friday five: new experiences

Dorcas brings us a thought-provoking, challenging, and fascinating Friday Five today. She and her spouse took their 4-year-old granddaughter (who loves Mozart) to a symphony featuring Mozart’s Requiem. Dorcas says, “It was pure delight to watch her enjoying brand-new sights, sounds and surroundings.” Thus the Friday Five: This experience led me to remembering times of discovery, of new experiences.  Some were my own experiences and some were remembered from my children, or those of others.  Share with us today about five memorable moments of insight, discovery, awareness–from childhood or later, something you experienced or something you shared with someone else.

I wrote a couple weeks ago about wishing I could experience certain things like Jane Eyre for the first time, again. I also wrote recently about my first Pentecost service in a church that follows the liturgical calendar. It’s hard to remember those first times, sometimes. They’re just happening. But I’ll give it a shot.

1) Godspell: My dad taught high school, so I grew up going to high school plays. The first one I remember was in the seventies; I must have been about 4. It was Godspell and I was fascinated, mesmerized, and hooked. My parents would have prepared us and I’m sure we already knew the soundtrack well which would have been helpful. I remember clearly “Day by Day” and going out and meeting the actors afterward and being a little afraid of John the Baptist.

2,3) Shakespeare: My very first experience with Shakespeare was again a high school play at my dad’s school, though this was the missionary school, so it was a close community and I knew some of the actors. I was in fifth grade, I think. It was Much Ado About Nothing. My mom prepped us for it by reading the Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare version. I remember enjoying it very much, but understanding very little. (Later, Branagh’s Much Ado was the first Shakespearean film I watched over and over.)
My senior year of college I took the Shakespeare’s Tragedies class. I remember near the end of that course, I sat and read Titus Andronicus (of all things!) like I was reading anything else. I could just sit and read Shakespeare. I didn’t get every word or anything, but I understood what was happening and laughed at the jokes. It was the feeling that I really had learned something in my four years of college and I could do something I hadn’t been able to do before.

4) Van Gogh: For someone who grew up exploring the world, I knew very little about the visual arts. My mom would have liked to do the museums, but my dad had little patience for them and, perhaps to my regret now, we kids sided with him (Don’t get me wrong–we did the big ones. We saw the Sistine Chapel and Mona Lisa, etc.). My college roommate and her mom took me to a Van Gogh exhibit. Wow. I didn’t know art was like that. To this day, Van Gogh is my favorite.

5) New York City: When I was in my mid-twenties, My mom and I took a trip to the East Coast. We had a crazy start, getting stuck in the airport in Minneapolis and not getting to New York City until 2:00 am or so. I was mesmerized from the first moments by the energy that is New York City. We went to a matinee of Master Class with Maria Callas starring the late Dixie Carter in an intimate theater and that evening went to Les Miserables in a big, splashy venue. We walked through central park and went to a deli late at night and just did New York City. And we found the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (Madeleine L’Engle’s church) and ate at V&T Pizza, a restaurant she mentions in A Severed Wasp, and we looked at each other and said, “Let’s have a glass of wine.” There was something about that moment, that restaurant, and New York City that said, it’s time, the Baptists aren’t right, and it’s okay to have a glass of wine. It was still several years before either of us drank on a moderate, but regular basis, but that was the moment we broke out and it allowed us to enjoy wine as we visited people on that trip. I love London and Paris and Chicago and Boston and even my own LA, but there’s something about New York City.

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4 Responses to friday five: new experiences

  1. Terri says:

    oh, I love New York CIty, too! How delightful that you were exposed to so much theater and the arts as a child, I had to discover them on my own…

  2. It’s time to have a glass of wine! What a beautiful metaphor for new experiences in general. I also like the picture of you reading Shakespeare like you would read anything else and laughing at the jokes.

  3. what lovely arts memories! I first met Godspell at church camp and it’s a precious remembrance.

  4. Nicole says:

    I’ve always loved the wine story about you and your mom. Yay for small rebellions! 🙂

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