The Stone Girl a Hit at Harvard General Store
The Stone Girl had a great run the weekend of July 18 and 19. After Saturday's SRO audience at the Harvard General Store in the town center, we had another great house for the Sunday matinee. We enjoyed a lively talk-back after the matinee, where I took in a lot of great suggestions for the rewrite, for which the original cast will be reuniting to read September 11.
I'm so very thankful to our director, Pamela Kathleen Hill, in whose loving and ultra-capable hands I placed the script; and of course, to our incredibly talented, spirited phenomenal cast, and a production team that may have been the best I've ever worked with! So proud of them all!
It was the wonderful fun, enlightening and collaborative experience I take away as most fulfilling from The Stone Girl production. We all - kids and adults - believed in each other, supported each other and had great chemistry. And we were delighted and humbled at the support and positive response from our community. Thank you's all around!
A Wonderful Life, Staged Reading of the Old Time Radio Play, Volunteers Hall, Saturday, December 14, 2013
The Harvard Friends of the Arts will perform a staged reading of the Old Time Radio Theatre play, A Wonderful Life, Saturday night, December 14, at Volunteers Hall in the Harvard Public Library starting at 7:30 PM. Doors will open at 7. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated.
The movie premiered in 1946 produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story The Greatest Gift, which Philip Van Doren Stern wrote in 1939. While the film did not do well at the box office at first, over time it became one of the most loved films in American cinema and has become a traditional holiday favorite.
The film was twice adapted for radio in 1947, first on Lux Radio Theater (March) and then on The Screen Guild Theater (December), then again on the Screen Guild Theater broadcast of March, 1951. James Stewart and Donna Reed reprised their roles for all three radio productions. Stewart also starred in the May, 1949 radio adaptation presented on the Screen Director's Playhouse.
The HFOA Wonderful Life is being co-produced by Bob Eiland and Chris Frechette, and directed by Bob Eiland. Judy Wong will serve as Sound Foley with the assistance of Ingrid Skadberg. Joan Eliyesil has composed original music for one of the commercial jingles, which will be performed live by cast members. Joan Eliyesil will also be Sound Engineer.
Wonderful Life has almost 40 characters! Most of the cast this year will be reading several roles each. The cast includes Tim Clark playing 9 roles, Bob Eiland as George Bailey, whose life is referred to in the title, JulieAnn Govang, playing 8 roles, Keith Myles playing 7 different roles, and our character jackpot winner, Mary Helan Turner, who will play a grand total of 13 characters! Our jingle singers will be Tim Clark, JulieAnn Govang, Keith Myles and Mary Helan Turner.
Reservations are suggested. To reserve seats, you can call the library at 978-456-4114.
Harvard Friends of the Arts (HOFA) is a subcommittee of the Friends of the Harvard Public Library and was founded in 2007 as the new library was being built. The mission of the HFOA is to encourage and promote high-quality, diverse professional and amateur creative talents that will enhance the quality of life in our community, and establish Volunteers Hall as a central gathering place supporting artistic expression.
Aquarium - a poem by Thea, May, 2012
Aquarium goldfish slip and flick away, scales flashing gold.
Snails stay under the green weeds,
but they stick to glass,
brown and silver and round.
Connecting with One of Papa Rudy's Grand-Nephews, March 8, 2012
I got an email last week out of the blue - from Joe Halasz, the grandson of Rose Eiland Halasz, Papa Rudy's sister. We arranged to talk, and had a wonderful hour-long conversation a couple of nights ago, exchanging family information and laughs.
He also sent me a black and white picture from 1925 of Jewish children in Logan, with the Halasz kids identified, which I will add to the Ted and Lillian Eiland Clan - Old Pics album, first page. I showed Skip the picture, and he thinks he's seen it before - maybe at Aunt Miki's. He and I were wondering if the young boy sitting in front of and between Eric and the elder Joe Halasz (not the one I spoke with) might be Uncle Bill. If anyone can recognize anyone else in the picture, please let me know.
Joe and his wife Michelle are living the good life in retirement in Merritt Island, FL. They are "snow birds" splitting their time between FL and Wisconsin. Joe is a retired high school principal, having last served that role in Homestead, FL.
He knew the story about Ilona's coming to America with Papa Rudy's sponsorship only to return to Hungary and death in a concentration camp. His grandfather, Frank Halasz, Rose's husband, worked for Papa Rudy in the store delivering groceries on the horse-drawn cart. The two horses were named Charlie and Molly, and Joe said his grandfather used to give them directions in Hungarian. Joe knew Papa Rudy, of course, as Uncle Rudy.
While we were on the phone, I talked him through to my website and the photos in the Memphis Family Reunion album. He was keenly interested to see names and faces, and said he was going to spend more time looking through old pictures and perusing the site. I recommended that he read Uncle Fred's Eiland Family Narrative, which, by the way, mentions Rose and Frank Halasz. He also invited my family and me down, and I will indeed look forward to taking him up on that next time we're in the Orlando/Cocoa Beach area, which will probably be within the year.
He helped me update the Eiland Family Tree with the Halasz clan, and gave me contact information for one of his cousins who will have more information yet, such as birth and death dates. I've updated and uploaded the new family tree on the Family Trees and Stories page. You can download the PDF - which you'll need to zoom to see; as it's sprawled now quite a bit. :-)
Charlie's U.S. Readoption! October 11, 2011
We don't even think about it on a day-to-day basis; it is so "just is." Charlie is our sweet little guy, our Charlie Barley - our son/brother, forever a part of who and what we are. He is an absolute in the definition of our family.
But today marked the final administrative check in the to-do list, which will enable us to get him his SSN, etc. as well. So now it's officially a U.S. adoption, in addition to being an official Guatemalan adoption!
From the day of the court proceedings in Guatemala City when Charlie was 4 1/2 months old, it was always legal in both countries, of course. But now Charlie has an adoption certificate in English residing in Worcester, MA, our county seat, in addition to the one in Spanish residing in Guatemala City. The U.S. certificate is in the name we gave him - Charles Luis Eiland (named after Sharlotte's dad) - instead of the name on the Guatemalan certificate, which was the one given him by his birth mother from Mazatenango, Guatemala, when he was born in Guatemala City.
It was quite the big day for our family: getting all dressed up and making an appearance first thing in the Worcester Probate and Family Court. Judge Leilah Keamy did the honors, with the help from the court's family coordinator, Lee. Charlie had a certificate of his own to sign, which he did with a little help from his sister, Thea. This was separate from the official court certificate. Judge Keamy signed both. Lee had bought for Charlie and Thea two light-up pens, and for Charlie, a little stuffed duck, which Charlie named Mr. Quacks. Given a lot of what else goes on in these courtrooms, these are the kinds of proceedings judges and their assistants love to do - and it showed!
Charlie was so very excited and proud, as were we all! (Pictures are in the family album.)
Once back home, Charlie took a book about Guatemala and some of his Guatemalan mementos and put them in a basket for safe-keeping - in case "we have another baby from Guatemala!"
Oh my gosh, little guy! Deck of cards: another baby not in there. :-)
Staged Reading of Frankenstein Radio Script, 10/29 at Volunteers Hall
The Harvard Friends of the Arts will perform Frankenstein, a radio play by Philip Grecian, Saturday night, October 29, Halloween weekend at Volunteers Hall in the Harvard Public Library, starting at 7:30 PM. Doors open at 7. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated.
Aficionados of Boris Karloff's Frankenstein will see a lot of differences between that film and the version of the story HFOA is presenting. The radio play is based on Mr. Grecian's own stage play, which in turn is based on the original novel by Mary Wollstencraft Shelley.
As noted in the script: "In the summer of 1816, five writers ware vacationing at the Villa Diodoto in Switzerland: Lord Byron,; Clair Clairmont; John Polloidori, Byron's physician; Percy Bysshe Shelley and his 19-year-old mistress, Mary Wollstencraft, whom he would wed by year's end. the group..wrote ghost stories and read them aloud to pass the time. Mary's story had a dramatic effect - for Lord Byron, upon hearing it, ran from the room in fright. ..May expanded her story to novel length, publishing it two years later."
This year's Old Time Radio Theatre production is being produced and directed by Bob Eiland. Bill Cordner will serve as the Foley, responsible for the radio play's 100+ sound effects, played live before the audience. He has also composed original music for the performance's musical interludes. Maureen Remeika will be Assistant Foley.
The cast boasts a team of talented actors from Harvard ranging from teenagers to senior citizens. Danno Sullivan will play Victor Frankenstein, the scientist who creates the creature, and Tim Clark, Victor's best friend, Henry Clerval. Bob Eiland takes on the role of the Creature. Didi Chadran will play multiple roles, including Captain Walton; and Jamie Allard is Victor's fiance, Elizabeth. Becca Morin will play Victor's sister Catherine, as well as the servant Birgitta; and Emma Noyes will serve as Catherine's young governess, Justine Moritz. Keith Myles will handle both Professor Waldman and the old blind man, DeLacey; and Mary Helan Turner will be Baroness Frankenstein and the radio Announcer.
HFOA is a subcommittee of the Friends of the Harvard Public Library and was founded in 2007 as the new library was being built. The original impetus was for a group of volunteers to bring performance to a great space called Volunteers Hall located in the "old" part of the new library. The mission/vision of HFOA is to encourage, stimulate and promote high quality, diverse professional and amateur creative talents that will enhance the quality of life of our community. We want to create a central gathering place and community resource where people support the transformative power of artistic expression.
Charlie's First Day of Kindergarten - and First School Bus Ride! September 1, 2011
He was so excited in advance of boarding - and all the way until the bus arrived - and then he had to take that first step to board: a small step for a new kindergartener, a giant leap for our family!
It was good for him that his sister, Thea, was riding the same bus, though the kindergarteners were all sitting together at the front of the bus, while Thea was a few rows back. Before Sharlotte and I left the bus, he had received some reassuring words from his sister and us, and he seemed placated.
Charlie in kindergarten. Time flies faster than a runaway train.
Dad and Kids Have Great Time in NH - Charlie's First-Ever Mountain Hike! August 23, 2011
Story Land one day, Santa's Village one day, hiking one of Dad's favorite White Mountain trails one day: Sawyer Pond. Having a great time staying in the White Mountain Hotel and Resort in North Conway - where all the wait staff and hotel personnel ended up calling Charlie and Thea by their names. New pictures are posted for family and friends in our album.
The most novel adventure was our Sawyer Pond hike: Charlie's first-ever hike up a mountain! He did great! Thea too! It's about a 4-mile round trip with moderate incline, but steeper by a good measure than anything Charlie had ever done before. (Thea had hiked this very trail with me on her maiden-voyage mountain hike three years ago. She did great both times!)
We started out with a beautiful sunny day, a little hot and humid. We stopped a lot and had trail snacks and water on the way up. But after hanging out by the beautiful pond for about 45 minutes, the sky started to darken, and the wind began to pick up. Off we went to head back down! Shortly after we started, loud crackling thunder rumbled, getting ever closer. We picked up our speed, and didn't stop once. Both the kids were good with this. (Fear can be a great motivator!) Thea, in yet another demonstration of young leadership (among several of late), led the way, keeping a crisp pace. Charlie kept going despite having to deal with some sore feet. The rain started literally just as we reached the footbridge that crosses Sawyer River and leads to the parking lot. Whew!
Once in the car, we sat for a good while drinking water and rubbing our feet as the driving rain pelted the car roof and the lightning flashed - tired, gratified and thanking our lucky stars. Then we returned to the hotel for dinner and a night-swim in the hotel pool in what was by that time a steady sprinkle with no lightning.
Okay, I'll say it: I'm a proud dad!
BalletRox Rocks the Audience at Fruitlands With Peter and the Wolf and the Rest of an Eclectic Dance Program - August 17, 2011
I'm pleased I reached out to the nationally acclaimed BalletRox, Tony Williams' group that performs the Urban Nutcracker in Boston each year, to perform a family-appropriate program for Fruitlands in the outdoor amphitheater. A standing ovation at the end said it all. Pictures are posted for family and friends in our album.
Peter and the Wolf was a complete delight, and was followed on a perfect summer's afternoon/evening by an eclectic program of dances performed by an incredibly gifted, wonderfully diverse troupe of dancers.
