Going through this storage tub has sure turned up some interesting things. I found a play I wrote for a college class assignment that I remember the instructor (Marya, for you Theater Kent people) panning it in class because it “couldn’t make up it’s mind if it was a tragedy or a comedy.” It’s called “Life is a Soap Opera.” Because in a lot of ways, it is. At least mine has been. I’m reading it over and for a nearly 30-year old script, I think it has some good moments. Hyper-crtical bitch. The play opens with some siblings arguing about whether or not to put their Mom in a retirement home. Here’s a little excerpt:
MIKE: Has anyone mentioned this to Mom?
JULIE: I did. I talked to her about it a couple of days ago. She wasn’t thrilled, but I think she knows it’s something that needs to be done. This seems like the right thing to me, and to Dave.
MIKE: Who decided what was ‘right?’
JULIE: Mike, if she stays here one more day, something awful could happen; she could fall, there could be a fire…she might not be able to get to a phone.
DAVE: You’ve never had to come over here not knowing what you’d find. She’s ashamed she has to call us to help her. Give her a little self-esteem by enabling her to live without us, huh?
MIKE: You don’t think she’s going to be ashamed when she’s eating creamed corn next to some shaking old crony with no teeth? No, you’re right, that would make her feel GOOD about herself.
DAVE: The Golden Rest is one of the most highly rated retirement homes in the state. The rooms are beautifully furnished and the lake air would do her good.
MIKE: Shut the fuck up, you sound like an ad.
I also found some of the letters my grandmother wrote me in the short time we were able to be in touch that way, after my Dad died, when I tried to keep in touch with her, since she and my Dad were so close and he was gone. Including the letter where she said her son, my uncle, threatened to stop bringing her groceries if she continued to talk to me, how he had called her up on the phone and yelled at her until she was trembling. “Oh my gosh, what’s this terrible thing are happening, and I don’t know why he argues with me…So please, don’t come down to see me for now, because who knows whats gonna be if they see you in my house.” Who threatens an old lady like this? Or their own niece, who is grieving the loss of her father? People are amazing to me.
I also found the program from the very first theater production I was ever in. It was 1981 and it was a musical called Mr. Scrooge. I had no idea I had programs from this show. I was going through the cast list and realized a kid was in the play with me who I later took to homecoming – he was a freshman and I was a senior. It was a big scandal back then, the age difference.