IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2006
"A Girl, A Car, A Videocamera"
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5 January 2007
"What did you ask him?" I asked Walt as we left the Veterans Memorial Theatre, after seeing Deborah Brevoort's The Women of Lockerbie. This extremely emotional play is making its west coast premiere, performed by Acme, the local talented young people's theatre company. We had been ready to leave the theatre and Walt left me to go across the lobby to talk with the director, briefly, before joining me at the exit door.
"I told him he could at least have warned us," Walt laughed.
The play tells the story of a husband and wife going to Lockerbie, Scotland 7 years past the tragedy of Flight 103, on which their son lost his life when a terrorist bomb exploded. The couple had never been to Scotland before, having decided not to attend any of the previous memorial services. The wife has been grieving for 7 years for the loss of their 20 year old son and is roaming the hills around Lockerbie looking for some sign, some little piece of him that she can hold onto.
The women of the town are fighting the United States government, which, at the conclusion of its investigation into the incident, wants to burn all the remains of the tragedy so that everyone can "move on," The women of the town want to wash the clothing and try to return it to those who lost loved ones, in an effort to "fight terrorism with love."
Walt and I left the theatre and the director (who is also a good friend) ran after us, calling my name.
"Are you all right?" he asked, saying that it hadn't been until the play was underway, shortly after he and I had been chatting about Walt's retirement, that he realized the impact that it might have on us.
Indeed, it had its impact. The anguish of the distraught parents over the loss of their son, the "what if?" questions, even though the manner of death was vastly different, could not help but affect us.
We would leave the theatre, after the brilliant performance by the young actors, and walk past the photo of Paul, who was once a member of this group, which always hangs in the lobby for every Acme performance, next to the plaque which lists the actors who have won the yearly award named in Paul's memory. And we would walk past the trees planted in David's memory and in Paul's memory, which stand near the theatre, on the way to the car.
"I'm fine," I told the director, complimenting him again on the performance, then waving good by and turning to walk to the car. I was surprised to find myself fighting the tears that had begun to flow down my cheeks as the icy wind whipped around us.
We got into the car and I found it difficult not to cry. I missed the kids. I had so closely identified with the emotions of the mother in the play that I didn't know if I was crying for her pain, or for my own.
All I knew was that as the play ended and the mother was presented with a small suitcase which contained her son's clothes, I understood how she felt as she clutched his things to her breast, how she remembered the t-shirt which she told him not to take with him to England, how she found the new souvenir t-shirt he had bought and cried when she realized he had printed his name in it, just like she labeled all of his clothes when he was a child.
When you lose a child ... or two ... you cling to those little pieces. The smallest thing suddenly takes on incredible importance. This was once important to him. His smell is still on this. I remember how he smiled when he first saw this...
You are surrounded by all that is left of the life that you created, gave birth to, and raised. I could understand the woman's pain as she searched for something -- anything -- that she could hold onto and remember that "this was once part of my son."
Sometimes, as I look around this house at the piles of "things" and despair of ever finding some order in all the chaos, I realize that sometimes "things" can bring great comfort, when they are all that is left of the people who once collected them and either took great pride in them, or discarded them carelessly in the back of a drawer somewhere.
Sometimes, it's nice to have a "thing" to hang on to.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
All the puppies have discovered tugging on things.
This is entry #2472