Last night I had a wonderful, wonderful time attending the spring musical at my best friend's daughter's school. This is Kayleigh in the hallway at Sacred Heart.
I've been BFF with Kayleigh's mom Connie since grade three. That makes 35 years, in case anyone's counting. When we were growing up, we lived two streets away from each other, and after school we either went to her house or to my house. That kept up until we reached high school, when we did the much more wordly thing of simply walking home together, then standing in the driveway talking for about an hour.
This is a picture of us from a pre-Oscar party we went to a few weeks ago. See how we try to act like grown-ups? When really we're always the giggly friends we've always been...
I was Connie's maid of honor, and she was my matron of honor. She flew many times to visit me when I moved to Toronto. She once flew me home for one of my yearly visits back east! When her daughter was born, I was smitten. Kayleigh has always been very, very special to me.
When Brad and I moved to Halifax in 2001, I was thrilled to be able to go to most of Kayleigh's concerts, etc. Especially when she started school at Sacred Heart, a beautiful old school in the south end of Halifax. Of course, having been part of theatre and musicals when I went to school, I can say with certainty that the level of performance at Kayleigh's school is astonishing. It completely blew me away when she was younger, and now that she's headed into her teens, this year's musical version of Little Women had me in tears several times, from the strength of the performances alone.
Pictured here are the March women, clockwise - Meg (Marianna Carrera), Beth (Julia Redmond), Marmee (Sarah MacGregor), Jo (Emma Strubank) and Amy (Clare Heggie.)
Photo by Barbara Martell
Connie's daughter played Braxton, the villain in Jo's fictional stories. She was hilarious. Here's a part of the review from the Halifax Chronicle Herald today:
"Jo travels to New York City in order to visit publishers and expand her horizons. There she stays at a boarding house run by the eccentric Mrs. Kirk (Lauren Stuppiello) and befriends the dignified and reserved Professor Bhaer (Charlotte Grace). It is in Mrs. Kirk’s house that Jo delivers the news of her visit to the editor of the Weekly Volcano Press, where she hopes to publish her story.
On stage Jo’s Operatic Tragedy is acted out. It is the story of the young Clarissa (Min Baek) who must travel through a dangerous forest and across the moors to escape from the evil Braxton.
She comes across hags, trolls, and a lone knight in this amazing scene sure to enthrall. Jo continues to relentlessly pursue her goal of having a novel published as she and her sisters encounter adventure and friendship, success and failure, tragedy and love." - Christina Redmond, Chronicle Herald, Apr. 10, 2008
This is Kayleigh in part of her Braxton costume during a rehearsal for Little Women.
Besides being a big night for Kayleigh, her mom was in charge of the opening night gala. At our weekly lunch a few weeks ago, Connie told me she'd volunteered to organize it, then said, "I haven't the slightest clue why I did that. Someone should just shoot me." We talked about opening galas I'd worked as an usher in Toronto, and I have to say as my sister and I entered the beautiful meeting room at Sacred Heart on the main floor, I thought Connie's gala was as marvellous as any of the ones I've seen.
There was a pianist playing lovely standards like 'Satin Doll', a wine bar, punch, fruit trays, cheese trays, beautiful vases of tulips everywhere. I can tell you after the winter we've had, those flowers of spring almost made me weep. Connie wore a practical but gorgeous beaded tank top and dress pants, and of course her sexy boots.
Her mom was there from New Brunswick, helping out for the gala. My mom and my sister's boyfriend met us at the reception, and Connie's mom and my mom kept hugging and laughing as they hadn't seen each other in about 10 years. And both of them said, "You haven't changed one bit!" And it's true.
This is a picture of Connie, her mom Marilyn and Kayleigh from a few years ago.
My heart really tugged when I saw an elderly grandmother seated on a sofa during the reception. Suddenly I missed my gram so much. And when Connie's mom hugged my mom, she said, "Paulette, I'm so sorry about your mom." And I had to fight, fight, fight not to cry. Normally I can't win that battle, but I'm very proud to say I actually held it together.
Truly, it was so wonderful being all together, the joy of the evening won over my sudden longing for gram.
I loved sitting with my mom during the performance, thinking of all those other performances she watched when my sister and I were Kayleigh's age.
After the performance, we gathered again in the reception room for more refreshments, including a chocolate fountain. Connie flitted to and fro in her sexy boots, taking care of everything. Truly the Uber Con, said my sister (with Newt, below.)
The cast joined us in their more modern dresses, and my heart warmed when Kayleigh saw me across the room and brightened and waved. Not every thirteen-year-old in a room full of peers would be so happy to see her mom's friend. But she's not every thirteen-year-old.