Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Exit Stage Left

I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano,
A stage where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.
The Merchant of Venice Act I, Scene I

I'm hardly a professional partier. I can't remember the last fete I attended, but I do know this: As important as the arrival time may be, the exit time is even more relevant.

You want to get the heck out before the chips are crumbled, the dip is gone and the ice a mere puddle. It's simply too damn sad when we stay too long at the faire.

The evening that began with a bubble bath, a spritz of perfume, and that hot shoulder-baring number shouldn't end with wilted lemon twists in empty martini glasses.

And yet it's a tricky business in the midst of hilarity — and "no...no....just one more...this'll kill ya'...so funny..." — to tuck into the winter coat, swaddle the scarf...and bolt.

It was not without sleepless nights and restless meditations that I arrived at the decision to end my time with The Shakespeare Club.

Every year, as the successes grew, I had tiny kids running to clutch my legs with the news that they too would be auditioning for Shakespeare Club the next year.

Seriously, how could I walk away from them?

Every year, club members clamored to know, "What's the play next year, Ms. Ryane? Is it a comedy or tragedy?" These words were often sprayed through missing front teeth.

How could I leave this party?

It may come as a surprise to some that my presence on the campus was not welcome by everyone. It was a hell of a shock for me, I can tell you.

I just assumed that a volunteer with goodwill, energy and positive results would accrue full support.

Assumptions and expectations are dangerous.

I attempted to ignore the signs year after year. I did my best to calm fears and unruffle feathers, but I was not entirely successful and the undermining by a minority wore me down.

It struck me as preposterous that I was going to bed at night in tears and struggling in a hostile workplace when I was doing this for free. It struck my husband too, since he was picking up my broken pieces.

After some long talks, I decided the party, for me, was over.

And then I cried the hardest, deepest and longest.

What I loved about Shakespeare Club was almost everything. I loved the role of Demetrius! The ocean of applause coming over me. I will miss all of you and your annoyance. I will also miss Ms. Ryane

P.S. I will really miss Ms. Ryane
Oliver, 5th grade


  1. I hear you, Mel. "I just assumed that a volunteer with goodwill, energy and positive results would accrue full support." Sometimes I think it's these volunteers that others hate the most. I don't understand it. I've never understood it. Many have been where you are. Some leave the situation. Some stay until their hearts are trampled and their spirits destroyed. Out is better. Know this: You have made a positive difference in these children's lives. Some will pay it forward. Many will remember you with thanks all their lives. You are a Warrior Woman for the ages.

  2. Wow...I so appreciate those words. You made my Christmas.


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