Monday, December 16, 2019

Personal Days Tied Into Historic Days

I number about a dozen and a half dates as important milestones in my life. Birthdays and anniversaries of family members account for most of them. Today, for example, December 16, is special as it marks the day Ellie was born in 1981. Next month, on January 28, Gilda and I will celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary.

December 16. Separated by 44 days from January 28.

Until I read the accompanying linked article I had not realized those dates were forever tied into one of the penultimate battles of World War II. On December 16 the German army launched a counteroffensive against Allied forces in Belgium and Luxembourg. It became known as the Battle of the Bulge. The battle, which resulted in a crucial victory for the Allies in the snow covered cold terrain, is said to have concluded on January 28 (

I’m sure most of you could find significant events on your milestone dates (for years I used to reference my March 6 birthday as the day the Alamo fell). So take a few moments to research how your lives have intertwined with history.

The Last Word: Exiting a Second Stage production of the “The Underlying Chris” last Thursday night I started a conversation with two women ahead of me. One asked me, “What was the last word of the play?” I did a double take. I was discombobulated for a moment, unable to answer.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know. It was because five days earlier at a Playwright Horizons production of “The Thin Place” I had uttered the last word of the play from my front row seat in the audience ( Could these ladies, strangers to me, have witnessed my off-Broadway acting debut? No, they were not there. I shortly regained my composure and to their amusement explained my momentary dumbfoundedness.

Front Row Events: My brush with stardom was the latest in front row happenings. At another Playwrights Horizons production at which I again was sitting in the first row, an actor with excellent elocution but unrestrained expectoration showered me with, er, spittle.

Some 50 years ago, during a Broadway performance of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” Rosencrantz, or was it Guildenstern, tumbled off the stage and landed in my lap. I quickly eased him back onto the stage with nary a thank you from Rosencrantz, or Guildenstern.

I, on the other hand, apologized to Dick Kniss, the long-time bass player of Peter, Paul and Mary. During a concert in Saratoga Springs, also some 50 years ago, from my front row seat I made eye contact with him and caused him to miss a beat in one of the songs. As I had a college newspaper press pass at the time I managed to go backstage after the concert and expressed my regrets.