At the Dietrich by Hildy Morgan
This will be a sad column even though I have so many positive things to tell you about. One of our members of the Dietrich Theater family (and we are a family albeit an odd one – more Modern Family than Father Knows Best) was dealt a terrible blow. Our own Jennifer Jenkins, whose work with live theater is incomparable, lost her beloved father this past weekend. I didn’t know him except to say hello as he came and went visiting Jennifer, consulting on sets he was building for her, binging or picking up Emma, or probably just stopping by to say “Hi” to the daughter he so obviously adored. He died suddenly and without warning and such a death brings its’ own special shock and pain. The mind reels and can’t accept that the person we loved, who was with us just hours before, will never be with us again. I know he built most of the sets for Jennifer’s plays, but the thing I loved the most, that I thought was too cool for school, was the moveable truck he built for The Grapes of Wrath, Jennifer’s first production for us. It was so fine, so whimsical, so clever, that just looking at it made you smile.
My sweet nephew, Mike, who works at Bartron’s told his mom yesterday that they felt the loss at Bartron’s deeply. “Jerry came by most days,” Mike said. “And he and Rob Robinson were planting the field that Harold Groh usually planted with potatoes. Now both Harold and Jerry are gone.” Mike shook his head, even at his young age beginning to understand the coldness and finality of death. “He was a nice guy,” Mike said of Jerry. “He’ll be missed. Yeah. He was a really nice guy.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jennifer, Emma (who, after all, has lost her precious grandpa) and all the rest of Jerry’s family. We are very, very sorry for their loss.
There is no good segue here, so I will just go on to say thank you so much to Ed McMullen for his lecture on Sunday about D-Day. It was so full of detail, so interesting and so heart-wrenching that it moved much of the audience (and we had over 150 folks in attendance) to tears. And thank you to Tunkhannock’s American Legion and the Honor Guard led by Francis Turner, who was actually there, on the beaches, on D+3. How lucky we were to have him. And when a Vietnam Vet played Taps, so pure and clear, and as those notes lingered throughout the theater, it was very hard to hold back tears. It was hard not to think about all the wars that have buried so many, many young men. It is true that WW2 was probably one of the few wars in history that needed fighting, but the bodies pile up as politicians declare war here and there and everywhere. In closing, Ed read a poem by A.E. Houseman, one of the great WW1 poets. I will print it here for you because it is so beautiful and so sad (and we really need to stop sending our children off to war – if we really support the troops we need to be very, very thoughtful about where we send them and for what reasons!)
Here Dead We Lie, by A.E. Houseman
Here dead we lie/Because we did not choose/To live and shame the land/From which we sprung. Life, to be sure/Is nothing much to lose,/But young men think it is,/ And we were young.
We hope Ed will come back soon with another piece of history to share with us. He is so gifted!
Well, this is certainly turning into a sad column, isn’t it? And the dreariness of the weather isn’t helping at all!
Okay. Don’t forget to bring your chairs and your blankies and your very own selves to Lazybrook Park on Saturday, June 21 at 7:00 p.m. to see the Gamut Theater’s production of MacBeth. Oooooh. Shivers. Now you want to talk about dysfunctional families???? Here’s a prime example. A cautionary tale indeed. Come join us for a wonderful night under the summer sky.
And one more thing – 22 Jump Street is raunchy and hilarious. If life has you down, come see it. And bring the kids to How To Train Your Dragon 2 and there’s still the magnificent Maleficent and of course the gorgeous The Fault in Our Stars and I have to tell you, those two young people can act! I loved it! Terrific films!
See you at the Dietrich.