On a Personal Note–Life goes on. . .

On a Personal Note–Life goes on. . .

By Edith McCauley

By Edith McCauley

Theater Critic

(Monday, Sept. 17)—Sunday is often my day to write, but yesterday was spent in my garden pulling weeds, picking tomatoes and peppers and watering the plants on the deck. The tragedy of the past week has touched everyone, and we all have a story to tell.

Brother Tom arrived Tuesday after being diverted to the Greater Rockford Airport. From the moment I heard his voice, I knew he would survive. The day was spent on the phone. In crisis, the importance of family is paramount. The reassurance of hearing the voices of loved ones cannot be measured. As we sat listening and watching, Tom said, “I never dreamed that when I left Washington this morning, I would be sitting in your big red chair at noon, eating a tomato sandwich from your garden.”

We drove to O’Hare Wednesday morning and met two of Tom’s colleagues, who had achieved the miracle of obtaining a rental car. They arrived home early Thursday morning. My brother is a devout Quaker, and my niece, Amelia, attends Sidwell School. They attended the morning prayer service, and then Tom returned to work at the Red Cross. When we spoke last evening, he had driven to Philadelphia to meet with his Quaker Friends on Saturday, and on Sunday attended services in Easton, Maryland, at his home meeting in the oldest Quaker meeting house in the country. Driving back with his wife, they crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Tom said, “It was a perfectly clear day, and I have never seen so many sailboats on the bay. Everyone seemed to need to re-establish their connection with the world.”

I had tickets to see The Full Monty in Chicago on Friday, and after calling to confirm, drove to the city. It was a day of prayer and remembrance, and as we neared O’Hare, jet trails were visible. The Shubert Theatre was packed. Opening had been postponed, but the show goes on. Our need to gather and share an experience continues.

This is not a theater review or critique but a comment on the ability of our people to carry on in spite of such dire circumstances. The young cast of The Full Monty performed with all the enthusiasm and professionalism acquired in a few short years. The audience responded, and at the end of the evening, gave them a standing ovation. We were in the third row, and the joy of giving the crowd a moment of laughter was palpable.

Leonard Slotkin, the conductor of the Washington Symphony, spoke to his audience before the concert on Saturday. His emphasis on the importance of art, music, theater and every aspect of our cultural life reinforces my own belief that we cannot lose those things that give so much meaning to our existence. We will continue to come together, to reach out, and to sustain one another. Life goes on…

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