Tag Archives: Lydia Desjardins

Hamilton TO Hadestown

May 18, 2019

It is sometime in the early spring of 2018 when daughter Emily calls me up and asks what we might be doing May 18, 2019. I tell her I’m fairly certain our calendar is clear and she says to mark that date as saved.

I wait for the other shoe to drop and it is a heavy lifter. Son-in-law Marty has managed to secure box office price tickets to see Hamilton. In NYC. At Richard Rogers Theatre. They are going to celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary family style.

Marty has gotten on an email list that periodically offers up tickets to hot Broadway shows at box office prices. But you have to be quick. He jumps immediately and two minutes in gets some of the last tickets. He asks Emily how many he should buy and she tells him to go the limit. That is eight. So his parents, Donny & myself, plus the four of them (they have already gifted the kids with crazy money tickets the previous Christmas but you can never see Hamilton too many times) are the lucky eight. I am beyond excited & immediately start a count down calendar.

The year goes by as most do, sometimes at lightning speed, sometimes at a crawl. And then it is show weekend. The plan is to for us to drive from the OBX to Springfield on Friday. Then the six of us will pack ourselves into Donny’s Highlander Saturday morning to make the trip to NYC. Marty’s parents live in close by Allendale NJ so they will meet us for dinner and the show. The kids will stay with Marty’s youngest brother, Craig & Cynthia in their amazing midtown Manhattan apartment with a breathtaking panoramic view of The Empire State Building (until a new construction goes up in the wrong spot). We have reservations at a hotel nearby.

The view before intervening architecture

Cynthia & Craig have graciously invited us over for pre-dinner hors d’oeuves. Even with The Empire State Building hidden from view their vista is incredible. The delicious apps are hungrily consumed by our travel weary group. We prepare to leave to get ready for dinner and Craig sits down at his grand piano and begins a lovely jazz number. I compliment his command of the keyboard and ask if jazz has always been a favorite. He nods and springs up declaring that he has something to show us. He brings out a treasure passed to him by his music teacher. It is sheet music with much hand notation by Dave Brubeck. A friend of Craig’s teacher, Brubeck wanted her input on a ballet score he was composing. Possibly worth a lot at auction, it’s worth even more as a piano lesson treasure.

It’s time to freshen up for dinner and the show, we head back to the hotel, then on to negotiate through always active Times Square to the theater district restaurant, Becco, where Marty has made reservations. Bob & Karen met us there. Dinner is so good and filling but I cannot resist a fruit type dessert. Bob has asked for a single scoop of vanilla ice cream and is told there is none. My dessert arrives with a side scoop of ice cream. Bob expresses his disappointment to the waitress. She is nonchalant. I give my scoop to Karen to share with Bob. New York City idiosyncrasies can be so oddly charming.

Cynthia & Craig head home, they’ve seen the show, but she takes our photo first. The theater is packed. We are in three different parts. Emily & Marty, Donny & I are in the very back of the mezzanine, the kids upstairs in the balcony, Bob & Karen on the lower orchestra level. The show is worth all the hype and more. Everyone delivers, not one dial in. The lighting and set simple and innovative. It’s easy to see the influence both have on Lydia’s designs for West Springfield HS productions.

It’s been a great trip even riding in the third seat cramped quarters. Lydia and I declare that next trip will be in another vehicle or barring that we bring along donuts, both kinds.

The theater bug is strong with us and when Emily decides that we need to see Hadestown, Donny & I are immediately on board. In early 2019 she & Marty have taken the kids not once, but twice on back to back weekends (it’s a great story) to see the show. She wants us to see it. We begin our plans. It’s still fresh enough that box office prices are possible and tickets obtainable as long as you can make the openings in the schedule. Emily goes for a date post her figure skating competition in early March.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Emily!

We discuss various means of getting there. Drive into the city and valet park. Do the across the river ferry car park thing, the hotel is close. Park in the designated lot and take a shuttle to the hotel. Take the cheap Chinatown bus. Take the train, I offer this as a bad weather option. At one point our text messages look like this.