Afterwards, I introduced Tony to Thea, Charlie, Sharlotte, cousin Jenny, my friends Pam and Larry Hill and Thea's friend Ainslie. He said he thought the pilot project was a success from his point of view too (as I know it was from the Fruitlands viewpoint).
Here's hoping BalletRox can make Fruitlands a summer home for a few weeks for outdoor dance performance on an ongoing basis!
Weston Youth Center, 1978-1980 - Stay Tuned for the Reunion (Maybe September?) - This Entry July 24, 2011
Wouldn’t have happened without Facebook. I reconnected with several "kids" from my days as the Director of the Weston Youth Center, the center's first director. Of course, those "kids" now have older teenage kids of their own.
I had a lovely lunch with Ellen and Priscilla, both of whom live near me now. I brought my scrap book/picture album from those days, and both of the WYC journals, in which the kids used to write anything (and everything!) they wanted - and which I used as a tool for staying up on all "my kids."
And hey, for anyone who was a part of that unique, wonderful, all-too-ephemeral town program, which impacted the lives of so many kids and families in Weston, some deeply; and which, sadly, in the initial days of Proposition 2 1/2, lost its funding a year after my departure: stay tuned for the possibility of a reunion! Guys, I promise to bring the scrap book and journals to it too! You can already search Facebook for the newly created Weston Youth Center page.
Also, I created a WYC photo album on the Photo Albums page of this site. I don't have all the names; and I might have a few wrong. So if anyone can help with that, it would be most appreciated.
Thea's 9th Birthday Party with a Spy Theme - and 1st Group Sleepover - a Rousing Good Time!
How did she get to be 9?! Last single-digit age. The parent's lament: how quickly it goes by! The proverbial runaway train.
At any rate, she's been planning this for the past few months, and it materialized pretty much the way she wanted: Spy Kids theme. Beautiful, hot, sunny day. The list of activities: water slide free time, Intro to Spy Kids Training with refreshments, obstacle course, awards, scavenger hunt with criminal (Lauren) who had stolen and hidden Thea's birthday presents and left clues behind, awards, hide-and-seek, awards, presents, pizza dinner on the porch with spy-themed music, hot tub (which Charlie entered for the first time!), piÃ±ata, movies (Spy Kids I and II), sleepover with 6 girls (most of whom went to sleep at 2 AM, another 2 of whom didn't get to sleep until after 3AM), breakfast w/ donuts and muffins from Dunkin Donuts.
Thea did an amazing job planning it with Sharlotte's help. Sharlotte did an amazing job organizing it. Jenny, Lauren and Aunt Jodi were terrific Spy Lieutenants. Yours truly was Chief Spy in charge of running training.
One tired family the day after!
Public Reading of Declaration of Independence to be Held July 4 Outside Old Library in Harvard, MA
Please join us for a public reading of the Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America in front of the old library, the side across from the Common, at 10:30AM on July 4, to be followed by the annual town parade at 11:05.
The reading will be performed by readers ranging in age from teens through 70s, and will be introduced / emceed by Charlie Sennott, the Executive Editor of
Global Post. Having just returned from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Charlie will talk briefly about the connection between our Declaration and independence movements going on today, and will tie his comments to a piece written by Carlene Phillips about Harvard's actions leading up to the Declaration.
The readers include: Tim Clark, Bob Eiland, Stephen Hayward, Bill Johnson, Ken Nygren, Carlene Phillips and Fiona Shea. The production team includes Nick Browse, Tim Clark, Bob Eiland, Maggie Green, Carlene Phillips and Deborah Sauve, all coordinated by the efforts of Ron Ostberg.
The reading of the Declaration used to be performed in Harvard on the 4th of July. We are excited about resurrecting such a moving and informative tradition.
Charlie's Preschool Graduation, 6/21/2011
Charlie had a great year in preschool this year, and advanced so well in a great many ways. We're very proud of him; and he is appropriately proud of himself. :-) He was thrilled to receive a graduation certificate today during his preschool graduation ceremony. (Yes, there are preschool graduations now!) And he was thrilled to receive a special individual award: "Charlie Eiland: the only child in preschool with a book written about him." See my Writings page for a link to a full preview of the book.
Highlights and Lowlights from Disney World Vacation
+ Visiting with Rick, Stella and Isablella - including 2 sleepovers for Thea and Isabella together
+ The first visit to Disney World Charlie will remember
+ Chip & Dale, the kids' favorite Disney characters - and Chip & Dale hats
+ Autographs from Chip & Dale, all the Mickey Mouse club characters, and several of the Disney princesses and Winnie the Pooh characters
+ Splash Mountain for Thea
+ Riding the monorail for Charlie
+ The theatrical production of Finding Nemo for Sharlotte and me - one of the most entertaining and best produced theatrical productions I've ever seen
+ Princess lunch at Epcot's Norway
+ Seeing the movie at Epcot's France, which brought back a lot of travel memories for Sharlotte and me
+ Mickey's BBQ w/ country band, Mickey Mouse characters and the champion cowboy roper
+ Crush, the sea turtle from Nemo, who gave an interactive presentation
+ March of Progress
+ Seeing the fireworks from the monorail on the last night there
+ Going to dinner one night at Joe's in the park and having a family on one side who used to live 2 towns over from us here in Massachusetts and knew several people in common with me, and a family on our other side from Steubenville, OH, the mom of which had for a third grade teacher someone who was a friend of mine in high school
+ Monsters, Inc., the live interactive comedy show, picked me to be on the giant screen and serve as 1 of 5 audience participants in the show - I knocked 'em dead of course! :-)
Lowlight: Spending 11 hours in the Florida Hospital getting x-rays and CT scan for Charlie after he fell on his head - turned out to be whiplash and he's fine
3d Annual Harvard Community Talent Show, 3/19/2011
I co-produced the third annual community talent show recently, and for the first time, performed in it as well: Duke Orsino's opening monologue from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, set to the Beatles' Norwegian Wood and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band played on banjo by Joan Eliyesil. We had over 100 people attending, and unfortunately, had to turn away about a dozen people arriving late at the door. So a big success - down to the last surprise and wonderfully touching and comic number! Below is the program for the night.
|The Lost Chord (Helen Batchelder, Bill Cordner, Keith Myles)||Rainy Day People, by Gordon Lightfoot|
|Jenny Watts||Someone Else's Story, by by Benny Andersson, Tim rice & Bjorn Ulvaeus|
|Nick Walker||Original guitar composition|
|Ken Nygren||Some Enchanged Evening, by Richard Rogers & Oscar Hammerstein|
|Bob Eiland & Joan Eliyesil||Norwigian Lonely Heart's Club Beatles in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night|
|Jake Balladares||Original piano composition|
|Emma & Ted Noyes||Falling Slowly, Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova|
|Erin Sullivan||Original vocal & instrumental composition|
|Helen Batchelder||If I Could Speak My Mind,Original vocal & instrumental composition|
|Joan Eliyesil||Original banjo composition|
|Ben Jackson||The Scientist, by Cold Play|
|Bill Cordner||Cold, Cold Beer, by Keith Myles - parody of Hank Williams' Cold, Cold Heart|
|Ken Nygren & Helen Batchelder||People Will Say We're in Love, by Richard Rogers & Oscar Hammerstein|
|Mark Hastings||Original instrumental composition|
|Erin & Danno Sullivan||Ain't Misbehavin', by Thomas "Fats" Waller, Harry Brooks, Andy Razaf mashup w/ Rubber Ducky|
|Stage Managers||Joan Eliyesil & Judy Wong|
|Sound||Mark Hastings w/ assistance from Bill Cordner|
|Project Committee||Bob Eiland, Joan Eliyesil, Di Hall|
Thea's Princess Grace Kelly Project a Smashing Success! 3/9/2011
Thea knocked it outta' the ballpark! Mrs. Moore, her teacher, said Thea "could become Grace Kelly some day." She said the rest of the class were amazed that about halfway through, Thea quit using her cue cards, and spoke comfortably and confidently from memory.
Thea had worked so hard on this project; it was very impressive! She wore a princess costume to school and presented Grace Kelly's life in first person, starting from her childhood in Philadelphia, through her stage, TV and movie acting career, and culminating, after the Wedding of the Century w/ Prince Phillip, with her years as Monaco's Princess Grace.
When Charlie heard us talk about Mrs. Moore's comment about how Thea "could become Princess Grace some day," he immediately became quite agitated to the point of tears. Thinking about the part of Princess Grace's story that ended on a curvy road in Monaco, he screamed out, "No, no, Thea! Don't become Princess Grace! I don't want to be without my sister! :-)
Battling the Harvard School Committee to Restore Jewish Holidays to the School Vacation Schedule, 12/2010
Guess I've "made it" as a voice in public policy discussion in my home town. A letter to the editor in our local papers recently called me out for my opposition to the recent decision by the town's School Committee to reverse the existing policy establishing the Jewish High Holidays as school vacation days. Below is the response letter to the editor I wrote, and here is a link to Common Ground Harvard, a grassroots organization of 10 people I co-founded providing research and thought leadership on issues and candidates affecting our town. On the Home (or Issues) page, you can click on a link to view or download the PDF of the white paper my friend Maria Kaufmann and I wrote on the issue: Politics and Religion: The Harvard School Committee, Jewish Holidays and Good Friday.
The Letter to the Editor:
A letter in last week's Harvard papers opined that the schools' recognizing anyone's religious holidays is a "broke" policy. The writer went on to say that insensitivity is a meaningless justification for a position, and cautioned us about a world in which Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax would not simply absent themselves from a baseball game on a Jewish High Holiday, but the games themselves would be postponed.
To compare a private enterprise composed of adults and answerable to its customers and/or stockholders, with a public school, answerable to the community, and whose sole mission is to teach our children, strikes me as an apples-to-oranges comparison. Corporate and public policies, of course, are not guided by the same laws and principles. Having said that, in 2009 Major League Baseball did indeed demonstrate the kind of sensitivity three members of the current Harvard School Committee recently chose not to when the Red Sox-Yankees game was rescheduled to avoid Yom Kippur.
To fully implement the writer's proposal to eliminate all religious holidays from the school vacation schedule would mean to include the Christian holiday of Christmas, which non-Christians do not consider sectarian. I don't foresee that happening, nor do I advocate it. All a great number of us, Jews and non-Jews alike, have been asking for is, in baseball terms, a level playing field. We had one for many years in Harvard until this School Committee, bafflingly, proposed the change without any call from the community, and snatched away the existing fairness policy.
A New Kind of Christmas Carol at Volunteers Hall, Harvard Public Library, 12/18/10
The Harvard Friends of the Arts will perform the Orson Welles 1938 Campbells Radio Playhouse version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol on Saturday, December 18 at Volunteers Hall in the Harvard Public Library, starting 7:30. Doors open at 7. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated.
Originally broadcast on Christmas Day, 1934, Welles' radio version of the play became an annual Christmas time broadcast tradition through 1953. Lionel Barrymore played Scrooge in every version except two: once when his wife had just died and his brother John Barrymore filled in, and once when he was ill, when Orson Welles himself filled in.
The Harvard Friends of the Arts Players will bring their own original touches to the show. A live chorus will perform carols and original music composed especially for this show by Harvard resident Bill Cordner, and will be accompanied by violinist Tim Arnold. HFOA will bring in the holiday spirit with seasonal treats and special dÃ©cor; and community caroling after the show will be led by the HFOA Christmas Carol chorus.
This year's Old Time Radio Theatre production is being produced and directed by Bob Eiland. The cast boasts talented actors from Harvard and surrounding towns.
|Tyler Borton||Fred (Scrooge's nephew), Young Scrooge, Belle's Husband|
|Tim Clark||Ernest Chappell, Bob Cratchit, Fezziwig, Man at Gravesite|
|Bob Eiland||Orson Welles, Narrator, Ghost of Christmas Past|
|Tim Eliyesil||Tiny Tim|
|Amy Jackson||Charity Volunteer, Mrs. Cratchit, Woman at Gravesite, traditional|
|Keith Myles||Jacob Marley, Ghost of Christmas Present|
|Jackson Royal||Scrooge, Lionel Barrymore|
|Fiona Shea||Girl from Choir, Belle, Girl on Street, Martha Cratchit|
Harvard Friends of the Arts is a subcommittee of the Friends of the Harvard Public Library and was founded in 2007 as the new library was being built. The original impetus was for a group of volunteers to bring performance to a great space called Volunteers Hall located in the "old' part of the new library. The mission of HFOA is to encourage, stimulate and promote high quality, diverse professional and amateur creative talents that will enhance the quality of life of our community, and create a central gathering place and community resource where people support the transformative power of artistic expression.
