|June was busy on the home front. We sold the house where I was born and my siblings and I were raised, where my mother lived for 61 years, before moving to a nursing home last August. It was a quick sale, which meant that my sister and I had only 2 1/2 weeks to move everything out.
We spent the weekends emptying rooms and closets, organizing the items going to my youngest son, who will soon be moving into his new home with his bride; furniture, paintings and collectibles to bring home to my mom’s new place of residence; keepsakes, photographs (extensively copied on our phones) to be shared by my sisters, brother and me, donations to a needy organization, things earmarked for haul-away services… while disposing of any and all trash.
The Thursday before our deadline, my brother flew in to give us a hand for four days. He helped us clean out the basement and garage and sort through countless childhood mementos and touching reminders of our dear deceased brother, who took care of my mother for many years. We sifted through papers, documents, personal correspondence and memorabilia, piecing together three generations of family history. It was a lot of work (and that last part of the project is not over!), but fun to experience together. We wished that our sister, who lives overseas, could have been with us to share in the discoveries, but we made sure to exchange often and she cheered us on from afar.
At the end of each long day, we unwound with dinners that took us to the Pearl of the Orient, to Lopez (Mexican fare)--followed by an evening of fun music and dancing, care of Chain Gang, to Crop Bistro on night three, and finally to our own back yard for grilled burgers on the eve of our brother’s return flight to North Carolina. We took lots of photos of the three of us in the empty house, before saying our final goodbyes to this venerable and well-loved family member. Stripped of our artifacts and nostalgia, the house showed its beautiful, bones but was no longer ours. All in all, a very sentimental journey.
But the month had its theatrical side, too. I saw a couple of plays, one of which was “Man of La Mancha”, the wonderful musical based on Cervantes’ “Don Quixote”, at The Porthouse Theatre, summer home to Kent State University’s School of Theatre, Music and Dance. The cast included professional Broadway actors as well as KSU students and alumni. It was outstanding! My husband and I attended a dinner reception prior to the performance, and enjoyed the whole package!.
The second play, Shakespeare’s “King Lear”, took place at Beck Center, where my sister and I were excited to see our good friend and actress, Julia Kolibob, shine in another brilliant role. I got to know Julia in the theatre program at my alma mater, CWRU, and before that she was also a high school friend of my sister’s at Beaumont School. This time, Julia played one of the king’s daughters and she was excellent, as always. The entire production was stellar, in fact!
It was also a month for dinners out—always a good idea among friends. Visiting from California, Roz and Bob, met us at the very special ML Tavern for a delightful evening. We also had fun connecting with Vanessa and Harold, and Craig and Barb, as their guests at the stunning Shoreby Club, ideally situated on Lake Erie. We had a casual, fun meal with Bob and Kathy at the award-winning Saucy Brew Works, and enjoyed an al fresco dinner on a warm Saturday night at the home of Chip and Dolly, with three other couples.
Ed and I always have fun meeting up with classmates from his alma mater, Streetsboro High School. This month a group of around 30 gathered at Panini’s in Kent, where we reconnected with Bill and Shirley, in town from Atlanta, and with local-area friends and acquaintances from other classes.
It’s hard to know how to broach this sad story amid the happy social whirl detailed above, but here goes. You may recall a special fundraiser/celebration where I performed with Abe LaMarca, a few months ago. The event celebrated a young high school student with Down syndrome (the son of our friends, Tony and Christine) and his brave victory over leukemia…or so we all believed. Tragically, the dreaded disease came back with a vengeance and took Michael George’s life on Sunday, June 23rd. Ed, Abe and I attended his wake and extremely moving funeral. Michael was a unique young man, of the unforgettable kind.
Toward the end of the month, there was an official Streetsboro event to attend, the school’s annual Alumni Dinner. Held in the beautiful, newly-constructed high school building, dinner was catered by a wonderful Italian restaurant. But the high point of the evening was Ed’s induction into the Streetsboro Alumni Hall of Fame. His many accomplishments were highlighted, including his acceptance to Harvard University: he is the only Harvard graduate in Streetsboro’s 120-year history! I’m proud of him every day, and was especially proud that evening.
On the last Tuesday in June, the weather was gorgeous and perfect for a picnic dinner and concert in the park in Orange, OH, with my sister and our friend, Lynn. Another friend, Raine Austen, vocalist with The Diamond Project Band, was playing that night. It was fun catching up with Lynn to Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”, “Song Sung Blue” and “America” performed by this talented “replicate” group.
And on the 30th, my husband and I celebrated our 35 years of marriage with a lovely dinner at Michael’s Restaurant. It was beautiful and sunny, exactly like the day I walked down the aisle to seal our pact to live happily ever after!
Could July get any better?