This week three artists of unsurmountable talent have died: Luciano Pavarotti, Madeline L'Engle, and Roy Parsons. Here are my personal connections:
When my children were small and we all lived together on the farm, I would have different types of meals...themed, if you will. I often read stories or poetry to match and had music as well. It never failed that when the evening dinner time turned Italian I would play Pavarotti on the CD player. I played it loudly. I would toss in a dashing of red wine into the sauce as I sang along in my diminished Italian voice. I was there with him on the stage in spirit when, in fact, I was in an Indiana farm house with an old stained apron.
Pavarotti began his fame when he stepped into the limelight as a stand in for Giveppe di Stefano at Covent Gardens in 1963.
In another part of the world, Madeline L'Engle won her Newberry award for her most famous children's book, A Wrinkle in Time in the year 1963. Didn't we all grow up with that novel? As an adult and a writer, I have also enjoyed her books on writing and met her once at a conference.
In still another part of the world, a small island boy, Roy Parsons, was singing his heart out on the vaudeville stages of New Jersey. With his harmonica strapped around his neck and his guitar in place he has continued to win the hearts of folk singers and appreciators ever since on Ocracoke Island. His death did not make the New York Times headlines, but for those of us who knew him, we wept just as mightily as if he had.
Who will take their places? Charm, charisma, humor, and a great love for the arts and mankind were these folks. Farewell.
Lou Ann Homan-Saylor lives in Angola, Indiana which is nestled in the hills of Northern Indiana and spends her summers on the wind swept island of Ocracoke. You can find her gardening or writing late into the night under the light of her frayed scarlet lamp. She is a storyteller, a teacher, a writer, an actress and a collector of front porch stories.