Picking up from yesterday –
I was asked what I loved most about the program. And what I came up with was that you could never out-run the number of opportunities.
No matter how hard and fast you chased them, there were unending opportunities. So you were never done.
There was always something to paint or hammer or hang. There was always another monologue or song to learn.
If you prepared something to perform, B would make sure you got to perform it. She even put on multiple student-written plays. If you took initiative, whatever you wanted to do, she would make sure you did it.
And I loved that. You could not outwork the program. (And trust me, I tried!) But since she and her team lets it grow to however far you’re willing to take it, it is impossible.
I never wanted that party to end. I lingered ’til the bitter end when the building closed (as did a fair-sized group).
It was almost as though if the party never ended, none of this would really be happening. I still can’t exactly explain why it hit so many of us so hard that she’s retiring. The truth is, whenever I visit Ohio, I always try to visit B, but I almost never go see a show anymore.
So, what’s really changing? I’ll still get to see her just as I do now. But I don’t know. Almost every former student I talked to was a little shaken up. We all just kind of believed that she would be teaching there until the day we died. None of us can imagine that program without her. And while we may not be going through the program anymore, I think we just like knowing that it exists the same way it did for us.
But she’s setting a great tone to be positive toward the future and believe that the new teacher will make something great – something not to be compared to the old program, but whatever great thing he decides to make.
Another thing that was crazy about the party was not only did it feel like we were saying goodbye to B (even though I will certainly see her soon when she’s in L.A.), it felt like we were saying goodbye to each other all over again. I was kind of like, “Hey, mind, didn’t I already graduate? Why are you making me feel so sentimental and sad?”
I hadn’t seen many of these people in years. So, if I don’t see them again, is it going to affect my day-to-day life all that much? If I haven’t been pining for them before this day, surely life will go on the same after.
But as I said in yesterday’s post, there’s something so comforting about being with everyone again. And really, I do feel a special bond with everyone who’s been through that program. It was sad to have all that love back in one place for only a fleeting moment, just to say goodbye everyone all over again.
B and her husband were great about not being lingerers at the end of the night. To be respectful to the center where it was being held, when the party was over, they went home. They didn’t wait for the lights to be turned off and us to all be practically kicked out as we were. They quietly slipped out.
Some of us noticed as we wanted to say goodbye one last time. I just ran over to their house, ’cause I knew I could not get on the plane for California without saying goodbye one last time. At their house, I lingered all over again. I didn’t want to say goodbye, but I knew I had to.
After that, a group of people got together at an alum’s house. We all talked for a while, and ended up drawing with crayons (which is the first photo in this post). That little party was the slightest bit nerve-wracking for me, ’cause it was full of all these great people who came before me.
I felt like a dorky freshman at a cast party all over again, wondering what to say to the cool seniors – even though we’re adults now and I should be able to hold my own at a party with other adults.
Before you knew it, at 5:30am the festivities were done. We all headed our separate ways (or not too separate – 3 of us would be flying to Los Angeles later in the day).
Overall, the days from the reading to the end of the after-party were all fantastic, and really, basically magical.
I am very, very grateful that I got to be a part of it.