No, it’s not raining today, though it is overcast. But after the euphoria of the beautiful concert with the kids yesterday, the jubilation and joy of playing music of the African diaspora, the satisfaction of adding yet more bricks to the Nunya Academy in Ghana from the money raised, I was allowed exactly one evening to exhale in satisfaction before saddling up the next wild horse of the school year— the Holiday Plays.
I decided to do The Month Brothers, a folk tale I had done twice before in 1987 and 1997. I looked back in my School Business folder on my desktop, hoping against hope that I’d find the script. I clicked on the date order and alas! the oldest thing in the folder was from 1998! Missed it by one year.
So step two was to go rummaging in my paper file folders. Seems simple, but the downside of longevity (and mild compared to the alternative!) is the accumulation of things and the price of not being the most thoroughly organized person on the planet when it comes to filing things away in rememberable and logical places. I rifled through five boxes in the hall closet and was about to go down into the dark depths of the basement when I remembered a box under my desk with mostly school things. On top of the box were folders and I kid you not, the first folder had the 1987 version of this play!!! And then opening the box, I actually had files marked Holiday Plays: 1975-1992. 1992-2007. I’m not as disorganized as a I thought! And though the order was not consistent within in each big folder, I found the 1997 one and Bingo!, there was the second script.
Meanwhile, while looking I found little bits of delightful trivia—a letter I wrote to my parents on the back of a dittoed school newsletter, another school newsletter that showed school starting on Sept. 9th and ending June 12th that I will use as ammunition in my battle to get admin to stop starting so early (Aug. 16th this year!), a class photo that challenged me to identify each kid in it.
I have been criticized by some (i.e., my wife!) for being a bit too pack-rattish and holding on to too much and though I definitely can do some purging (and have periodically through the years), it gives me great pleasure to uncover these little unexpected treasures. I’m thinking that the first six months of my eventual retirement will be going through them all page by page on some rainy days, still holding on to some and finally discarding others. And I’m talking about workshop outlines for every Orff Course I’ve given since 1976, school planning books with records of my classes since 1975, summer course brochures and notes and Orff national Conference books, scripts to the 96 plays we’ve put on at the school, letters from appreciative students, cassette tape recordings from music classes and summer camps. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Having dipped down into that rabbit hole, I had to pull myself up and get back on solid land and actually write the next script. But if Fate is so kind as to spare my house fire, flood or other catastrophe, I look forward to the eventual descent into the long, long years of a profession that gives me more pleasure each day than the day before. Not a single person cares, nor should care, that I remembered Will singing A You’re Adorable in1997 or Joey’s line as July in the 1987 version, but hey, it gives me a little taste of pleasure.
On to the script!