Archive for October, 2015

Making Time for Fun!

Last weekend was very special! My daughters and I drove from our home near Akron, Ohio to Chicago, about 7 hours away, to see a play at The Lifeline Theater in the Rogers Park neighborhood. This play was a world premier of an adaptation of Miss Buncle’s Book, written by my favorite author, D.E. Stevenson. And it was wonderful! I had wondered a bit how we would like it. I’ve been reading Stevenson since the late sixties and at times have felt I had almost memorized the book! That’s not usually a recipe for liking its translation into another media. But Christina Calvit’s adaptation was magic!

Me oct 17 2015 at Lifeline Theater in Chicago with Alice and Emily

The story of Miss Buncle’s Book is a comedy which is sometimes very close to a farce and also has a bit of romance in it and poetic justice as well. Barbara Buncle realizes suddenly that the depression is affecting her dividends and wonders what can be done to improve the situation. She abandons the thought of keeping chickens because her maid Dorcas doesn’t like the idea at all and instead, decides to try to write a book. And being convinced that she has no imagination, she writes the book about her own little village of Silverstream which becomes Copperfield in her novel.(And she becomes John Smith.) But if Barbara has no imagination, she certainly has an astonishing ability to understand character and depict it with photographic veracity. When her friends begin to recognize themselves in this surprising best seller they are furious, many of them at least. They try to surpress the book. They try to unearth the actual identity of the author. They think they know who it is and plan a suitable revenge, but of course, they have chosen the wrong person.

Halfway through the book Barbara has an imaginary “Golden Boy” dance through the village piping a tune which wakes up everyone and they begin to act in unprecedented ways….And then, the actual villagers begin to do some of the same things as their fictional counterparts. It becomes funnier every moment and you wonder where the story can end.

Meanwhile, Barbara is doing some transformation of her own. Her confidence grows with her success and her acquaintance with her publisher. Suggestions from friends and her new affluence send her up to London to have her hair waved and consult a very clever dressmaker who helps her to buy a new and flattering wardrobe. And she begins to write a second book….a book about a woman who wrote a book about a woman who wrote ……..

If this sounds intriguing to you, I hope you will buy a copy of the book. It has been reprinted by at least three publishers in the last few years. And it is delightfully entertaining, as is the play based upon it.


You can read more about it and see some pictures at the link above.

Besides the fun of the play, my daughters and I had hours and hours together to just chat and talk and it was an amazing joy! We had a lovely dinner at a pub nearby which offered a 20# discount for people going to the theater. It was called the Act One Pub.

Here is a link to the restaurant: http://www.maynestage.com/the-pub.

And if you have a chance to see this play, or anything at this theater, I think you will NOT be disappointed! Alice, Emily and I were all a bit sad we don’t live closer to this stage, or they were not in Cleveland or Akron! They even have a wonderful program of plays and workshops for children…..I think the people who live near them are lucky!

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Waxing Philosophical

Art Quote Gandalf

I think I am finally emerging from the throes of my strange two week cold. I didn’t believe it would last this long, but it has. And my dear son has had some serious health issues but is also somewhat better.

In the meantime, wonderful things have been happening. I see lots of people doing good things to make one another feel better and support one another and it makes me think of the Gandalf quote I began with.

And we are having more parties and nice events like apple picking going on. Paul and I used to pick our own apples every autumn. It was always a wonderful day together, spreading a blanket under a full laden Jonathan apple tree under the blue skies and mellow warm sunshine of October. Sometimes our little dog Csapi would lie on the blanket surveying the world…. This year Emily and her family carried on the tradition.

Clara oct 2015 appling with EM

And of course, we continue to have parties! I think my dd Alice is by now thoroughly worn out. She hosted a birthday party for Stephen the weekend before last and one last Saturday and on Sunday attended the 40th Wedding Anniversary party for her parents in law and afterwards the birthday party for her dear friend Aniko’s daughter Noemi. And I think there were a few other cousin birthdays in between. We would be a little calm, but this coming weekend Alice, Emily and I are driving to Chicago to see the production of the new play based on D.E. Stevenson’s book Miss Buncle’s Book. It’s at the Lifeline Theater and I can hardly wait. Then we’re staying overnight in Evanston and driving back the next morning.

Stephen october 2015 turning 5 on the 6th

Could you stand in this position?

stephen oct 2015 lovely stan h

Stephen had a wonderful day at Stan Hywet Hall where they have a new playground, plus all the wonderful and beautiful things they have always had……

Stephen oct 2015 running thru the allee at Stan Hywet

Here he is running down the birch alleƩ.

stephen oct 2015 flight suit

Wearing the NASA flight suit I gave him. It was a big hit!

Life is a wonderful (in the literal meaning of the word) blend of challenges and blessings and the only adequate response seems to be a “thank you” in the depths of ones heart. This sounds like a cliche, perhaps, but it also feels true to me.

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