Monday, June 27, 2011

Helpfully Falling Into Shakespeare Again

Macbeth by William ShakespeareYou cannot help falling into Shakespeare again if you read Harold Bloom's Anatomy of Influence. Soon after I started Bloom's book, I signed up for a program luncheon in Washington, DC, Carol Levin speaking about Shakespeare's use of dreams for two sub-themes in Winter's Tale and Macbeth. As soon as I arrived I met two other early arrivals, and we started what would turn out to be an on-going conversation and, I do believe, a new friendship.

Our acquaintance started when I overheard one of the two comment that she wanted to sit near the speaker, and they walked toward the other end of the long dining table, and sat. I'd already had a conversation with the sound man, before they came into the meeting room. After a few moments' reflection where I'd perched, nearer the entrance, at a corner seat, I decided to walk down to where the two ladies had taken places already at the luncheon table. "Excuse me, but I think she'll speak from the other end," I said. "I'm not sure, but that was the last plan I heard." They decided to move, and  thanked me very kindly as they gathered their things. 

Immediately, I thought, Uh, oh, they're getting up and moving; what if Carol Levin has changed her mind about where to stand, to deliver her speech?

"I hope it will help," I said a bit uneasily, as they slid out of their chairs; "It could flip-flop on us." They went to the other end, where I was, nevertheless. 

Before they were fully settled in their new seats near me, I leaned in to ask: "Does either of you read Anne Tyler?"

"Yes!" they cried in unison.  

Oh, these two could be my best new friends! I love Anne Tyler's work.

I continued: "Do you remember her characters who habitually try to help, and it so often backfires?" Thinking especially of the woman in Breathing Lessons. "I have similar experiences all the time." 

They understood. Perfectly. And, fortunately for us all, the speaker stayed with her plan. After the presentation and questions, we had dessert. A third new friend sitting on the other side of me used to act Shakespeare roles. She commented during the meal, "I had a decision to make today: Go to Emergency with an injury that's acting up again, ...or come here."

The show must go on. I offered something she might want to try next time, as I'd learned that she'd taken nothing to help ease pain. Then I thought, Let's hope nothing else she may be taking conflicts with ibuprofin...!

After lunch with Shakespeare and friends, I now want to see Branagh as Henry V. At least the movie.

Copyright (c) 2011 Opinari Writers Network
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Monday, June 06, 2011


John F. Kelly photo from

 Inspired by 6/6/11 John Kelly's Washington, Washington Post print edition.

John Kelly's Washington column for years has energetically reminded readers of kids ready for help, especially during summer. Nothing has changed. On  Monday, June 6, 2011, as it does every summer, the column focused on Send a Kid to Camp. 

Today's column includes a description of how one of the first children in the Washington area came to get involved as a summer camper in the early 1960s at the first location: Mike Shirley. He later helped clear the second site, property bought just for the camp, the project led by George Greene, who located Mike Shirley years before. "George Greene passed away this year," writes Kelly, "but his legacy remains in the cabins and trails of Moss Hollow and in people such as Mike Shirley, who, after graduating from Springarn High, went to Columbia College of Art and Design...and now teaches art at Crossland High in Temple Hills. And he still goes to Moss Hollow every summer, now as a director." Mike said of WWII veteran, George Greene:  "He talked to us about becoming strong members of society...about doing right in our family...The camp was to create an atmosphere where the poorest of the poor had a place to come. And it's not just throwing out a ball and playing with them. It was a place to prepare us for the American dream, a place we can call our own...."

Because of this information from John Kelly's Washington, readers may choose to enjoy Wednesday lunches or dinners at any of Clyde's restaurants. This week's special Wednesday menu to benefit Send a Kid to Camp is Alaskan salmon. According to the restaurants, echoing John Kelly, "proceeds will benefit Send a Kid to Camp." The camp is Moss Hollow in Fauquier County, Virginia.   

"Greene thought that kids like Mike would benefit from getting out of the city and into the great outdoors," wrote John Kelly today. Mike Shirley and others have proved him right.
(After Mr. Greene's death, Mike wrote on the Legacy page for veterans:
"...if George Greene never came 
to my house in Kenilworh to ask me to join the 
Ivakota program in 1963 I would not 
be the person I am today. he taught me..."
- Michael Shirley).

This summer's Send a Kid to Camp goal: $500,000. To donate online, click here
To send by post, Kelly wrote, make check payable to: Send a Kid to Camp
and send to 
Send a Kid to Camp
P. O. Box 96237
Washington, DC 20090-6237

Dear Reader, If you do not live near Washington, DC, and won't be visiting this summer, then why not give online or send a check, for any amount? And I hope you can also find a similar camp operating near you. There are likely big needs needing big hearts and ideas and help. Summer should be much brighter for it!
Stay cool.

About John Kelly's column: "John Kelly's Washington" appears Sunday through Thursday online and in The Post. He started at The Post in 1989 as the deputy editor of the Weekend section. Since then he's edited Weekend, founded KidsPost and been a general assignment reporter in Metro. He drives an old sports car and plays the drums--though not at the same time. He lives in Silver Spring, where he has one wife and two daughters.(source: Washington Post)

Note: The famed Old Ebbitt Grill in DC, across the side street from the Department of the Treasure building, is also part of this summer's Send a Kid to Camp, along with the 13 area Clyde's restaurants. If able, wouldn't you love to dine at Clyde's or at Old Ebbitt's Grill every Wednesday this summer to help a good cause? If you go to Old Ebbitt instead of, or in addition, to Clyde's on a Wednesday this summer, if you've never been there before, consider that it's just steps from The White House and museums in downtown Washington. Established in 1856, it was a favorite of Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Harding and Theodore Roosevelt...."

Inspired by and quoting from John Kelly's column, The Washington Post, topic "Send a Kid to Camp"
(c) 2011 Opinari Writers
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