Why, Oh Why, Oh Why-O?
Why would anyone take off for a weekend to Ohio? Good question! You're not the first person to ask! Actually, it was quite logical. I'm doing research on a book about Georgia Griffith, who lives near Columbus...and Jeri was working for the summer for a theatre near Columbus, so by going to Ohio for a weekend, we could visit Georgia and see Jeri's last play, killing two birds with the same stone. Walt could also, then, let me fly home alone while he drove back across the country with Jeri.
We took the red eye flight out of Sacramento...left at 11:30 p.m., flew to Chicago, staggered to our next plane, and then finished the trip to Columbus. I slept on the plane, but Walt didn't. When we got to Columbus, we had to wait 3 hours ('til the weekend rates kicked in) before we could pick up our car, so Walt passed the time by sleeping on the floor of the baggage check-out area.
We drove the 40 miles to Georgia's town and found her little house. She lives a house that was built on the land her parents owned when she was born, nearly 66 years ago, in a house that was built after her father died. She and her mother lived here together until her mother's death a few years ago. There was some concern about what to do about Georgia at that time. She is blind and deaf and there was concern about how she would live alone, but thanks to the dedication of her sister Bernie, neighbors, and friends like MaryAlyce, Georgia is able to be live independently. She earns her living by working for CompuServe, and watching her manipulate her many computers made me feel pretty computer-stupid, I'll tell you! She can do more blind than I can do sighted.
We stayed that night with Georgia and in the morning, drove to Newark, where Jeri had been working as lighting designer for Weathervane Playhouse all summer. We had dinner with Jeri and her friends, Rob and Jeremy, drinking our Merlot from Tupperware pudding cups, because their roommate had already left to go home, taking his wine glasses with him.
That night we saw She Loves Me, the final production for Weathervane. Jeri doubles as lighting designer and clarinet player, so she played with the orchestra that night as well.
In the morning, Walt and I returned to Georgia's. I spent the afternoon interviewing Georgia's sister, Bernie and going through scrapbooks and other memorabilia of Georgia's. (The walls of her home are lined with awards, letters from Presidents Reagan and Clinton, photos of Georgia with the governor of Ohio, with Senator Mike DeWine, and with Colin Powell.) That night, we were meeting a lot of her family and friends and going out to dinner. Georgia's frequent traveling companion, Chuck Lynd and his wife came out from Columbus. It was Chuck's birthday, so we all helped him celebrate.
The next day, we packed up, said our good-byes, and drove back to Newark, where I left Walt with Jeri. I found my way back through the cornfields to Columbus and after a delay on the runway, finally flew off back to Sacramento, arriving around 11:30 p.m. to a cloud of mosquitoes and baggage that was 30 minutes getting off the plane.
It was quite a full weekend, but we accomplished a lot, got to play proud parents, and generally enjoyed ourselves. The plan is to return in the spring for a more lengthy stay.