Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Rite of Passage Nine –A Shoal of Two–
(1955 – 1957) Age: 21-23
Q: “Giving up” for someone else: Have you ever asked someone to give up his or her future in order to be with you? Did you ever ‘give up’ your plans for another…how did it turn out?
I was awkward and embarrassed. I had never had to ask someone to make such a choice. I needed to have Treena choose between marrying me and the chance to be a Star in theater and film. She had proven the latter ability with her weekly repertoire performances with the Denville Players in the Channel Islands where she had also won the first Miss Jersey Battle of the Flowers. She had gone on to have a screen test with J. Arthur Rank the British film production company.
She was young, talented and generally regarded as beautiful. It was this combination that scared me. If she did, somehow succeed in her theatrical career, where would that leave me? How could I survive in her shadow…would my love for her be drowned out by the roar of the adoring crowds?
And so I asked her, in painfully halting words, if she would give it all up so that our marriage might survive.
She looked me right in the eye…and said…”Yes”.
Such is first love but what about the long haul and also, was my request either just, wise or even fair based, as it was, on my ongoing fear of failure…was this another race I imagined that I could lose?
Her brilliance and talent did emerge and shine brightly from time to time only to leave her (and me) wondering what might have happened had she not chosen me?
And so…what about now?
Treena’s poem and the title of her book of poems, ‘Substance in Shadow’ says it all. What I had imagined came to pass, in reverse! With her theatrical ability she produced me and made me into something like a star that attracted the limelight of public attention that always casts a shadow over those close by.
Treena endured that shadow –only to emerge from time to time to spread her glorious wings. She did regret the loss and I did my very best to include her and recognize her in whatever I did because I had asked her to give it up. I was the root cause of her regret.
There remained until even her last day…the essential ‘star’ quality. Her audience on that day were nurses, doctors, family, friends, janitorial staff, and those whoever came near to witness her incredible encore when she had awoken after three days on a respirator –yanked the tube from her mouth and in no time was delighting everyone with her love of life and her delight in us all.
We laughed, we cried with joy at her unexpected return and when all the love was declared and all the hope restored she made her final bow and quietly left the stage.
She was a star and our marriage of almost 60 years survived. I’m a very grateful man to have had the close company of such an extraordinary woman.
P.S This week I read Treena’s poem Substance in Shadow