Church as part of a project to raise money for the displaced persons of Darfur. That will occur on July 19, so I have much to do to get ready. Most of our original cast will return, but a few cannot, so we have to find replacements, set up a rehearsal schedule, make playbills, and all that goes with mounting a production. It's exciting though- to see old friends and to continue the project that is very near and dear to my heart.