Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday Memories Encore
Of High School Stairs

That movie, Fame didn't come out of someone's wild imagination.  It was a real school and a real place and yes there was dancing during lunchtime but not in the street and certainly not on top of taxis.  Those guys needed to make a living.  

In the street there was pot-smoking, hanging, walking and, according to some rumors, the pouring of bubble soap into the expensive public fountain that heralded the prestigious theater across the street.

Photo: Phil Posner

This Saturday night was the 40th reunion of the class of 1975 - one of the classes that partly inspired that movie.  Lots of picture-taking and memories shared, and maybe some secret regret none of us knew enough to enjoy those days more then.  (Well, Youth is wasted on the young.)

But, like Joni Mitchell said about memories being like tattoos, the faces, the joy, the embraces, the LOUD ENERGY (as the young waitress remarked) were the same.  

 photo: A. Skylar

Surrounded by a city of constant challenges, we traveled on subways, buses and ferries from the five corners of the city to Performing Arts.  It was there we had safety and respite and a home to become ourselves.  We were barely not children, but practicing our disciplines like adults - picking up the instrument, the ballet shoes, the script every day and working at it like professionals.  

 photo: A. Skylar

And there was so much less time for bullshit because there was only so much time for art before we got back on the subways, the buses, the ferries to return to the five corners of the city.  And the next day we'd do it all over again. 

 photo: M. Andreano

With special love to Yeudi who survived with me, the cute violinist I still adore, and the pretty oboe player who I'm delightfully back in touch with.  

And in memory of the Prodigy who recently died too young, too soon, from cancer.


Originally posted November 28, 2010:

Stairs in the former High School of Performing Arts 
on 46th Street

My withdrawal to the back staircase during lunch hour had nothing to do with any sense of integrity or autonomy. It was a full body retreat. I just gave up trying to fit in with the kids who seemed to have figured out how to be human.

So I sat by myself and to this day I wondered what I was eating for lunch since I don't remember anyone at home making any more food during those days.

Not sure how it started but the cute violinist came across me one day and asked if he could join me. He too needed a break from attempting to fit into a scene completely foreign to him.

Soon after, the accordion player who was the only one in the school found us. I think the cute violinist had said something.

The 13 year old Prodigy sent to New York by himself, living in a walk-up railroad on the east side by himself, taking care of himself by himself, began to eat with us.

Then so did the pretty oboe player, who the Prodigy liked.

I had without realizing made some friends.

Related Posts:

Rare Friendships: Coming Home

Sunday Memories: All Together Again In Jutta's Kitchen