Eiland Family Reunion to be Held in Memphis July 9-11, 2010
We will be having a family reunion in Memphis, TN on the weekend of July 9, 10 and 11. All living seniors of the Rudy-Gizella Eiland clan will be there, and we will be honoring them, celebrating Uncle Eddie's 90th, and remembering those who are no longer with us.
Friday and Saturday night dinners will be hosted by the Memphis-based family contingent; and they will also provide information about things to do and see in Memphis, along with directions.
We have a block of rooms on hold at the Holiday Inn, University of Memphis. All rooms are small suites, with kitchenettes. You should make your reservations by calling 901-678-8200 or 800-HOLIDAY (465-4329), and requesting a room in the Eiland Family Reunion block. It is your responsibility to make your own hotel reservations, mentioning the family group. Please email Stephanie or Terry for more details, and to confirm who will attend.
Can't wait to see y'all!
Eiland & Hill Reprise Love Letters for Charity, 3/26/2010
Cornerstone Performing Arts Center is pleased to present Love Letters by A. R. Gurney on March 26 at 7:30 PM. The performance will feature Pamela Hill and Bob Eiland, reprising the roles they performed in Harvard, MA just last year. Poignant, romantic, witty and charming, the play centers on just two characters, Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III. Simply presented, actors sit side by side reading notes, letters and cards that trace 50 years of their relationship, spanning grade school to middle age. The characters share their hopes and dreams, triumphs and failures, of their lives lived separately, yet intertwined.
The project's partners include Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg Public Schools, the Arthur M. Longsjo, Jr. Middle School, the Student Education Association of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the National Education Association, along with a number of other community groups and businesses. On April 24, 2010, more than 150 volunteers will grab hammers, brushes or mops to repair, paint, clean, landscape and decorate the school, digging in to give the Arthur Longsjo, Jr. Middle School of Fitchburg a much needed facelift.
The goal is to raise $10,000. This performance is a part of that effort. Reservations are strongly encouraged, as seating is limited. Tickets are $10, $5 for FSC students and seniors over 65. To reserve your tickets and for more information, call Cornerstone Performing Arts Center at 978-345-2915, or visit the Cornerstone Performing Arts Center website.
Dine at Slattery's Restaurant the evening of the performance and bring the dinner receipt to the Box Office for $3 off a $10 ticket. To reserve a table at Slattery's, call 978-342-8880. Slattery's is proud to be a supporter of Outreach to Teach!
To learn more about Outreach to Teach and how you can beam involved, visit the Fitchburg Education Foundation, or contact the volunteer coordinator, Samantha Johnson at sjohns55 at student.fsc.edu.
The mature themes of Love Letters are not suitable for children.
Notorious: From Lux Radio Theatre 1948 to Harvard Library 2010, 2/27/2010
The Harvard Friends of the Arts (HFOA) is excited to announce its second Volunteers Theatre of the Air presentation, Notorious, the Lux Radio Theatre Broadcast of 1948 live and on stage at Volunteers Hall in the Harvard Public Library, 4 Pond Road, Saturday, February 27. Doors will open at 7 PM; the program begins at 7:30. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.
The production team for the performance features Harvard actors Bob Eiland, also producing and directing, Tim Clark, Mary Helan Turner, Keith Turner and Judy Wong, who is acting and running sound effects; and Pamela Hill from Ashby. All the actors will play multiple parts. Jonathan Williams will run the sound board, and Chris Frechette and Pat Natoli are helping to produce.
Lux Radio Theater, a long-run classic radio anthology series, initially adapted Broadway plays during its first two seasons before it began adapting films. These hour-long radio programs were performed live before studio audiences. It became the most popular dramatic anthology series on radio, broadcast for more than 20 years and continued on television as the Lux Video Theatre through most of the 1950s. Cecil B. DeMille took over as the host on June 1, 1936, continuing until January 22, 1945. On several occasions, usually when he was out of town, he was temporarily replaced by various celebrities, including Leslie Howard and Edward Arnold.
Lux Radio Theater strove to feature as many of the original stars of the original stage and film productions as possible, usually paying them $5,000 an appearance. In 1936, when sponsor Lever Brothers (who made Lux soap and detergent) moved the show from New York City to Hollywood, the program began to emphasize adaptations of films rather than plays. The first Lux film adaptation was The Legionnaire and the Lady, with Marlene Dietrich and Clark Gable, based on the film Morocco. That was followed by a Lux adaptation of The Thin Man, featuring the movie's stars, Myrna Loy and William Powell.
Many of leading names in stage and film appeared in the series, most in the roles they made famous on the screen, including Abbott and Costello, Lauren Bacall, Lucille Ball, Ethel Barrymore, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Gary Cooper, Joseph Cotten, Joan Crawford, Bing Crosby, Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, Vivien Leigh, Frank Sinatra, Barbara Stanwyck, James Stewart, Shirley Temple, Gene Tierney, Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner, John Wayne, and Orson Welles.
UNCLE EDDIE, HOMETOWN HERO, 12/1/2009
Reprinted with permission from the Logan Banner. Article written by J.D. Charles, Staff Writer.
Longtime Logan lawyer was honored for his many years of service by a TV news channel yesterday afternoon.
The third floor of the Logan County Courthouse was packed Thursday morning with court employees, local attorneys, veterans, Kiwanians, Lions club members, friends and family who gathered together to honor attorney Ed Eiland, who celebrated his 63d anniversary as a lawyer on Wednesday. Then, yesterday, Eiland was named a hometown hero. The celebration will be aired next weekend on WSAZ TV3.
"It was 63 years ago yesterday when he started practicing law," Judge Eric O'Briant told local attorney Mark Hobbs, who was there to present Eiland with an award for his decades of dedication and service in the legal community. "It was November 18, 1948 when his legal career began and he is still going strong," Judge O'Briant added. WVOW General Manager Speedy Bevins said much had changed in Logan over the past 63 years, but Eiland remained a fixture.
WSAZ Meteorologist Tony Cavalier arrived with Eiland in tow and announced that Channel 3 was proud to name Eiland the Thanksgiving week Hometown Hero.
"If you all think I am retiring, you had best disabuse yourself of that notion because (longtime assistant) Nancy (Kirkendoll) won't let me quit," the normally low-key Eiland quipped. "Lord, I am here because you let me be here. I have no complaints."
Eiland has also served more than one term as the city attorney for Logan, and one of the people who honored him was current Logan City Councilman Tom Fink, who recalled meeting Eiland when Fink was a rookie cop in the early 1960's.
Eiland saw many old friends in the audience, including those from his school days in the 1930s, longtime friends Eddie Stevens and Buddy Ferrell.
Tammy Stollings, a representative from West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, was on hand to present a proclamation declaring Eiland a Distinguished Mountaineer for his decades of service to the community.
Stollings discussed the modest Eiland's background, including his military service and volunteer work as a Kiwanian and a Boy Scouts of America troop leader.
Raamie Barker with Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin's office presented Eiland with a proclamation from Senate President Tomblin declaring Eiland a Dedicated West Virginian and Barker shared some personal remembrances of Eiland.
"I first met you when I was a young man campaigning for John Kennedy in 1960 and Bobby Kennedy in 1968," Barker said, remembering that Eiland ran for judge that year. When Kennedy was brought to town by one faction of Democrats, Eiland told his peers in that group that their opponents also should be invited to appear on stage with the presidential candidate.
"That showed me we had picked the right man for the job in Ed Eiland," Barker noted, adding that the opposing candidate won anyway.
"The next day, I went out and played golf," Eiland quipped.
Barker also pointed out that the soft-spoken and mild-mannered attorney was a true war hero who participated in several beach landings in WWII and was wounded when he was shot in the chest. Marine Corps Lt. Eiland field dressed his own wound and led his men into battle. Barker said Eiland was known for his modesty, his integrity and his honesty as well as his willingness to volunteer for a good cause.
"This is a great man," Barker said.
Fink called Eiland a national hero, an excellent counselor and dedicated musician and volunteer and said he was proud to announce that the City of Logan had declared Nov. 19 as Ed Eiland Day in his honor.
Don Wandling said the West Virginia State Bar Association wished to salute Eiland on behalf of his more than 60 years of practicing law at a high level of professionalism in his community and that the bar wished to commend his integrity and competency.
"All of us know how much you love Logan and what you do for your community," Wandling said.
Local attorney Mark Hobbs presented Eiland with two plaques from the Logan County BGar Association for his years of service and dedication to the people of Logan and said he had the highest respect for Eiland, noting that anybody familiar with Eiland had the same great respect for him.
Eiland said he was not sure that any of the attorneys who were practicing law when he got sworn in as an attorney were still practicing. Eiland went over a list of judges and attorneys he had practiced with noting that they and their contemporaries had "been friends in keeping me here."
He also thanked his many secretaries over the years and his current secretary, Nancy Kirkendoll, noting that a good secretary was the secret to success for any attorney.
"I have been blessed with many of them," Eiland admitted, chiding Nancy for not letting him know about Thursday's events ahead of time.
Kirkendoll spoke about knowing Eiland for many years when her former employer passed away and Eiland hired her to be his secretary.
"He's a wonderful man," she said.
Debrina Williams and Jim Frye from the Logan County Chamber of Commerce presented Eiland with a gift bag and a plaque to celebrate his being named hometown hero and unveiled plans for a billboard to be erected honoring EIland for his dedication to his community.
"We should all strive to be the type of Logan Countian Ed Eiland is," Frye said.
Diana O'Briant of the Aracoma Story Inc. said Eiland is the dream of every music director TAS ever had and listed his abilities as a musician and presented him with honors for his 30 years of volunteering with the summer plays. Eiland recalled "The SOund of Music" as his first TAS experience many years ago. Frye said a seat in the Liz Spurlock Amphitheater will commemorate Eiland's years with TAS.
"This is my first time of knowingly being on television," Eiland said, noting his brother Ted used to work for WSAZ and his brother-in-law worked for WCHS. "I am sorry I don't have the television presence they have."
Members of the Norman R. Miller Chapter 308 of the Vietnam Veterans of America honored Eiland next. Andy Clark praised Eiland for his service to his country and Troy Varney presented him with a Marine Corps hat.
"Once a Marine, always a Marine," Varney said. "Semper Fi."
Eiland said he was just a battalion communication officer, and "not a John Wayne type," adding that his 40 months in the Marine Corps in World War II were memorable and that he had done what he thought was right.
Eiland, who has long been a major supporter of the Logan Wildcats, was also honored by the LHS basketball team as Chad Akers and team members presented him with a signed basketball.
"You know he's gonna' be there," Akers said, noting Eiland's presence and support at every LHS game.
Eiland's childhood friend Eddie Stevens joined him and the two recalled Logan High sports in 1937.
Stevens told Tony Cavalier that Ed Eiland "is an outstanding person, a good attorney and is an honest person and one of the finest people I have ever known. There will never be another like him," Stevens said.
Attorney Brian Abraham said that when he passed the bar exam 14 years ago he was interviewed by Eiland who was on the bar's character exam committee and noted that no better person could have been chosen for that role. Abraham said he had no idea back then that Eiland was a war hero as Eiland never bragged about himself.
"He's a humble man," Abraham said, adding that Eiland received both the Silver Star and the Purple Heart for his bravery and injury in combat.
Wesley Nugent of the WVU Marching Band praised Eiland for his support of the WVU band and his long years as a member of the Alumni Band and presented him with some WVU clothing and items, saying he was "our most senior alumnus and an inspiration."
Former law partner John Bennet recalled being interviewed by Eiland 30 years ago and being impressed with what a nice man Eiland was and recalled that in their many years of law practice together how Eiland's main concern was "that we do the right thing." Bennett noted that Eiland was also a charitable man who rang the bells for the Salvation Army every winter at Christmas time and was known to present friends with Christmas presents, despite the fact he is actually Jewish. Bennett noted that when he decided to run for office he asked Eiland, who not only encourage him, but agreed to be his campaign manager.
