I must admit I have not looked forward to turning 60. It wasn’t because I feared it. Quite the opposite: I never thought of it all. It was an impossiblity. 2014 was never meant to happen – not for me, at least.
But here I am – in the carefully curated white suit that has become a fixture of my annual inch toward extinction.
Here I am, typically, the first to arrive and the last to leave. (Managing to host the party at home helps with that) After prepping all day, it is finally time to get into costume.
One truly weird factor were the number of people who I hadn’t seen in 40 odd years . Oliver (pictured with me above) and I reconnected after nearly 45 years! He, like myself, was first generation Everyman Company, femously playing Bernardo in Jonathan’s classic staging of West Side Story back in 1969 in which I, at the age of 15, played a humble dress store manniquin… (brilliantly, btw).
The next generation of Everyman (starting 1974) shifted to Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge (and, of course, Coney Island). There were people from that generation, too. Linda, another dear friend I had not seen in many years (having, oddly, crossed paths with her in Central Florida around 2001.) was there and finally got to meet Oliver. This was all very odd.
Here’s a snap from the following evening picturing 3 veterans from the 1974-76 Everyman seasons: Clare Ultimo, myself and Linda Natoli aka Linda Bennet.
And here are another pair of dear old friends, neither of whom I’d seen in 40+ years – AND who likely knew none of the other friends attending who dated that far back. Chris, Michael and I were part of the self-styled intelligentsia in our HS class of ’72. Neither of them were involved with Everyman but we overlapped in a 100 other ways – from the school newspaper to the debate club to the honor society etc. We were also the only three from our graduating class who went on to Columbia.
Of course, the evening would not have been complete without Seamas Bertie (aka James Glavin, class of ’72 as well) James and I used to play together when we were 5 years old. Of course, we drifted away – even though in the same class in high school we had little in common and rarely spoke. 4 or 5 years ago he also re-appeared and has since become one of my closest friends.
Ah, finally, the birthday shot by which I would enjoy being remembered!
And, of course, the enchanting young woman I am so proud to call my wife and without whom this eventful day might never have been reached.