Saturday, February 13, 2010

Though I've lived long enough to BE black history, life continues to offer up more surprises and novelty than one might ever hope to see ...

Learned from an email a few days ago that the California College of the Arts (honorary doctorate bestower) did not expect me to arrive on May 14th of this year, but a year hence -- in 2011! It was a good thing the good president caught it in time. I might have shown up in the middle of this spring's commencement and caused a real ruckus! Truth is that I don't think that I ever got to the second paragraph of that astounding letter announcing my being named before "whatever were they thinking" clicked in, and total disbelief took over. It was only after this second letter arrived that I sat quietly with the first and allowed myself to take it all in -- the honor, the wonder, and the fact that I must wait another year and write -- not 6,000 but 12,000 speeches in order to get the one to toss!

But before we arrive there, this spring I will be following in the footsteps of countless enlightened women from the stage and screen (and maybe even the local PTA) as a member of the cast of Eve Ensler's prize-winning and much-heralded "Vagina Monologues", directed by Kathy McCarty. How 'bout them apples? This production will be held in the historic and magnificent Craneway Pavilion of Ford Point in Richmond; a benefit for violence prevention programs here in the city.

Dorian is taking the news of her setback well, supported by a remarkable staff of social workers and physiotherapists at Elmwood Nursing Home in Berkeley. They have been phenomenal in a world that can be so frightening. She is being allowed to have a couple of weeks of feeling triumphant in that she's using a walker and has managed to cover 300 feet in one session, and to walk up four steps at a time with close supervision. At least she will go into this new round of surgery understanding that she will walk again because now she has, and that my second floor apartment is no longer unreachable. She speaks now of when she will undergo the surgical corrections, and not if that will happen. I credit a sensitive and empathetic staff for this. Her mother was all sympathy with more tears of disappointment than she, herself, was experiencing. Her resilience leaves me in awe.

Now I'm off to visit with my remarkable daughter -- bringing fresh laundry to replace the items picked up yesterday at Elmwood -- and a Valentine's Day remembrance. Tomorrow family members will share dinner with her on the lovely patio at the nursing home. We'll bring gifts and chocolates and love enough to get us all through the ensuing several months and on into whatever comes next.

On Tuesday I'll meet Ann Notarangelo, weekend news anchor for CBS's KPIX-TV of San Francisco, at Port Chicago for another video interview. This story is finally being given full prominence in the lore of the nation. Though it comes too late for some, it changed history for the many by bringing about the end of racial segregation of our armed forces in 1948. Helping to raise awareness as a part of the observation of Black History this way is a privilege to be held sacred.

Then I'll get to work reading Eve Ensler's work in preparation for a budding stage career!

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