"He as always my mentor, but most of all my friend," Bennett said.
Eiland's friends Darren Akers and Howard MacDonald in the Kiwanis Club of Logan praised him for his 50 plus years of service as a Kiwanian and community volunteer.
"We are proud to have you as an active member for 58 years," MacDonald said. Akers said that when his young daughter, MacKenzie, first met Eiland, she was impressed at how polite and nice he was.
"I told her that if she can be as honest as he is nice, I would be a happy father," Akers quipped.
Eiland explained that Kiwanis was important to him as his father Rudy was a charter member of the Kiwanis Club of Logan in 1944.
"I am only carrying on as he did," Eiland said.
COME ROUND RIGHT:
Choreographer/Filmmaker Marta Renzi and her Project Company in a Dance Designed for Fruitlands
Critically acclaimed site-specific choreographer Marta Renzi and her Project Company will perform her new dance project, Come Round Right in the shadow of Joseph Wheelwright's mythic sculpture, Oracle, at Fruitlands Museum at 2 PM on Sunday, June 28. Folk musician Terri Roben will provide the live accompaniment.
Renzi's extensive body of work has included her site-specific pieces in locations such as the Guggenheim Museum, Union Station and the Staten Island Ferry; and led to her work in video and film. In 1981, You Little Wild Heart, choreographed to music by Bruce Springsteen, premiered as Marta's first half-hour for television. In 1989, she created Mountain View in collaboration with independent filmmaker John Sayles. She received a New York Dance and Performance Award (a "Bessie") in 1992, and in 1995 was the first recipient of a Dancing in the Streets award as "a fearless explorer of all manner of unconventional sites, integrating art into everyday life."
She has created more than 40 dances for her Project Company, consisting of Caitlin Granados, Lisa Greenberg, Aislinn MacMaster, Marta Miller, Deborah Tacon and Lissy Trachtenberg Vomacka. For Come Round Right, Renzi will be incorporating 10 local dancers, girls ranging in age from 6 to 14.
As for the title for this project, Come Round Right, from the song A Gift to Be Simple, Renzi says, "It's a reference to the Shaker tradition, of course ["till by turning and turning we come round right"], but it's also an expression of the magical process by which dances come alive, and communities come together."
Wheelwright's Oracle is a part of a nine-piece Tree Figures installation on display on the museum grounds through November, 2009. Visitors will need to walk about 10 minutes to reach the sculpture, which is situated in the woods near the Willard Farm site.
The 2 o'clock performance is sponsored by Fruitlands Museum, The Harvard Friends of the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The museum is located at 102 Prospect Hill Road in Harvard, MA. Gates open at 11 AM. Admission is $20 per car.
* Note to family and friends: Thea is one of the Little Dancers for this project. And I initiated and produced it.
Mom's Unveiling, Spring Hill Cemetery, Huntington, WV, May 24, 2009
It was an important time, a coming together of the Ted/Lillian clan, along with Uncle Eddie and Pete. Charlie got to meet cousins Logan, Jack and Grace for the first time; and both Thea and Charlie met Uncle Eddie and Peter for the first time. Both also got to see Huntington for the first time, and, of course, Mom's and Dad's gravestone.
The kids and I had found some heart-shaped rocks with little quartz crystals in them from around our house; and I brought them with us on the plane. Thea, Charlie, Sharlotte and I placed one each on the gravestone. I also brought with me Dad's yarmulke, which I wore for the ceremony.
Rabbi Wucher did a wonderful job officiating, as always; and he joined us all for a lunch reception afterwards. All four brothers and Uncle Eddie spoke at the ceremony. Pictures are in the Bob/Sharlotte family album.
My Eulogy for Mom (only a portion of which I read at the unveiling, but presented unabridged here)
A couple of months after Mom passed away, I was driving alone in my car at night listening to music from my iPod's Favorite Songs playlist. A song came up that I really got into. I don't remember what it was, but I do remember thinking, "Mom would have loved this song; God, I wish I could turn her on to it."
I was flooded with this complex set of memories and emotions. I pulled over. I remembered how I used to come home from college and play DJ for Mom, the woman who was perhaps the first female DJ in Tennessee - or at least according to our family legend. If there were a song I was enamored of, she wanted to hear it - whether she felt the same way about it or not. And I turned her on to a bunch of songs, even a couple by Jimi Hendrix. Of course, doing so was scant payback for the wealth of jazz standards and Broadway songs she and Dad introduced to all of us.
Mom was her sons' and husband's personal cheerleader. She listened to each of us as though we were the most important persons in the world. Well, in her world, we were. She comforted us when we sought it - okay, and maybe sometimes when we didn't. She worried about us. A lot. Too much we thought at the time. As parents ourselves now, we know better.
My freshman year in college, my first time living away from home, was a time in my life when I was troubled but adventurous. I was jumbled up inside, searching, rejecting conventions around me while trying to find, or make, my own path. It was a kind of life passage many of us went through in our own ways.
Once, when I was home on break, Mom and I were driving somewhere around Cocoa Beach, just the two of us. Out of the blue she started asking me what was going on. Her questions - and this is no small thing, especially for a parent - were completely devoid of any judgment. They were direct, but they seemed to arise only from a place of pure caring. I was moved to respond completely honestly, even expansively. At the end of that ride, she bestowed upon me this amazing gift: her acceptance of me as a young adult - and her trust.
Whenever any of us came home from being away, Mom lit up like a menorah to see our faces. And later, whenever she saw her grandchildren...well for her, that was like the Second Coming, if I can use that metaphor in this place. Her grandchildren were her pride and joy, her favorite treats.
Mom delighted in all of us. She placed her hope and faith in us. Mom cried for us. And now we cry for her. Everything is different without Dad and her.
But we still delight in what she and Dad gave us to keep forever: surely the memories of who they were as people, and the love and pride we feel for them; but also, the knowledge of how deeply loved and valued we have been, of how proud they were of us.
We brothers who are now parents love our children fearsomely, abidingly, indescribably. Thea, Charlie, and all of Mom's and Dad's grandchildren, the love your dads hold for you, how we love you, how powerfully: part of that is Grammy's and Grampa's love living on in us, passing through us and living on and growing inside of you.
And no doubt, the best part.
Thea's Triple Header / First Audition May, 2009
Thea just experienced her first-ever audition - and did a great job singing her song, I Enjoy Being a Girl from Flower Drum Song, alone on stage in front of 50 people. (Some day, hopefully, she'll deride those lyrics.) We don't know yet whether or not she has been selected for the cast, but that's far from the most important thing. She worked hard leading up to it (well okay, maybe with a little prodding), she overcame her nervousness, took a risk and got up there and did it! You go girl!
It was a big performance week for her. After her audition, she had a recital the very next day for all the performance work she's been doing in her acting class at the Performing Arts Connection. The kids in the class made up through improvisation games a play they called Razzmatazz (pictures in the Recent Bob & Sharlotte Album). Thea and her best friend Meili got to play twins, who for me, were kind of like Shakespearean fools inserting humorous interludes and dispensing wisdom.
Finally, the very following day she finished her triple header with a performance of the show she's been working on the past six weeks here in town with a group called Stagekidz, started by two junior high girls, Alexia and Sarah: a musical called Circus Circus. Once again, she did a great job performing (in her dad's completely unbiased opinion) with wonderful expressiveness in her lines, songs and movements. AND she looked totally adorable in her acrobat costume, with her heavy lipstick and eye makeup, and her tights that were a combination of tiger stripes on top and giraffe spots on bottom (pictures also in the Recent Bob & Sharlotte Album).
As we prepare for Mom's unveiling in a couple of weekends, I can't help but fanaticize how wonderful it could have been for Mom and Dad to be able to see this last generation of their grandchildren, the younger ones (Isabella, Thea and Charlie), doing things like this. Well, hey, we're trying to do our part to keep up some of the family traditions.
Happy Passover! April, 2009
We had a great - and huge - Seder here at our house. Pictures are in the Recent Bob & Sharlotte Eiland Family album. If you forget how to access, email me and I'll get you there.
Harvard Community Talent Show a Resounding Success, March 28, 2009
There was a time when I was worried whether or not our project committee for Harvard Friends of the Arts would be pulling this event off at all, especially so soon after War of the Worlds. But in the end, we were able to showcase some prodigious professional and amateur talent, ranging in age from middle school to senior citizen, and ranging in genre from bluegrass to classical, in the 14 acts we presented to a packed house in Volunteers Hall; and there is a resounding call around town that this be an annual event.
And be on the lookout for a CD you will be able to purchase in the town library by one of our performers, Erin Sullivan, who will be reprising her original number The Letter. She wrote this love song to her old septic system after receiving a letter sent to residents living near the Town Common from the town detailing expenses of the proposed new Town Center septic system.
Our Community Talent Show program:
|Bill Cordner & Keith Myles||The Mary Ellen Carter, by Stan Rogers|
|Ken Nygren||The Impossible Dream, by Joe Darion & Mitch Leigh|
|Helen Batchelder w/ Justin Bartlett||Lascia ch'ia pianga, by George Frederik Handel|
|Conor Deer & Daniel Jackson||I'm Yours, by Jason Mraz|
|Wendy Feddersen||Red Haired Boy, traditional|
|Graham Feddersen||I Burn Today, by Frank Black|
|Claire Rindenello & Steve Abrams||Quebra Queixo & Pacoca, by Celso Machado|
|Joan Eliyesil||Medley for the Misunderstood Banjo, songs by John Lennon/Paul McCartney, Leon McAuliffe, Tito Puente|
|Emma Hall||One Boy from Bye Bye Birdie, by Lee Adams & Charles Strouse|
|Jeff Ewald||Spirit Calling, original composition|
|Emma Noyes||As Long as He Needs Me from Oliver, by Lionel Bart|
|Justin Bartlett||From Kreisleriana, by Robert Schumann|
|Erin Sullivan||Paper Moon, by Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg & Billy Rose|
|Ashley Jordan||Everything I Own, by David Gates - a tribute to Jessie Peterson|
|Bill Cordner & Keith Myles||The Power and the Glory, by Phil Ochs|
|Ken Nygren||My Way, by Paul Anka, Claude Francois & Jacques Revaux|
|Helen Batchelder w/ Justin Bartlett||Motherless Child, traditional|
|Daniel Jackson||I'll Cover You, by Jonathan Larson|
|Wendy Feddersen||Spanish Is a Loving Tongue, song based on a Charles Badger Clark, Jr. poem|
|Graham Feddersen||Lennie, by Stevie Ray Vaughan|
|Claire Rindenello & Steve Abrams||Algodao Doce & Sambossa, by Celso Machado|
|Emma Hall||Till There Was You from The Music Man, by Meredith Wilson|
|Jeff Ewald||Somewhere Over the Rainbow, by Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg|
|Emma and Ted Noyes||We Are Predators All, Ted's original composition|
|Justin Bartlett||From Kreisleriana, by Robert Schumann|
|Erin Sullivan||The Letter, original composition|
|Ashley Jordan||Let It Be, by John Lennon and Paul McCartney|
|Stage Manager||Judy Wong|
|Project Committee||Bob Eiland, Di Hall, Maureen Remeika, Judy Wong|
|Production Manager||Bob Eiland|
Paging Ms. Tooth Fairy! And Riding Off Towards the Sunset.... March, 2009
Thea has been worried for several months now that she was never going to start losing her baby teeth. Last month, when a bottom-front tooth started becoming wiggly, her anticipation started to grow. Well, it finally happened! Sharlotte gave it a final yank, and out it came, leaving a gap in her smile right next to a newly wiggly tooth. It took two nights for the Tooth Fairy to steal over to Thea's night table and secret away that little tooth from the small, decorative box containing it - and to leave behind her gold dollars in exchange. Thea came running in to show me when she awoke that morning.
As if that weren't milestone enough, I just took the training wheels off Thea's bike two days ago. And now she's up and riding without losing balance. Okay, okay, for 6+ years now I've been recording the kids' milestones faithfully. But generally I get gaps of months or weeks before I have to record a new one. But two in the space of a week! It's a freakin' runaway train.
