Tuesday, April 13, 2010
After a day's leave of absence... Vale Billy.
Today began well with looking forward to a trip to Avenue Clinic to see doctors and discuss current shaking hands and anxiety attacks. Was a bit disappointed that the appointment clashed with yoga class at Beleura but relieved at the same time that my Swinburne Faculty meeting had been cancelled (due to overwhelming excitement!). Was sitting with knitting in hand in waiting room and decided a newspaper was a better option given my tendency to drop stitches. Well from that moment my day took a change of direction... a sweet/sad turn.
An old friend, (most recently an acquaintance due to my lack of contact) died last NY's Eve. I had no bloody idea! I thought I had been reading the dailies cover to cover from January AND throughout my hospital stay. I guess I did have a few days off Xmas and New Year as I was battling with oncoming emotional crash and this is how I must have missed the news. Not only did I not hear that William (Billy) had died but I had also missed his funeral at St. Pats. I guess I am getting towards the age when we start reading the obits and the death notices (but hey so soon?) Seeing the news today that there was to be a memorial/tribute at the Maj this afternoon it was obvious I had to attend.
I guess the trip last week to the Maj was in readiness for this return visit. Whereas last week I revelled in being "just an audience member", today I truly grieved at being an outsider. Unlike most people there who had filled the cathedral, I had not had time to come to terms with the loss of Billy May. Australia (and the theatre world) has lost a great producer and luminous presence, and now say farewell to my lost adolescent dreams.
You promised me the world dearest Billy, and believed that I could be a star when no-one else had that faith. If only I had trusted and listened to your wisdom and was prepared to take that leap of faith into the unknown, but hey I was 18 and you my dear, only 21. Such big plans... too big for my small mind to comprehend.
As was often recalled today, "nothing was ever impossible for you... you made the dreams come true." Thank you for sharing a very special dream with me, and for bringing magic into my son's life. He adored The Hobbit and Narnia. I guess, my son grew up as your career grew and hence the distance between us. I was no longer of the theatre and you were at your dazzling best, here and overseas.
I cried today for the years I lost not keeping in contact, and for the youth we both shared. Malcolm you have a legacy that will see you through the tough times and may Dinosaurs roam the globe for years to come.
To sit and solemnly reflect on the Industry with John Michael in the bar today, and seeing the stayers rising for the standing ovation was part of a closure in my life. JMH you pieced together so many lost threads for me from my years on the outside, and your advice and wisdom I acknowledge humbly.I promise you I have learned my lesson before it is too late.
I also thank you Simon G for a magnificent tribute to end "the show", however together with the images you left me a blubbering heap (despite the wry smile at the white baby grand on stage). Just as Billy knew how to pitch... you can still sell a song buddy!
To see footage from the Broadway season of Marilyn: An American Fable and the West End production of Always was a privilege for those of us who didn't soar near the sun.
Vale my dearest Billy. You were always more than a "wedding singer" to me.