As it gets closer to time and my joking becomes reality, we decide on Sunday March 8, to cancel our hotel room but continue to discuss us driving to Springfield on Wednesday and then the three of us continuing to NYC the next day to see the show and drive back to Springfield afterwards. I agree with Emily, even with three drivers, it’s a lot of driving. We try so hard to justify and finally completely surrender. We cannot risk bringing anything back to the Outer Banks, and more specifically Hilarey and baby grand Ball number eleven due in September. We will sacrifice our monies for safety.

And then Broadway goes dark. On Thursday March 12, 2019 the very day we are going to see the performance. Reprieve! I chose to believe that the day will come when we do get to see Patrick Page and his colleagues perform this amazing show. I still have not listened to the soundtrack. I’m playing the Donald card. He managed to avoid all Hamilton music until he saw the show. A good two years worth of tiptoeing.

Wait for me!


Turns out the kids are a year ahead of celebrating their twenty-fifth and no one realizes the slight math error until we are practically on our way to New York City. We all laugh and decide that it simply adds another fun layer to our adventure.

Epilogue Too

The day after I publish this story hail & healthy Rhyson Jett Ball joins the family. He is born at Outer Banks Hospital in a speedy eventless delivery. He checks in at 12:53 September 15 weighing 6 pounds 12 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. Welcome second namesake!

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Some Christmas FUN!

I’ve had reason to revisit some of my vlog videos recently and thought it would be fun for y’all too!

Here’s Emily & Lydia doing their mother daughter skating routine for Fairfax Ice Arena’s 2013 Holiday Show. Suzanne brought Harlee from Baltimore so the support group was strong. Yes, you can indeed hear me screaming to excess trying to help Harlee wave to the girls in the finale skate around. Such a docile child I am.

And here they are in 2012. Yes, we are going backwards. What fun is conventionality?

And the entire clip of Lydia in the 2011 Holiday Show. Plus Emily. And Martin showing his board breaking skill.

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Camp OBX 2015


Mimicking the pose of three first flight witnesses. Jake (16 year old Johnny Moore), Martin (lumber merchant Cephus Brinkley) and me (surfman Will Dough) Senior Camp 2015. Photo credit Lydia.

In 2006 Emily & Marty need summer help with then six year old Martin & three year old Lydia. Being more fun to call it camp than anything else it quickly it became officially Camp OBX envied by many but attended by a very select few.

Not far from the beginning, Donny’s nephew Jake and his family, plus even more of Donny’s family, were visiting and after Jake got back home to Richmond he decided that camp time was needed. Taking the bull by the horns he told, not asked, his parents that he wanted to attend, applied and was accepted. He’s now in his sixth year and the only non-grand to be a full rights camper. He always tries to schedule his camp time with Martin and Lydia but occasionally he’s been the only camper in residence.


Beach time with the teens brought this no zoom needed friend to my towel side.

Three years ago the younger crop of grands began getting their own special camp time. As much as all of our campers love and cherish their parents, and while family camp time is unique and awesome, as seven year old Edward, now a three year camp veteran, states, “It’s not camp when you’re here, Mom.”

Campers have learned to read, swim, surf, and ride a horse all at camp. Campers have seen turtles hatch, the inside of the Wright Brothers Monument, and almost seen the moon rise at the top of Bodie Island lighthouse (got halfway up to be thwarted by lightning in the area). Campers have made their first mini-golf hole-in-one and one lucky camper even got just the right one to win a free game (Professor Hackers ftw), gotten their first hourly paying job (thanks Val and My Little Sunshine) and mastered the art of wearing flip flops while at camp. Campers have camped out under the stars, seen shooting stars, and watched babies become Virginia Dare stars at the Lost Colony. Those are only some highlights. The list is pretty much endless. And FUN is always the operative word.