1938 WAR OF THE WORLDS PANIC BROADCAST at Volunteers Hall, February, 2008
"I never hugged my radio so closely as I did last night. I held a crucifix in my hand and prayed while looking out of my open window...." - Mrs. Delaney, an ardent Catholic from a New York suburb
It was October 30, 1938. radios were the central source of home entertainment, and 32 million listeners across the U.S. were tuned into some station that night. The Hindenburg Disaster had been broadcast live just the previous year - the first ever broadcast of a catastrophe in progress. The Great Hurricane of 1938 had made landfall in Long Island just the month prior, killing over 680 people and taking out over 68,000 homes. Nazism was on the rise in Europe.
Orson Welles, John Houseman and Howard Koch, and their Mercury Theatre cast and crew, didn't realize just how vulnerable a population would be to a newsflash-framed ruse, based on H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, about a Martian invasion whose first eerie arrival was in little Grovers Mill, New Jersey. A study released shortly after the broadcast projected that 6 million listeners tuned into the broadcast, many starting when Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy went to break on another station; and 1.2 million of those listeners panicked.
On Saturday, February 28 at 7:30 PM in Volunteers Hall at the Harvard Public Library, the Harvard Friends of the Arts will recreate the famous panic broadcast live and on stage. A discussion of the radio program and its aftermath will follow.
The production team for the performance features Harvard actors Bob Eiland, also producing and directing, Nick Browse, Tim Clark, Mary Helan Turner and Keith Turner; as well as JulieAnn Govang from Ayer and Pamela Hill from Ashby. All the actors will play multiple parts. Marty Green will run lights with help from Keith Turner; David Henderson and Mario Cardenas are on sound; John Williams will run the cable broadcast. Chris Frechette and Pat Natoli are helping to produce. Admission is free, but donations to HFOA are always appreciated. If you are unable to attend in person, the performance will also be broadcast live on the Harvard Cable Channel.
OTHER POST-BROADCAST QUOTES, 1938
"I thought it was all up with us. I grabbed my boy and just sat and cried, and then I couldn't stand it anymore when they said they were coming this way, so I turned the radio off and ran out into the hall" - a mother in a crowded New Jersey tenement
"I became terribly frightened and got in the car and started for the priest so I could make peace with God before dying. ...While en route to my destination, a curve loomed up and...I knew I couldn't make it; though as I recall, it didn't greatly concern me either. to die one way or another, it made no difference."
"I was home and my friend called and said, 'Is your radio working? tune to WABC - the world is coming to an end.' I tuned in and heard buildings were tumbling down in the Palisades and people were fleeing from Times Square. ...The later I heard Martians.... In a short time I realized that these creatures were attacking. It wasn't beyond a possibility that such things could happen, but it seemed peculiar that the announcer could be right next to it and watching it."
"Radio Dispatchers Frank Kramer and Francis Parr said they were swamped with telephone calls requesting information on antidotes for poison gas and the treatment of persons overcome by the deadly fumes. One Hamilton Township woman vowed she had stuffed all the doors and windows with paper and wet rags, but that the fumes were already seeping into her living room." - The Trenton Evening Times
"Hitler managed to scare all Europe to its knees a month ago, but he at least had an army and an air force to back up his shrieking words." - Dorothy Thompson, New York Tribune
"We expected a lunatic fringe, but we didn't know it would go all across the country." - Orson Welles
Schoolboy Charlie, January, 2009
Maybe there's a reason I feel, as probably most of us often do, that our kids are growing all too quickly: they are!
And/or the conspiratorial "they" are changing the milestones on us to be earlier and earlier.
Charlie's three. Charlie's now a student in the integrated preschool at the elementary school. He's in a class with kids ranging in age from three to five. Earlier today, he proudly grasped his new dinosaur lunchbox, and talked excitedly about his being able to ride on the school bus some day.
Well, he's a couple of years away from that - at least!
The Ice Storm of '08, December, 2008
The ravages of the ice storm are finally behind us! We were out of power for six days, ending Wednesday of last week. We spent two of them luxuriating at the Copley Place Westin Hotel in Boston and had a great time. But the other four I spent in the frigid house while Sharlotte and the kids stayed with friends and family who had a generators. However cold it was, at least I had a comfortable bed to sleep in for my cranky back. And during the days, I was able to work on clearing all the downed trees and branches from our property. (Pictures are in our family album.)
I will say that the storm's devastation also brought with it an exotic beauty. At one point the first day after, the sun had dipped low in the sky, just behind the ice-crystallized treetops. There was a heavenly luminescence as the sunlight refracted into breathtaking prismatic colors.
That night we decided to get Thea to her theater class recital in Sudbury, which had no ice damage. The whole eerie landscape played its part to the hilt as a declared national disaster zone: trees and telephone posts snapped in half, depressing the wires and protruding into, often blocking, the roads; electrical wires lying all about like poisonous snakes, ice-covered forest debris all over, treacherous icy patches from tree-fall lying in wait on the potholed roads. All were surrounded by the silent crystalline woods. We practically had to travel the circumference of the town to find roads that were still only barely passable. It was as though we were living on some weird, alien ice planet.
After we got power back, it was such a joyous occasion. And the simple pleasures such as heat, a hot shower and flushing toilets were immense. As trying as it was for us, I can only think of all those who are challenged to find shelter, heat and food on a daily basis. Also, we still have four towns in our county without power, and they may not get it back until the new year.
Eyeballs! - December 3, 2008
That's right. That's what Charlie cries out when he's frustrated or unhappy. His version of a cuss word. Go figure!
I confess I haven't yet managed to keep a fully straight face when he's done it. Still working on that.
Thea's First Play, November 16, 2008
Two upstart junior high school girls in town conceived of, wrote, directed and produced a musical based on the Amelia Bedilia books. Thea was the youngest of the eleven girls who were cast, and she had one of the largest parts. She nailed all of her lines, songs and cues. She brought energy to her performance, and her delivery was wonderfully expressive.
Even Charlie delighted in watching her - when he wasn't crawling under people's chairs and being pulled back along the slick floor by Dad or Mom.
The timing of Thea's theatrical accomplishment didn't escape me: three days after Dad's birthday. The little girl who is named after her grandfather, himself an accomplished thespian, thus paid him tribute.
Barack Obama's Election Night, November 4, 2008
Dear Thea and Charlie,
There are moments larger and more profound than our ability to grasp them as we're living through them. We can only intimate their magnitude. Tonight is one such moment, a moment of historic proportion and transformation.
Tonight, in the adopted home state of Abraham Lincoln, the scene in Chicago's Grant Park played out in stark juxtaposition to the scene in the same place 40 years ago. On that occasion a huge angry crowd of young people shredded draft cards, burned American flags and shouted, "The whole world's watching!"
Tonight, that sense of powerlessness, rage and alienation that exploded in the face of the 1968 Democratic Convention, and expressed what so many of us young people felt to some degree at the time, has been converted into a realization of possibility and hope.
Tonight I am among millions of people around the world who feel an abiding gratitude for a particular journey's end we never saw coming; even though with hindsight now we can look back and appreciate certain portents and trends.
I believe it was, again, in 1968 for example that your Grammy and Grandpa, my mom and dad, ran the campaign for the person who was probably the first African American to be elected to public office in Steubenville, Ohio - Dennis Palmer for School Board.
So tonight, in the company of my joy and wonderment, stands a deep poignancy that Mom and Dad can't be here with us to see this, to be a part of this moment in history. Sentiments like mine are being echoed all around the world in the next instant after the thought, "I never imagined this could happen in my lifetime."
Tonight, the United States of America has written a love letter to my little girl and my little boy, indeed to all girls and young people of color, to all who have felt or seemed different or disenfranchised. And I love America for it.
All My Love,
Yom Kippur, October, 2008
The Red Thread the Chinese call it: the connection that weaves together in some way, however remotely, everyone who has touched our lives. For me, Yom Kippur is, in part, a holiday of the Red Thread.
Last night, after my annual Yom Kippur hike, for no discernible reason, I decided to check the guestbook on this site, which I hadn't checked in a few months. To my surprise and delight, and with much poignancy, I discovered there a message from Annie Arnette, the daughter of my high school girlfriend Georgi. She had posted this message three days after Georgi's birthday. A special connection made because of Georgi was so fitting. Georgi was a connective force nonpareil in high school. One's social status or race or anything else had no significance to her, only one's nature.
This was the first Yom Kippur without Mom. On my hike, I found myself imagining how Mom might have felt in the wake of her having lost her mother, Mommie Rae. I thought of the song Richie Havens sang at Woodstock: Motherless Child.
Daddy-Daughter Vacation in N.H. September, 2008
Day 1: Story Land
Story Land added a circus since Thea and I came here last year for our Daddy-Daughter trip - and it's terrific! There were acts from Barnum and Bailey, along with world-reknowned acts from Russia. A Russian couple changed costumes in a second right before our eyes as a hoop passed over them. I still have no clue how they did it. There was a girl who juggled hula hoops, and a woman who had trained 4 house cats how to do all manner of tightrope walking. Thea's favorite was Leo, who spun around in a great wheel attached to a circling bar that reached the ceiling of the big tent. My favorite was the costume transformations.
An interesting aspect of our day there was that everywhere we walked, we saw families built at least in part through adoption: South Korean kids, Chinese kids, Latino.... And I expect there were domestically adopted children whose adoptions, like Thea's, was not readily apparent.
Day 2: Santa's Village
Thea enjoyed all the rides and exhibits, but I think her favorite thing was punching her alphabet ticket at all 26 elf letter stations, which, of course, lead you through the whole park. Nice marketing scheme. We ran into a family we had seen the day before at Story Land. I don't know why I was moved to say so, but I said to them, "Jeez, can't seem to find the Chanukah exhibit." The mom looked at me delightedly and said, "You too!"
Day 3: Sawyer Pond Hike
On the final day of our Daddy-daughter trip, Thea and I went to Crawford Notch and found the Sawyer River Road, which winds along side the Sawyer River eight miles to the trailhead for Sawyer Pond. I hadn't been there in about 35 years. Sawyer Pond is the inspiration for the setting of my screenplay, Enemy Within; and it is the subject of a number of hiking stories I've told Thea. While in college, I once backpacked up there carrying not only provisions for ten days, but also my guitar and its hard-shell case. (Ah youth!) I had once brought brother Tip on a backpack trip there too - one that was cut short due to torrential downpours (another of the stories I've told Thea).
For me, not having hiked there in so long, it was a pilgrimage. For Thea, embarking on her first substantial mountain hike, it was a maiden voyage. And all on a perfect, beautiful, bugless, cloudless late summer day.
On the way up, Thea learned about mushrooms, artist's conch fungi, identifying different kinds of trees, how trails are cut and mapped.... We heard a pileated woodpecker, though we didn't see it. We rested at a huge glacial erratic rock. We sang songs.
When we arrived at the edge of the pond, my 6 year old Thea, on her own volition, left my side and found a rock to sit on overlooking the pond, over which loomed Tremont Mountain, Day Mountain and Owl Cliffs. After a minute, she turned to me and said, "Daddy, it's so beautiful." Blew me away.
We moved on to the shelter farther along the edge of the pond. There were about a dozen folks there, mostly in their 20s and 30s, and they were celebrating a couple of birthdays. We hung out with them for about an hour or so; and Thea became great friends with a member of their party: Cocoa, a little white dog. One woman took our pictures (see album).
Thea bore up well on the return journey. She was excited again when the other party passed us up on the way down, and she got to see Cocoa again. We made it back to the parking lot, changed clothes, bade goodbye to our friends and headed back out Sawyer River Road, dust rising in our wake.
When I saw Charlie for the first time upon returning, he ran into my arms and said something like, "Dada, beach, two friends, tower." He had gone up to Crane's Beach, made friends with two 4 year old boys and built sand towers with them. This was the first narrative - with a beginning, middle and end - I'd ever heard Charlie tell!
