From Italy to Broadway……

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To follow the story from the beginning, click here.

Apologies, guys. I have been in hiding for a little while but I am refreshed, refueled and raring to go once more. I don’t plan on taking such a long time off from the blog again and I’ve recently decided to readjust my priorities a bit. From now on, especially from September, I will be able to focus more on my 60 Postcards project!  I simply CANNOT wait!

Last week I escaped to hang out in stylish Milan (stuck out like a sore thumb – ha) and then in the gorgeous surroundings of Lake Como for a week.  It sounds like I go away a lot, doesn’t it? I suppose with NYC, Sardinia and now this – it is a little bit true. Oh and boy, does my bank account know it. Youch. I’d be tempted to rob a bank if I wouldn’t be so tempted to write about it afterwards. Not so sly.

I had such a great week with Katie (old housemate) and The Gang (Roland, Lou, Fran, Millie and Gill). The kind of week where the focus is no longer about how many hours you can cram in the sun – it was more about embracing the views, pottering around the towns and enjoying the Italian delicacies. One of my highlights were our moments lounging in the apartment in complete silence – reading our books – happy as Larry.  Dancing in Varenna town square with the locals was another. It was Rock Night, of course. Our late night trip by taxi-boat to a lakeside party left us all buzzing with happiness, however, some of the group still felt like they were on a boat days later, haha!

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With holidays, comes time to think. With thinking, comes thinking a lot about Mum. It happens less now, but sometimes I still go to my phone on autopilot to send her a photo or an update on my trip. Looking at the views of the lake made me wish she could see it. Looking at the jewellery in the markets made me wish I could buy a necklace for her. If I’m honest, it still hurts that every time I get on a plane home, I know she won’t be here when I get back.

My Mum would have hated our journey back. And it wouldn’t have been the part where we endured sleazyjet delays (groan). She was scared of flying and hadn’t done so for many years. It wasn’t so much the flying, just that she couldn’t get out. Mum suffered from Claustrophobia. We sat in the plane for longer than expected before we took off. Wondering what was going on, we eagerly awaited an update.  I imagine most passengers would wish it had never come. The pilot explained, “We apologise for the delay, our engineers are checking the landing equipment is all in order”. SORRY, WHAT!? Cheers for that. Was there any need for mentioning the ‘LANDING’ bit? Lou and I had a giggle, but felt sorry for any nervous flyers around us. Thankfully, the landing equipment didn’t let us down.

So, as I returned to England, I’ve been excited about writing this one. It is postcard response time. About time too!!

Back in NYC, as I wandered around Broadway, I realised that the Theatres were closed. It wasn’t show time but it was my last day so with my experience of meeting ballet dancer, Steph and my link with Ballet Black, it was only right that I leave a postcard in a Theatre. As I tried to get into the entrance of one, I was stopped (pretty sharp-ish) by a man at the door. Here we go, it was summarise-60 postcards-in-one-sentence time. The man raised an eyebrow at me and directed me to the stage door. I was glad to find that it was open and with little time left, I passed it to the people in the office. I did the speech again, trying not to sound too crazy. It’s a toughie.

I never thought that this one would pay off. And what a wonderful story it came with…….

Hello Rachael 

You walked into our Stage Door of the Foxwoods theatre where Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is currently playing. I left the card on a social call board, but I think I was the only one who noticed it.
 
After perusing your blog, I felt inspired to share with you. My 92-year-old Grandmother died April 27th, 2013 in fact, so I suppose my pain is an extension of your own in a way.
 
Rita's Grandmother, Zenola

Rita’s Grandmother, Zenola

I’m unsure of what to share, but I suppose a brief summary of what a remarkable woman, my Grandmother was will suffice.
 
Her name was Zenola Elizabeth Randall, born May 14th, 1920. She was perhaps an illegitimate child of two performers of a touring carnival act circa the dust bowl era in the US. My Great-Grandmother “Madam Zenola” who “read minds” who died when my Grandmother Zenola was just 13 of pneumonia.My Great-Grandfather swallowed swords and breathed fire. They relocated to the Chicago area when my Grandmother was small. Either it was divorce or they were never properly married, but my Grandmother Zenola bounced around the Midwest until her teens with siblings in tow, a child of a tough family dynamic.
 
She married in 1942 during WWII to a Polish Boxer, My Grandfather, and bore 8 children (my father being the 7th). 
 
She was SO creative – all the Grandchildren called her “Magic Grandma” because of her clever magic tricks. I remember in my youth elaborate biblical sets, the glitter bedecked middle eastern palaces that would house shadow puppet shows.
 
I would exchange letters with her from my native Atlanta, GA to her residence in Venice, FL. She would send me word games and other puzzles that she’d invent and I would return in kind.
 
I went to her memorial service on May 18th. I flew down on the 17th on what was my 32nd birthday. I knew her passing was inevitable, but never realized how much these small memories would mean to me.
 
I suppose that for such a unique woman, with a unique name, I’m glad that my father had the insight to name my younger sister in her honor. For her creativity lives in both my sister and I and will continue on for generations.
 
Thank you for letting me share this with you and I think you truly have a special project.
Rita”
What an amazing story. It sounds like her Grandmother was an incredible woman and I feel honoured that Rita has shared her story. Rita and I have kept in touch and she sent a photo of her and of inside the Theatre that I was never able to get into:
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So the postcards strike again!  And with it, another great story. One more stranger from the other side of the world becomes a friend. I still can’t quite believe the power of handwritten notes.
I won’t leave it so long next time. My disappearing act is over.
Rachael xx
Letters from the kids:
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Thank you for your support, Jasmine. I am really glad you enjoy reading it. It is always so lovely to hear what you all thought of Mrs Chadwick! I do miss that smile of hers :). I hope you are having a great time in your summer holidays! Rachael x
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One thought on “From Italy to Broadway……

  1. Another amazing story from across the pond!
    Hope you get to see Spiderman at some time – I loved it. (and will probably never come to the UK)
    I would love to be remembered as ‘The Magic Grandma’ how special was she?!

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