In the mid '70s, a woman named Alison put out a call for folks to help her put together a book celebrating the 25 year anniversary of The Lamplighters. Two of us answered her call and a year later "The Lamplighters: 25 years of Gilbert and Sullivan in San Francisco" was released.
In 1987, following Gilbert's 1986 death, I got a bee in my bonnet that I wanted there to be a 10 year update to the original history so that there would somewhere be a record of Gilbert's accomplishments in the last ten years of his life.
By the time we started that project, it was just Alison and me and "The Lamplighters Story, 1977-1987" was my proudest piece of work. Gilbert is in the Library of Congress.
As we started working on Book 3, a book which was to cover from 1987 up to the 60th anniversary (a project that because of family conflicts and other reasons [we discovered we didn't have the stamina we had in 1976, for one!] had to be scrapped), Alison was also cleaning out her house, like I'm doing now, and at one of our infrequent meetings, she handed me a big bag. In it was all of our correspondence during the writing of Book 2 Well, it was all of MY correspondence, since she obviously didn't have copies of the letters she wrote to me.
I understood her passing it along to me. It was one of those things that you really don't want any more, but it's special enough that you don't just want to throw it away. And so it has been sitting in my office, unopened, ever since she gave it to me. I have now emptied enough boxes and uncovered enough buried stuff in the living room that I came across it today.
What to do? what to do? I started looking at some of my old letters. My god was I verbose! In all honesty, I do like my writing style, but it goes on endlessly. Even I was bored.
And so, after I read through about five letters (each at least four typed pages long), I took the entire contents of the bag and threw it into the paper recycling container. I am sure there are archivists out there who would cringe at such a thing, but I can't, in all honesty, think of anybody who would want to wade through this vast (and I do mean vast) collection of my ramblings.
I have to admit that it felt good to toss it all away. To everything there is a season ... a time to bare your soul, and a time to throw it all away and move forward. The Lamplighters History portion of my life is now a closed chapter. I will never write with such fervor again and that's probably not such a bad thing.
Walt and I had planned to go to a Gilbert & Sullivan outdoor concert in Golden Gate Park with some Lamplighter friends today (if nothing else, it would be a chance to escape the heat!) but yesterday had been a very bad day for my mother. One of those days where I sit in tears and watch her agonize over trying to figure out what she should be doing and what is wrong with her head, knowing there is nothing I can do to help her--and knowing that by the time I could get her to a doctor, she'd be just fine and I'd look like an hysterical daughter again.
I stayed at Atria for about 2-1/2 hours and got her calmed down to where I felt comfortable leaving her. I also stopped by the front desk and asked them to check on her around dinner time to ,make sure that she was still doing all right.
I came home and was just hit with lots of shit. The frustration of my mother, the fear and frustration of a Trump presidency, the daily shooting/killing reports world-wide, and then in cleaning coming across some particularly memorable pictures of Paul at Ned and Marta's wedding. I just had myself a little cry.
I also knew there was no way I could leave Davis today. I suggested that Walt go without me, but that always presents a problem because we have only one car and I needed it to go to Atria. We finally decided that he would take the train to SF and I drove him to the station around 9 a.m. That train is always such a fun ride anyway and he loves it. I was almost jealous of him.
I waited until after noon before I went to Atria and, as I suspected I would find, she was perfectly normal....or what passes for normal with her these days. None of the anxiety of yesterday. She knew who I was. We had our usual scripted conversation and we laughed and enjoyed each other's company. I could have gone to SF anyway, but I would have worried all day. (And having the car allowed me to get errands run in Davis that I would not otherwise have been able to do).
I also had to do a last minute interview for a woman named Katie Rubin (who happens to be one of Marta's good friends), an actress/comedienne who is in the middle of preparing for FOUR shows in the next two weeks. Katie's interview would take the place of the one I had planned to do, which was now bumped to next weekend.
Katie is such a delight. I first met her when she was getting her MFA in theater at UC Davis. She was part of the cast of The Laramie Project and the actor the director suggested I interview. I found her intelligent, articulate, and funny. And when I saw her in the show I realized what a good actress she was.
She popped up a few years later doing a one woman show called "Insides OUT." I had the task of reviewing it and wrote this, in part...
Insides OUT! is a no-holds barred, emotional, funny, gut-wrenching look at the 29 year old Rubin’s journey through alcoholism, drug addiction, sex addiction, food addiction, and self-loathing throughout her high school and college years and ultimately, to the path of recovery. While this sounds like a heavy evening – and, in spots it is – Rubin makes the one hour piece a mesmerizing experience. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cheer. Not bad for an hour’s work.
Since then she has begun to make a name for herself around the country and has played the show she will perform next week, "My Spiritual Death....a comedy" very successfully at three different venues in the Los Angeles area.
But it was good to chat with her again and having the afternoon free, I was able to get the article wrtten, photos collected and all mailed off to the newspaper in time to meet the deadline...and even be a little ahead of the game.
Walt got home around 7 and said that the concert had been fun, that there hadn't been that many of the old Lamplighter group there, and that he even got cold sitting outside listening to the music.
I did not get cold here.