Logan Reunion May, 2008
What a special time in Logan! None of us expected the turnout we got. Rekindling family friendships, revisiting family stories, catching up on family news, catching the latest Indiana Jones movie (well, at least Uncle Fred, cousin Fred, Stephanie and I did)! You'll find pictures in the private Extended Family album, and a PDF document in the News & Stories section reviewing some of the stories I took notes on. Fred, Stephanie, Terry, shall we try and organize a bigger one soon? :-)
Children's Book About Thea Now Available for Review & Purchase 5/26/08
The children's book I wrote for Thea about her birth and adoption, and which I had illustrated by the gifted Samantha Busfield, is now available from Blurb.com: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/250750/. If you have a young adopted child, or know someone who does, it was designed to provide a means of helping adopted kids understand and feel proud about their being adopted. When you get to the page for the book, you can click on "Review" to see the first 15 pages in low-resolution PDF.
Thea's First Dance! 5/9/08
It was like a prom - only it was primarily daddies and daughters. I bought her a beautiful wrist corsage, and Sharlotte got her a beautiful new dress, and had her hair cut and braided into French braids. We took pictures before leaving (which are in the family album), and off we went. In the you-know-you're-living-in-a-small-town department, it was our chief of police who served as an excellent DJ for the evening. Thea danced with her friends and plenty with me, fast dances and slow. The last dance she wanted me to pick her up. I accommodated her, and we danced as she rested her head on my shoulder, knowing we had enjoyed a special night, a first; and we had made a lasting memory.
Introducing Jackson Prince Arnold! 4/9/08
Born April 9, 2008 to Dorothea and Mark Arnold. Weighed in at 8 lbs., 15 oz. Picture in family album. Mazel tov Dorothea, Mark and Jackson!
Notes on Mom's Passing
The date and time of Mom's passing were Saturday, January 19 at 8 PM. She was asleep, and she simply passed on. The final cause of death was renal failure. During that final quiet time, a week or so leading up to her death, her trachea tube did not need suctioning once, her breathing was far steadier and easier than it had been since the pneumonia had stricken her about 4 months ago. She mostly slept peacefully. With so much less being demanded of it, her body eased her to her passing.
The night the phone call came Thea and I were visiting Skip's house. The occasion was my belated birthday celebration. We had a great time. By the time the call came, we were already preparing to leave. I see it as more fitting than ironic that on the day on which I was celebrating my birthday with family, the woman who gave birth to me passed away. Connected to the end.
I chose not to tell Thea so late at night after such a nice time and just before bedtime. The next morning, after several calls with extended family members, I brought Thea into my office. It was just the two of us. I told her I was sad because Grammy died. After crying for a long moment, she said, "I hate it when people go to heaven!"
To my surprise, she asked me for particulars of when Grammy passed. I told her, and added that Grammy was asleep and simply, peacefully passed on from that state. I said something like, "How wonderful for Grammy that she could pass on so peacefully, just as she wanted."
Thea said, "It's not wonderful for me."
I arrived in Huntington on the evening of Tuesday the 22d, Tu B'Shvat. I arrived a day ahead of everyone else. I needed the alone time, the time to reflect. The following morning I went to Klingel-Carpenter Mortuary to settle up the bill - and to see Mom one last time.
Rick and Stella had sent with Mom a really nice outfit and some of her costume jewelry. I hadn't seen her dressed and made up so elegantly in probably 4 or 5 years. I think the last time was in the Windermere Health South Nursing Home when she allowed herself to eat in public one last time before settling into her final, bed-centric decline. Her face was drawn back like a tight ponytail, and I was taken aback at that initially. But she looked peaceful, and she looked good.
As I stood over her, what came to me to say to her was something like, "Mom, you were always in my corner, all of your sons' corners. Everything about me, about us, was okay with you. Your love was unceasing and all-encompassing. You gave me a kind of love, and a way of loving, that I give my children. Your love lives on within me and through me to my children."
Later that day, I visited the Cabell County Library and found Huntington phone books from the 50s and 60s. I checked the book for the year of Rick's birth, 1954. I found the addresses for Mommie Rae's first house, her store, the Milady Shop (which was across the street and a couple of doors down from the library), Uncle Jack and Aunt Ida's home, and Uncle Jack's store - second store I believe, Jack's Liquidating Store.
First I walked into the Milady Shop; well, now it's Spirits on the Plaza, and the multi-store building of which it's a part is called the Reger Building. I bought a Diet Coke there. As I was checking out, I said to the young man cashing me out something like, "This used to be my grandmother's store many years ago."
He grunted, "Huh."
"It looked a little different back then," I added.
Next I made a pilgrimage to Mommie Rae's first house on Edison Drive on the other side of town near the Spring Hill Cemetery where Mom would be laid to rest the following day. Half the house looked something like what I remembered, the brick half. I hadn't pictured the white wood attached garage. The trees that had once graced the front and side yards had now long since vanished in favor of more yard. A large Christian cross over the garage and nearby Christmas decorations spoke of yet further differences.
I rang the doorbell. Only a dog was home, a dog not exactly happy to hear a doorbell. Before departing, I noted the name of the family currently living there: Goodsons. I was in a mood for symbolism and synchronicity. I liked it. Good sons.
My mood for symbolism and synchronicity was tapped again as I was driving away from Edison Drive and noticed, as I had not when first turning onto the street, that the pizza place across the street from the end of Edison where I had entered was the same pizza place I had called the night before for a delivery to my hotel room on the other side of town. Had there not been a broken water main in downtown Huntington where my Holiday Inn was, I would have never called that pizza place.
It was bitter cold yesterday at Spring Hill Cemetery during Mom's funeral. But it was beautiful. A light flurry brought a softness and a whiteness to the grounds and the surroundings that transformed what would have otherwise been a stark, gray, hard-edged day.
Rabbi Wucher presided over the service as the ruthless winds cut through the thickest wraps. Tip and Lisa's Logan was unable to make it; and Sharlotte and Stella stayed home with the little ones. The rest of Mom's sons and their families were there, joined by Uncle Eddie and Peter, and a few members of the B'Nai Sholom congregation, some of whom had known Mommie Rae and/or Uncle Jack.
When it came time for open commentaries, Skip started us off. He told a story about a recent conversation he'd had with Uncle Fred in which Uncle Fred had talked about how Mom, when she was a young woman, represented his standard of beauty against which other women he met were measured.
I spoke next, conveying what it was I had said to Mom when I had seen her in the mortuary, as described above. I added to the part about Mom's all-encompassing love something about how I remembered seeing in Mom's face, and feeling inside myself, the complete delight whenever I or any of my brothers returned home from college or visited after we graduated.
I was followed in short order by Rick, who spoke about how that delight in Mom was there to be seen upon visits from her kids and grandkids even in these past 6 years after her stroke stole from her her ability to express it in words.
Lisa talked about what a great mother-in-law she was, and Julia concurred, saying after meeting Mom, she wondered what was the story with all the mother-in-law jokes. Uncle Eddie mentioned he had known Mom for 65 years, and that in all that time, he had always appreciated what a warm, wonderful woman she was, and how she had raised four good sons she could be proud of.
Tip spoke last, and, as he said, on Mom's behalf - which I so appreciate. He expressed a deep gratitude for the remarkable job Rick did in taking care of Mom these past 6 years with such dedication and love.
After the Kaddish, as Rabbi Wucher conveyed heartfelt wishes for Mom's final journey, her casket swayed gently in the buffeting wind. A few snow flurries followed the curve of her polished wooden casket and drifted like feathers into the open ground. In the distance, a train's whistle blew what I chose to hear as a lullaby. And Mom parted this world perhaps the same way she came in: surrounded by loved ones and rocking gently to a soothing melody.
I miss her beyond words.
Mom's obituary (slightly edited from the newspaper version):
Lillian Jaffe Eiland, 86, of Orlando, FL, formerly of Huntington, WVA, died Saturday, January 19, 2008 in Orlando. She was born March 26, 1921 in Huntington, a daughter by birth of Sandor Lagun and Rae Marguerite Cuttler Jaffee. She was a member of the B'Nai Sholom Congregation in Huntington, and very active with the Surfside Players in Cocoa Beach, FL, having served as president and acted in a number of productions. She was preceded in death by her husband, Theodore Anthony "Ted" Eiland, with whom she owned and ran WKKO radio station in Cocoa, FL, and her father Isidore Jaffe of Huntington. She is survived by her four sons, Howard A. Eiland, Stuart A. Eiland, Robert A. Eiland and Richard A. Eiland; and 10 grandchildren. Graveside services will be held at 1 PM Thursday, January 24, 2008 at the B'Nai Israel Section of Spring Hill Cemetery, Huntington, by Rabbi David Wucher. There will be no visitation. Klingel-Carpenter Mortuary, Huntington, is in charge of arrangements. Expressions of sympathy may be made to B'Nai Sholom Congregation, P. O. Box 2674, Huntington, WV 25726. You can sign the Family Guestbook at http://www.klingelcarpenter.com/.
Thea Makes Big-Stage Theatrical Debut 12/27/07
Thea made her theatrical debut in Sudbury with a program called Broadway Babies. The group of about 15 5-6 year old girls had 5 Broadway songs to perform, and each girl had a solo. For Thea, it was the first time she performed both lyrics and choreography - and the choreography was a significant challenge! (Dad knows because he memorized it too in order to be of help practicing at home.)
Thea's solo came with the song I Enjoy Being a Girl from Flower Drum Song, and she did a great job performing it by herself at the microphone in front of an audience of a couple of hundred people. It seems I was the only one who was nervous about it in advance.
Shortly after Babies closed, she and her buddy Dylan both performed in an original version of a play called White Christmas in Westford. The two did a great job with their song, A Holly Jolly Christmas. Thea's already signed up for the next Broadway Babies this coming January. Can't wait to see the new numbers. Maybe this time we'll see the little girls perform something more along the lines of Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better! :-)
Mazel Tov and All Our Best Wishes to Doe and Mark on the Occasion of Their Marriage! 12/20/07
Pictures are in Extended Eiland Family album
To Kill a Mockingbird, Sets New Record for Arlington Friends of the Drama 10/25/07
To Kill a Mockingbird, played to virtually sold out houses every performance - about a dozen tickets went unsold over the run - and set a new record for AFD Theatre in audience attendance for a non-musical. Our deserving cast received a partial or full standing ovation each show, and word spread fast through the course of the run.
For all of us within the production, perhaps best of all was the bond we all felt throughout the rehearsal and performance process. Dang, I miss y'all!
Breaching my normal humility, I found out during the run, much to my surprise, that the next two shows in line in the record books were also ones I had directed: The Miracle Worker and Night of the Iguana. Of course, having name shows with those reputations, and the gifted casts in all instances, certainly didn't hurt!
To Kill a Mockingbird in Arlington, Opening 10/12, Echoes of the Scottsboro Boys 10/08/07
To Kill a Mockingbird, which I have directed, and Susan Harrington has produced, opens this Friday, 10/12 at 8 PM. The rest of the performance schedule is: Saturday, 10/13 at 8 (sold out!), Sunday, 10/14 at 2 (tickets sold for this show in Arlington Public Library), Friday 10/19 at 8, Saturday, 10/20 at 2 and 8, and Sunday 10/20 at 4. You can order tickets online at http://www.afdtheatre.org/. There is more information about our production there as well.
To follow are my Director's Notes for the program, and a cast list. Hope to see you there!
Mockingbird and Echoes of the Scottsboro Boys
On March 25, 1931 at the train station in Paint Rock, Alabama, an armed posse of 50 white men surrounded 9 young black men. They had just disembarked from the train on which they had been hoboing after an unsuccessful attempt to find work in Tennessee. Just over the Alabama border, a young white man had stepped on the hand of Haywood Patterson, a young black man, sparking a stone-throwing fight. Most of the young white men were forced off the slowly moving train, though Haywood had personally saved one when the train started to speed up.
Twenty minutes after Patterson and his cohorts were arrested, the posse chased down two white girls, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates. They had been traveling with their boyfriends. They knew about the Mann Act, which criminalized crossing state lines for sex. When a station agent asked them if the Negroes had bothered them, they claimed they had been raped.
The nine young black men were tied together with a plow line and carted off to jail in nearby Scottsboro. That evening, several hundred mostly poor white farmers gathered outside the jail to take justice into their own hands. The National Guard staved off the lynching of the Scottsboro Boys.
