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22 April 2013
I have a special fondness for nerds especially since I became such a fan of The Big Bang Theory (which Walt swears is on 24 hrs a day, but really only an hour a day and an hour and a half on the day when new episodes air).
These guys made nerdy cool -- Sheldon Cooper, Leonard Hofstadter, Howard Wolowitz and Rajesh Koothrappali --just the names are nerdy -- and their girlfriends are science nerds, theoretical and experimental physicists, aerospace engineer, microbiologist and neuroscientist.
But I realized that not all nerds are scientists. I met an absolutely wonderful gang of nerds on Saturday. Gilbert & Sullivan nerds. And, trust me, hard core G&S fans are definitely nerds! I've known at lot of G&S nerds over the past 50 years (heck, I am a proud G&S nerd!), but today I met a whole new group of them.
I heard from Jim, the guy who is the current president of the Lamplighters Board of Directors. He asked if Alison and I could possibly come to a meeting of a fairly new group they had started, the Leadership Committee, a group of long-term Lamplighters subscribers and donors, meeting periodically with the intent of sharing ideas to help shape development programs to attract other donors. Big money people. Alison and I are not big money people!
Jim wanted us there to talk about the first two Lamplighters histories (which most people don't even know exist, since the last book was published in 1987 and there are no copies of either book to sell anymore). He also wanted us to talk about Book 3, which is going ahead...s-l-o-w-l-y...to talk about the process and, as it turned out, to talk about what would make it all easier.
The group we met included 9 people, Jim and us. Sometimes there are more apparently. For our greater edification, Jim had each of the people there talk about how they came to know the Lamplighters, how long they had been around and anything else pertinent to why they were there on this committee. I was kind of proud that I had been coming the longest. Walt and I will be married 48 years in June and we were dating when we first started ushering for The Lamplighters.
We were also a lot of old farts, so roughly in the same age range.
One guy came to San Francisco many years ago and decided he wanted to attend the SF Symphony. If I heard him right, he wasn't impressed with the symphony, but somehow found Lamplighters and has been a regular ever since. Another guy was a subscriber for a long time, then stopped after his wife decided she'd seen each of the operettas and she was done. But he came back several years ago and hasn't left since.
A woman grew up in G&S and has performed with the company (we actually interviewed her and her mother for Book III). Another woman has been around "forever" (but not as long as I have) and has apparently helped with many projects for the company.
But the guy who really got to me was a man who, with Jim's prompting, told us that he is the great-great nephew of Arthur Sullivan, and his great-great grandfather was Fred Sullivan, who performed in the first productions of the G&S operettas, directed by Gilbert himself. That was special enough (and got him an invitation to write a foreword to our book, especially when he said over and over again how much he loved both books!), but he and his wife explained how they got their kids interested in G&S by preparing them ahead of time, reading the stories, listening to the music, and, best of all, the wife created a board game that they play for each operetta, asking questions, the kids get points and at the end of the game get prizes. She says their grown children still enjoy playing the game and can be seen studying ahead of time if they know that they are going to play the game later.
The new resources director wants to make a video with them, showing how they made their game board and how the game actually works. I keep thinking what a fabulous idea this is to introduce especially younger children to any kind of theater (in case Laurel is reading!)
P.S. We met today to go over my mother's finances...all of the finances, including her checkbook, which Ed was organizing. Our concensus was that she could move to a 1 bedroom at Springfield and be comfortable for about 5 years (maybe 4, in case extended medical care needs to be factored in). That would be great, but it's a crapshoot. How long will she live? If she lives past 100, which, since she has no life-threatening conditions other than old age and has healthy habits and is in relatively good shape, is not unthinkable, she will run out of money around year 5 unless something changes between now and then.
BUT, if we give up the 1 bedroom and put her on a waiting list for a medium size studio (there are none currently available), she will probably be OK. She at first said there was no problem moving to a studio, then said she didn't want to give up her bedroom, then said a studio would be OK again. I think it's fair to say that this decision won't be hers because what she wants changes from hour to hour.
Putting her on a waiting list also gives us time to just do a little checking around other places, even Davis, though the look on her face at the thought of living where I could almost walk over to visit her frequently rather than having to spend 3 hours in the car just for lunch tells me she would never consider it. She has decided she really likes Springfield and I really like Springfield and Springfield is definitely the first choice, but if they have no units available right now, this would give us the chance to just do some window-shopping.
Also I am reading an excellent book, "A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our
Aging Parents--and Ourselves" by Jan Gross, which my mother, actually
suggested we read about 2 years ago ("when the time is right"). I'd bought
it right then, but had forgotten I have it. It is like reading my own story and
additionally it has some wonderful insights into resources I had not even thought of, so a
waiting list would give me some time to think about how to investigate those avenues as
well (like getting a gerontology specialist to help client and family make the right
decision). So for now I'm waiting for a call from Scott (which I've been waiting on
for two days...but it is the weekend after all, I realize) and see what he has to
say and what giving up the apartment and going on a waiting list really means.
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