>Memory Lane In A Real Rolodex

>We had no rehearsal today, not tonight either. It is Sunday and Labor Day Weekend, and I was ready to work. Our local Mail Boxes ETC volunteered to post any cards, by real snail mail. An incredible luxury for a production with so little money. We send a giant thanks to owner Joe and workers Avery and Wendy for taking such good care of our copying, and mailing needs. They are more than a village in themselves.

So I got up early and poured down black coffee and took out my 10,000 card Rolodex and began to flip through. What a memory jog this is, because everyone has business cards, or hand written information and I haven’t looked through here in quite a while. I am email woman now, but so nice to send a real piece of mail that will arrive after Labor Day to inform folks that yes, the fall is upon us and the theater season has come with September.

I sat with a good felt tip pen and a hot cuppa and began at A. Perhaps a tad safe for a dyslexic to start at the top, but it works. I looked, flipped, wrote, pondered. And kept plowing through until a friend called at 3ish to say the pottery studio was open, but only to take pieces home. (Do you recall my insanity in attempting to craft all the opening night gifts for the cast? Well I am almost there.) So this was my break from writing out post cards, I rode to the studio, wrapped the pieces and came home to write more.

Some names made me remember things I should do, like Cyrus Vance, the younger, whose name I have been seeing float around or a bit as the heir apparent to the D.A. I know him from back in the day as his sister Amy and I worked together at the Department of Cultural Affairs, I want to invite him. In the K’s I happened upon John Kennedy Jr.’s card for George magazine and a private number, scribbled for his North Moore Street loft. This unleashed a spate of memorial cards: Max Roach, Dana and Chris Reeve and Wendy Wasserstein. I found Gabe Pressman’s home address, he was an old friend of my father’s, and sent him a card. I have the downtown Manhattan address for luminous writer Jamaica Kinkaid before she moved to Vermont, and a current address for her brother-in-law, writer, actor Wally Shawn.

I saw lots of moms from back at PS 234 and plenty of ex-boyfriends with whom I didn’t want to contact. I saw folks I knew hated me and others I felt adored me but somehow still we lost touch. Staying in touch is tough when you work like I did, many consulting jobs, little theater gigs, stock broking jobs or waiting tables. So many people flitter by and wave in and out of our lives.

I want to reach out to lots of people both because we need to fill seats, but also this is the very first time I am the protagonist in a piece I want to promote. Yes composer Doug wrote the music, but it was my idea and then I began putting the pieces together. Yes, now it is no longer mine at all, as my love of collaboration has taken over. Everyone chimes in with ideas and thoughts. The work seems to be growing, like a well-watched baby, some traits from the parents and some picked up on the street or school maybe some just sewn into the DNA of this particular opera.

Reading though all these names I kept seeing faces and hearing voices. I recalled a colleague who constantly held the insole of my foot during meetings when we worked with Cultural Affairs Commissioner, Henry Geldzahler. And although he was gay and I was a serial dater, we both made a pact that if we were alone by, (now what age was it?) that we would grow old together. Neither of us had to worry, but when I read his name I felt his hand on my arch, and the very surreptitious way he wound his fingers into my sandal as we discussed the arts budget for this great City. I sent him a card.

I have a pile of over 500 cards, most are both addressed and have a note on them. But about 100 are merely addressed, as I needed to get mobile for my day tomorrow. I thought I could sit in the back seat on the drive to take Henry back to Skidmore, scribbling while my tall men take the wheel and shotgun seats. Then by the time I am back to the city on Tuesday I will have done my post card labor, all on the day set aside to celebrate work.

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