The Scottsboro Boys' first trial commenced twelve weeks later. Their two lawyers, one an out-of-state real estate attorney and the other a senile alcoholic, had spent less than a half hour interviewing them. Defense attorneys offered no cross-examination of the state's medical evidence and presented no closing argument. Eight of the nine boys were sentenced to death.
A year later, the US Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that new trials would have to be granted because the defendants were denied competent representation. In 1933, when Nelle Harper Lee from Monroeville, Alabama was, at seven, close in age to Scout, a new trial for Haywood Patterson began, presided over by Judge James Horton. The American Communist Party hired famous New York attorney Samuel Liebowitz for the Scottsboro Boys' defense. Despite the testimony by former accuser Ruby Bates that her cohort had made up the whole accusation, Haywood was once again sentenced to death. Lynching mobs - for both Patterson and "the Jew lawyer from New York" - were rebuffed.
In what would be only a temporary setback for the prosecution, Judge Horton, writing that the testimony of the accuser "bears on its face indications of improbability and is contradicted by other evidence," set aside the jury's verdict. He lost his next election. But his words, inscribed on a wall of the Limestone County Courtroom Ã and echoing Atticus' closing to the jury Ã charge us to this day when it comes to judging a person on the basis of skin color, religion, origin, gender or sexual orientation:
So far as the law is concerned, it knows neither native nor alien, Jew or Gentile, black or white. This case is no different than any other. We have only to do our duty without fear or favor.
Our gifted Mockingbird cast:
|Judson Pierce||Atticus Finch|
|Sydelle Pittas||Maudie Atkinson|
|Elise Hana||Scout (Jean Louise) Finch|
|Jake Gutwillig||Jem Finch|
|Peter Diamond||Dill (Charlies Baker) Harris|
|Jennifer Bubriski||Stephanie Crawford|
|Will Calley||Bob Ewell|
|Michelle Mount||Mayella Ewell|
|Eric Daley||Tom Robinson|
|Katheryn Holland||Mrs. Dubose|
|Bob Evans||Walter Cunningham, Sr.|
|Tim Walsh||Walter Cunningham, Jr.|
|Tom Johnson||Heck Tate|
|Tom Lawrence||Horace Gilmer|
|Mark Branche||Reverend Sykes|
|David Damon||Judge Taylor|
|Mark Jefferys||Boo Radley|
|Abby Seidel||Court Clerk|
|Phillip Koenig||Nathan Radley|
Charlie's First Steps and Words! And Other Family News. 07/27/07
It was three weeks ago from this writing. Thea and Bob saw him do it: three tiny, tenuous steps in a row, before plopping down with a huge proud smile, and a cheer and applause from us. In this developmental explosion, he has also now spoken up to about 10 words. His first word was "Ea" for "Thea," which thrills us all to no end. He has since added "Mommy," "baby," "hi," "byebye," and "Da-yee" for "Daddy," among others.
Just before the July 4 holiday, Thea and I took a vacation up to North Conway, NH in the White Mountains, just the two of us. (Pictures in the Recent Eiland Family album.) We had a fantastic time visiting Story Land on two separate days, taking the antique Washington Valley cog railway train through the valley, ordering pizza in at the hotel room and watching the Red Sox win, taking a short hike, hanging around the town for part of one afternoon....
We also listened to music all the way up and back (on high volume since it was just the two of us!) on my new iPod. I had created on it a Children's Playlist with select songs from Broadway musicals, Disney movies, doo wop, a capella, reggae, along side certain Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Taj Mahal and James Taylor tunes, to name a few. We hope to take another adventure away for a couple of days before summer's end!
Mazel Tov, and all our love and best wishes to Rudi and Lee on the occasion of their marriage!
Pictures in Extended Eiland Family album.
Star Bright accepted for publication 07/21/07
After a successful staged reading at the Harvard Public Library last fall, and a subsequent revision, courtesy all the great feedback received from cast members and audience, Star Bright, very loosely inspired by Thea's birth and adoption, was accepted for publication by JAC Publishing and Promotions, the publisher of my first two plays, Philosophical Differences and Super Cooper. Stay tuned for availability: http://www.jacneed.com/
Nephew Logan Eiland to Attend Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)! 07/21/07
Big congratulations to Logan! We also got to see Logan and three of his friends for part of an afternoon and evening as they crashed here on their way to Acadia. It was great! Thea wanted "to camp out with the boys in the basement." Logan, any pictures?
Bob to Direct To Kill a Mockingbird at Arlington Friends of the Drama in October 02/14/07
The stage version of the popular Pulitzer Prize winning novel affords an exciting opportunity: to apply the theme of journeying from innocence to bittersweet sophistication by means of "walking in someone else's shoes," as Atticus Finch would put it, to the process of mounting the production. As a cast and crew, not only will we strive to fulfill our primary mission of presenting moving performances in production with high technical values, but we will also immerse ourselves in the Harper Lee's Alabama of 1935. 1931 marked the beginning of the trial of the 9 African American Scottsboro Boys who were falsely accused of gang raping two white women, one of whom completely recanted her story and implicated the other one. And the South remained locked in the unforgiving grip of the Great Depression. My current plan is to look at partnerships with an African American organization, and possibly with a middle school class interested in studying the work, to enrich our experience (as well as help with casting!)
Goings On Around Our Place 02/07/07
A week ago Thea snapped her little rented ski boots into a pair of Rossignol children's x-c skis in Stowe, VT. It was the first time in her life on skis. Before we left the room, she had said, "Don't worry, I've seen lots of skiers on television and I know how to ski." Sure enough, after 10 minutes or so of "lessons" from Daddy on the ski shop carpet, she managed to ski up the initial hill of the Trapp Family Lodge course without falling once. Of course, it took a little longer than I would have anticipated. She hailed every passer by and said, "Hi! I'm skiing for the first time! I'm 4!" We must have engaged in three lengthy conversations before traveling 30 yards. Towards the end of our ski, I set aside both our ski poles, skied behind her, put my arms under her shoulders and cruised down that hill in one long swoop. She shouted "Wheee!" the whole way down.
After I left that day to return to work, Sharlotte was joined by friends Charlotte and Virge with, collectively, their three kids. Since Charlotte is a top-ranked skier around these parts and a former ski instructor, I assume Thea, Dylan and Helena received far better training over the course of the rest of the week in her skilled hands!
We also put Charlie in the backpack and took him out snowshoeing for his first time. He was happy as long as I kept moving. Eventually he responded to the gentle jostling and regular shushing of the snowshoes by relaxing into a cozy sleep. Pictures of our stay at Trapp Family Lodge are posted on the private family album.
Star Bright Staged Reading a Success 11/29/06
The staged reading of Star Bright went very well. Mary Wilson of the Harvard Public Library, to whom I am so grateful for her openness to, and belief in, the project, wants to do a continuing Write With the Playwright series. (Playwrights out there, send your unproduced, unpublished scripts to bob at egselite dot com!) We had a really robust discussion among the audience, the cast and myself; and people seemed very engaged.
I got a lot out of it for the next draft, which has now been completed, and will be submitted for publishing in the not-too-distant future. Only one small component of the reading's success was the script; the cast was brilliant!
To read an interview I did with Ellie Vinacco from CNC's Harvard Post the following week, click on this link: http://www2.townonline.com/harvard/artsLifestyle/view.bg?articleid=618492
Public Reading of Bob's New Play, Star Bright Coming in November 9/12/06
How would you like to watch a new play being read by a gifted cast, and offer feedback to help the playwright write the next draft at the same time?
The Harvard Public Library will give you just such an opportunity on November 3 and 4 at 7 PM in the Hapgood Room with its first Write With the Playwright event. The work is Star Bright, a new, adoption-themed play under development by Harvard playwright Bob Eiland., whose two previous plays, Philosophical Differences and Super Cooper, are published by JAC Publishing and Promotions (http://www.jacneed.com). One act will be presented each evening, followed by audience questions and critique. The public is welcome to attend either evening or both. Admission is free.
Set in the birth clinic of a small Southern hospital, the ceiling of which is a magical starlit sky, Star Bright is a "dramedy" centering around the attempt of a married couple to adopt a baby from a young birth mother, whose adoption decision is not looked kindly upon by all members of her family. We follow this story in parallel with that of another pregnant woman in the same hospital. And popping in and out of the action is a mysterious little girl who seems to know more than she should about nuclear fusion, and who can only be seen by three of the other characters.
The questions and discussion periods will be facilitated by dramaturg Pam Hill, former Education Director of the Huntington Theatre Company, and currently a professor of English, Education and Drama at Fitchburg State College. Pam is a member of the cast as well.
Andrea Southwick of Acton, former Education Director of the New Repertory Theatre, who has trained professional and amateur actors for years at Southwick Studio and Emerson College, is serving as rehearsal consultant for the production.
Our gifted cast:
|Ellie Behrstock||Dehlia Chance|
|David Behrstock||Russell Chance|
|Martha Brooks||Nurse Lydia Touchè|
|Janet Dauray||Myrna Wily|
|Jack Fellows||Doolie Thomas|
|Pam Hill||Jamie Lyn Day|
|Michael McGarty||Elliot Steingard|
|Lily Narbonne||Holly Wily|
Super Cooper Published 9/5/06
My second published play, Super Cooper, a warm comedy about families and social consciousness that brings to the stage a critical transition in the life of schlumpy, small-town boy-man Cal Cooper (Is he really Superman?!), is now available for purchase at JAC Publishing and Promotions (http://www.jacneed.com/ ). If you're thinking about producing something cool and different for your theater group, or just interested in an entertaining read, give it a try.
Liza Sara FuBin - BinBin - Is Home from China! 9/1/06
Max and Mia's little sister, Liza Sara, or BinBin, has made the long trek to her new home with her mama and daddy, Jill and Seth. A new blessing for an already blessed family. A huge, heartfelt "Mazel tov" to them all!
While in Hong Kong and China, Seth and Jill kept a detailed, and often quite moving account of their journey, which of course, was not just a journey of miles. If you're interested in reading it - and I highly recommend it! - email me and I will forward your request to them; as it is a password-protected online journal.
We send our very best wishes to them all, and look forward to hearing new family tales.
Liza Sara FuBin One Step Closer from China to Cousins Seth, Jill, Max and Mia! 6/30/06
Jill reports, "She is in foster care! We are told she is a deep sleeper (yea!), holds her head up, rolls from back to stomach, laughs out loud, likes music and has a ready smile. We should be traveling in 5 to 8 weeks. We are so excited and can't wait to bring her home!"
Her name: Lou (Surname) Fu (Blessing) Bin (Having both appearance and substance)
Exciting times, full of anticipation! We look forward to hearing the progress reports!
Charlie's Naming Ceremony 6/25/06
Whenever we toast "L'chaim!", we'll be toasting Charlie as well. Chaim is his Hebrew name. Rosalie, a cantor from a nearby temple with a captivating voice and warm presence, officiated as we all blessed Charlie's introduction to his community of extended family and friends in song, verse and prayer. Here is the text of the ceremony, not including the numerous live improvisations.
ROSALIE, CANTOR (officiating the ceremony)
Welcome on behalf of Charlie, Thea, Sharlotte, Bob and myself.
This is a Naming Ceremony, as well as a Welcome Ceremony for Charlie; and a time to share Sharlotte's, Bob's and Thea's joy. It is also a time for us all to offer our hopes and blessings for Charlie.
(Whatever else by way of introduction.)
As family and friends we love and rely on, you are all here as the first members of a personal community for Charlie. We also want to take a moment on this very special family occasion to remember our family members who have passed away: Sharlotte's dad Charlie, after whom Charlie is named, and her mom Joanne, my dad Ted. It is sad they can't be with us. I also want to send our love to my mom, Lillian, in Orlando, who can't be with us today either.
A poem for a baby by Algernon Charles Swinburne:
A baby's hands, like rosebuds furled
Whence yet no leaf expands,
Ope if you touch, though close upcurled,
A baby's hands.
Then, fast as warriors grip their brands
When battle's bolt is hurled,
They close, clenched hard like tightening bands.
No rosebuds yet by dawn impearled
Match, even in loveliest lands,
The sweetest flowers in all the world-
A baby's hands.
A baby's eyes, ere speech begin,
Ere lips learn words or sighs,
Bless all things bright enough to win
A baby's eyes.
