Monday, June 2, 2014

My Miser

This is Paul Involdstad, my high school theatre director.  He called me on Saturday and I am still smiling from hearing his voice.  If there is such a thing as a twinkle in a voice, Paul had one - a bit elfish, a bit sarcastic, and always tired from working way too hard.  I remember seeing Paul for the first time on day one at Washington Junior High School.  (I think it was Paul's first year as a teacher, so we were sort of even.) Coming from a Catholic school, I was scared beyond belief that I wouldn't find any friends.  I found one quickly and at lunch that day we saw him bounce through the cafeteria.  We couldn't quite define him - either a sharp dressing kid or a real cute teacher.  The later seemed impossible to me having been face to face with nuns for eight years - but that is exactly what he was, a real cute teacher.

When I got to Lincoln, Paul was teaching Brit Lit and directing plays.  And that's what he called about. Saturday was sort and rescue day for him.  Someone had given him a keyboard, and while rummaging through piano tutorial books, he ran across mementos from my short theatre career at Lincoln.  He will be sending me his prompt book, ticket stubs, news articles and some photos from a Moliere play called "The Miser."

Paul and I had reconnected a few years back when he sent copies of a CD of songs he had written and recorded.  But this phone call was different, and if it hadn't been for a group of five ladies coming int o shop, I would have talked and talked.  He talked about directing, and how he felt that perhaps he had gotten it wrong - that there were better methods of getting his point across.  He though he was pretty rough on us.  

I don't remember that.  What I do recall is that he was miserly with the compliments.  I would go home at night wondering how I was doing.  Now I know.  I must have been painful to work with.  Clumsy.  No confidence.  Clueless on how to interpret lines. Once he discovered I had no talent, he clearly chose to be kind and not say anything.   Despite that, I learned a lot.  I learned from watching Paul, and although he failed in transforming me from a lunk he gave me was a thirst for theatre.  Theatre history. Theatre technique.  Theatre literature.  He helped me discover the foundations and from that my appreciation and knowledge grew.  What a debt of gratitude I owe this guy.

Paul, if you're reading this...about that piano playing business.  That is one tough instrument.  You have to trick your brain into bringing two lines of text together into one.  I never moved much beyond "Ducks on the Pond" in the piano primer called Teaching Little Fingers to Play."  Still, I persevere and can play an almost recognizable, albeit constipated, version of 'Moonlihgt Sonata."  I know you will will do much, much better.

Signing off, Paul said "I'm glad you're happy, Bev."  He's right.  I am.  I hope that Paul is and that you are as well.

Thanks for stopping by.

What am I reading?  Just started The Farm by Tom Smith.  Suspenseful.

Catch up on the store bunny saga on FaceBook.