Love, while the sweet thing laughs and lies,
And sleep flows out and in,
Sees perfect in them Paradise.
Their glance might cast out pain and sin,
Their speech make dumb the wise,
By mute glad godhead felt within
A baby's eyes.
Charlie's Hebrew name is Chaim. It means "life," and now, every time we toast with "L'chaim!", we'll be toasting to Charlie too!
[Rosalie's rap on the Hebrew name, whatever else you have planned, a song or two, etc.]
Jill, Charlie's godmother, will now read an excerpt from a poem by Theodore Roethke called "To My Sister".
Thea, imagine Charlie is reading this to you, his big sister.
To My Sister
O my sister, remember the stars, the tears, the trains,
The woods in spring, the leaves, the scented lanes.
Recall the gradual dark, the snow's unmeasured fall,
The naked fields, the cloud's immaculate folds.
Recount each childhood pleasure: the skies of azure,
The pageantry of wings, the eye's bright treasure.
Keep faith with present joys.
As we've said, Charles Luis is named for Sharlotte's dad, Charles Lewis; and it means "life," or "alive," which I also take to mean "lively, vital". Charlie, your mom's, sister's and my love for you is beyond what we can put into words. And so we talk about how incredibly blessed we are, what a gift you are. We look so forward to learning continually about you, teaching you, sharing with and supporting you, helping you see your dreams and reach for them; and seeing how many ways you surprise us, challenge us and inspire us.
[Explains to the group what they should do, i.e. read from below after each repeated "May you know."]
May you know [before each phrase]:
[After each "May you know."]
the continued love and bond of family
the love and support of intimate friends
the joy of cultivating your own loving partnership
the magic of losing yourself in play and fascination with something
the confidence and discipline to reach for your dreams
the pride in finding purpose and realizing your aspirations
the humility and strength to work through and learn from your shortcomings
the fulfillment of giving to others
the beauty in the reflection of a star on the surface of a clear mountain lake
the contentment of community
the satisfaction of taking care of your parents in their old age!
A poem from an anonymous source:
Dancing in on angel feet.
Straight from Heaven's brightest star:
What a miracle you are!
"What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Here is a remembrance in poetry about Charlie Driskell, Charlie's namesake and grandfather.
The Charlie I Knew
A walk-right-in ease that welcomed you effortlessly like
opening the door to
the aroma of homemade soup on the stove; for he had boiled
off any pretension or pettiness to serve
up what's gracious about good people: a quiet
knowing of what's in your heart and the sorrow
in his; a loving pride from his soul for
his family, yes, a distinct love for each different
one; an unswerving fix on your better sides with
an abiding acceptance of your
frailties; an ear and a hand for your troubles, and a
for your hopes.
To look for real into Charlie's eyes, to love
and be loved by him, was to know
May his name be an inspiration to you Charlie. And may that inspiration take the form of your finding in your heart, mind and soul your passions and aspirations, your unique song, and honor them in your life.
Please feel free to sing along if you know the tune. The lyrics are on the last page of your handout.
[Sing a slightly adapted version of "Sabbath Prayer" from "Fiddler on the Roof".]
May the Lord protect and defend you.
May He always shield you from shame.
May you come to be
In paradise a shining name.
May you be like Ruth and like Esther.
May you be deserving of praise.
Strengthen them, Oh Lord,
And keep them from the strangers' ways.
May God bless you and grant you long lives.
(May the Lord fulfill our Sabbath prayer for you.)
May God make you good husbands and wives.
(May He send you partners who will care for you.)
May the Lord protect and defend you.
May the Lord preserve you from pain.
Favor them, Oh Lord, with happiness and peace.
Oh, hear our family's prayer. Amen.
[Thank you and close out as you deem fit.]
BOB, SHARLOTTE AND THEA
[Presents Charlies Luis Eiland to our family and friends in attendance.]
Charlie's Home from Guatemala 5/19/06
We're back. Back from Guatemala. Back to home/family-centric life. On to new family and household rhythms....
Our journey to Guatemala to meet, welcome and gather in Charlie was fulfilling, at times magical, occasionally challenging - although not as challenging as I had feared it would be. No security issues. No apparent transitional pain for Charlie - nor for Thea. New big sister handled the travel pains with nary a complaint. We're talking about 16 hours from getting up at 2:30 a.m. in MA, through having to deplane and catch a new plane in Houston, to arriving in Guatemala City and having instantly to meet Charlie. And we're talking arrival back home at 2 a.m. after 12 hours of traveling with a luggage load too embarrassing to detail.
Charlie is a sweetheart: engaging, smiley, a tad flirtatious, mostly serene - except just before bedtime! Thea is impressively, poignantly loving, helpful, concerned - well, downright big-sisterly. But happily, still plenty little-kid-like too.
The people associated with our adoption agency - Colleen, Traci, Katy, Aida, Mary Elena, our drivers Victor and Raphael; and most of all, Bilma, Charlie's foster mother - were phenomenal. They took personally our well-being, and the efficiency of the process, to the extent they could effect it. Thea made fast friends with Teresa (see photo album) at the Weston Camino Real, and they took off running towards each other, arms wide open, each time they saw each other. Antigua, where we spent the weekend, was where we found the magic of the land - and the history, the warmth - not to mention the marketplaces!
Now home, Charlie is handling unexpectedly well a case of the chicken pox. Thea is handling with the expected disappointment our instructions not to handle, kiss or hug him. But Charlie is still content and playful, and Thea is okay with patting Charlie's sock-covered feet and blowing him kisses. Charlie has taken to his floor gym and bouncy seat. He's feeding well. And get this: in a crib in the nursery we have decorated just for him, he is sleeping through the night each night so far!
One journey has ended. Another has begun. We have left Guatemala, we four who were three. We have taken Guatemala with us.
Off to Guatemala for Baby Charlie! 5/5/06
We made it through Guatemala's PGN (Procuradoria General del Nacion) on 4/26. The next day, Charlie's birth mother signed off on the adoption, making us Charlie's legal parents. We are Mama, Daddy and sister to this little boy whom we have yet to meet! Surreal.
We have been consoling ourselves with monthly pictures and positive medical updates, but by this time next week, Charlie will be in our arms. Okay, probably crying in our arms from missing his foster parents. Somehow, I think Thea will be a big comfort to him.
Behind us now are the home study and autobiographies, the financial statements, medical affidavits, criminal background checks and witness statements; and all the redo's from signatures unclear by one letter, and notary stamps too light to read with certainty....
One dives so deeply into this all-consuming process that it's easy to get lost in it, to not visualize the endpoint, the real, warm aliveness of this baby boy, our new son....
In the few days ahead, before we travel, we are information gathering, baby-paraphernalia gathering - not to mention gathering ourselves. Before we know it, those pictures in the family album on this website will be of a family of four; Thea won't be just "Baby Girl," but also "Big Sister".
Our family of three: we shall miss it. Our family of four: we shall embrace it. Guate here we come!
No Longer "Baby Boy," Now It's... 3/29/06
Charles Luis Eiland. After Sharlotte's dad, Charles Lewis Driskell. We will have two children, each named after a grandfather. Decision on Sharlotte's birthday. Happy Birthday, Honey!
Liz Brown and Nick Durlacher Announce Their Engagement! 2/14/06
Our big, heart-filled congratulations to Lizzy and Nick on their engagement! We are so excited, hopeful and confident for them. Very special Valentine's Day wishes to you both. And welcome to the family, Nick!
Bob, Sharlotte and Thea adoption-matched! 1/6/06
Our Happy New Year blessing, combined with Bob's Happy Birthday gift. This evening we learned from our adoption agency in Texas we have been matched with a healthy baby boy birth-named Edgar Manuel Xocol Sohom, born on December 29, 2005 in the town of Mazatenango, Guatemala, and weighing 5 lbs., 14 oz. You can see his picture in the Photo Albums section. We received photos by email of the baby and his birth mother, for whom this is obviously a difficult time. We are excited; we are humbled.
Bob, Sharlotte and Thea almost "paper-ready" for Guatemalan Adoption, 12/9/05
We had to do many of our statements three times to get them right: notary seal not legible, not every letter in a signature legible, signature doesn't match the full name in a notary seal.... But finally it looks like we're one approved set of fingerprints away from being able to send our whole package to Guatemala for translation, acceptance and matching. We're hoping to be matched by year's end. We haven't yet decided whether or not to leave the choice of gender in Fate's inscrutable hands. Maybe Thea will soon know to expect a little brother, which is where we're leaning, or maybe not....
An update from cousin Randy Eiland's family, 12/5/05
"Carol Dee (CD) and I are doing great, although she had foot surgery last Friday to correct a break from about 18 months ago that had not healed correctly - a horse accident, of course. Unlike the last time, she decided to take time off from being a 1st grade teacher so the bone will not be compromised..she did not take her Doc's advice to take time off last time and that is probably why it didn't heal correctly. I am still a Director with the American Endurance Ride Conference and ride although not at the level of CD and the younger kids. I am still very much involved in commercial real estate which allows me both time and money to pursue the fun things in life.
"My oldest, Amber (28), has two sons - Zak will be 4 in March and River Wolfe is 16 months old. She and her husband, Robert, both work for Sam's. Amber is a Floor Supervisor and Robert is a Warehouse Supervisor. They live in El Paso a couple miles from us so we see them quite often and baby sit on demand :^) which is fun.
"Jerett (25) lives in Atlanta and is a General Manager of a Ryan's Steakhouse near Duluth, home of the "runaway bride". He is doing quite well and has been on the "fast track" with Ryans since joining their company less than a year ago.
"Cody (19) also is in Atlanta, living with Jerett, and attending college (his first semester). Like all graduating HS seniors, he wanted to go away for college and Atlanta seemed a natural since his older brother lived there and had already "been there done that" with college. Fortunately for us, he doesn't like living in Atlanta and is moving back to El Paso this month, after finals, and will attend UTEP next semester before probably transferring to New Mexico State University.
"Bailey Rose (15) is a sophomore in HS. She is very active in FFA, endurance riding, and showing. She, CD, & Cody continue to compete on a regional and national level in the sport and she is the highest mileage Junior Rider in the history of the American Endurance Ride Conference on her mare, Barbi. Bailey also shows on her other horse, Brio. She has been an exceptional student as well as a horseperson.
"My mother's side of the family had a Family Reunion in Charleston so we decided to take our summer vacation back east. Usually we travel for two weeks in the west and northwest so this was something very different, but a great opportunity to show where I grew up, etc. Also, most of my Mom's family have been to El Paso in the last few years so CD and kids knew them but they had never met the Eiland side of the family. We met Stephanie in Memphis and spent a couple of hours with her, then proceeded to Washington, DC for several days before going to Charleston. I had called Uncle Fred before the trip and we, and he, were anxious to meet. It had been 20 years since I had seen Uncle Fred so it was both exciting and rewarding for all of us. He was his charming and very active self. He looks great and one would never know his real age. We also were able to have dinner with Emily and her family as well as one of Stephanie's girls (interning in DC).
"CD & I have a niece who lives in DC so we also were able to visit with her. After 4 days in DC seeing all you could see in 4 days, we went to Logan where we spent a day and half with Uncle Eddie and Pete. That was a wonderful experience, too. Since I grew up in Logan, I was close to Uncle Eddie and it was great to see and visit with him and Pete. He still works every day (ala Poppa Rudy) but did take the day off to act as our guide around Logan. He is still active and sharp. Since Aunt Evelyn was a member of my mother's extended family, both Uncle Eddie and Pete also attended the Family Reunion in Charleston, so we had a lot of time to rehash memories, etc. The best part of the entire trip for me was that CD and the kids were able to meet and visit with my Dad's side of the family.
My Mother is doing great for 83. She is very active, plays cards with her friends twice a week - one day at her home and another day at a friend's home. She has her ailments but they have not slowed her down...she travels to Nevada once or twice a year with a friend on a gambling junket, goes to Ruidoso, NM several times a year (the Mescalero Apaches have a beautiful casino and she and friends go up there for several days. She is not a big gambler, but likes to get away and enjoy the sites, shows, etc. We try to have a Family Dinner once a month with Mom, Fred and his wife, Jennifer; Dan, Farrol, and Mason; Sam & Gayle Belford (our cousins on my Mom's side), and my family."