We got our first official t-shirt this season, thanks to the Desjardins family, Marty specifically who came up with the idea. It reads “Grandma Sandy What Can We Do That’s FUN?” This now much repeated phrase was started by grand Sebastian trying to get me to play Portal without actually coming out and saying it, since he has limited screen time. His clever reasoning being that if the idea comes from Grandma Sandy allowances are made. It took me longer than the rest of the family to figure out his coded message.

2015 marks our first pretty much non-stop camping the entire traditional school break summer and it really was, as Jake told his parents, the best year yet!

martin camperlydia camperjake campersea bass camper


edward camper benji camper zach camper marie camperpj rising camper

The Nifty Nine. Martin 14, Lydia 12, Jake 17, Sebastian 6, Edward 7, Benji 7, Zach 5, Marie 3, PJ 2. Martin & Lydia belong to daughter Emily & Marty. Sebastian belongs to son Donald & Terri. Edward & Marie belong to son Stephen & Sarah. Benji, Zach & PJ belong to son Andrew & Jenn. Jakes belongs to Donny’s brother Robert & Diane.




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If We Could TURN Back Time

time turner

Lydia demonstrating Hermione’s Time-Turner at Harry Potter World Universal Orlando 2013

The arc of this story is two decades long. Seriously. Actually two decades plus. It’s a l-o-n-g arc. And a fun story. In the end.

Donny & I are at Duke Park for one of our grand grandsons birthday. The park is a nice size, not big, not small, Goldilocks just right.

At the picnic table beside ours I see another birthday party in progress. There’s yet another party down the hill alongside a smaller playground. There may have been even more because it’s a perfect party place and a perfect party day. I notice the party next to us because the tables, while not close enough to impose, are pretty close. They’re having fun too.

Our party comes to a close, we make plans to meet SSE&M for ice cream in downtown Durham. We are in the car preparing to leave. We have parked down the hill near the smaller playground in the pull in spaces. These parking places are not as close to our party table but not that far away. Most folks do the same but many park up the hill along the quiet roadway which is closer to the big play area and most tables. There are parking options. I’ve buckled up. Donny is adjusting things. I notice a dad holding his child waiting for us to leave so he can more easily get into his vehicle parked next to ours on Donny’s side. I suggest that we pull out a bit so the dad can have more room.

Donny has not noticed the dad but agrees and starts to back out. I look up and just beyond the dad is a friend I recognize. “Stop!” Donny stops, a puzzled look on his face. “There’s Lucille. I need to say hi to her.” She’s a casual friend from the Outer Banks. We are such that running into each other at an event or party and having a hey, how are you conversation is the extent of our relationship. But this relationship has longevity. And more.

I leap out of the car. “Lucille!” She looks up in surprise. We hug. She asks what we’re doing here. I do the same. We both laugh over the fact that two of our sons (we both have five children) have birthday parties for their sons on the same day. At the same time. In the same park. Right next to each other (that other party right beside ours). Lucille lives on the Outer Banks too and has been there with her husband and family almost as long as we have. Decades. They migrated from Louisiana because of off shore oil drilling. But that’s another story for another time.

Years ago when our kids, who now have kids of their own, were in public school together and Lucille and family were new to the Outer Banks a common friend suggested to me that Lucille and I had a lot in common. We should meet she urges. We both have five bright over achiever well-mannered children. We both like things slightly off the grid. We both advocate for minimal impact on Mother Earth.

To this day I don’t actually remember calling Lucille and arranging a meeting but I don’t not remember it either. At any rate it didn’t happen and here is where the story gets interesting.

Back at Duke Park, Lucille grabs me by the shoulders and beams, “I’m so glad to see you!” She rushes on. Here in the parking area of Duke Park. “I spent a lot of time in New Mexico this winter on a job and had lots of spare time to hang out with Janice.” Janice is a common friend who recently by choice relocated to New Mexico. Lucille is well into her story by now but she suddenly pauses, “Do you have time?” I nod. She¬†tells me about admiring a painting in Janice’s house. Janice tells her that it is one of my pieces and how she came to get it.

Tulips & Bleu Bowl

Tulips & Bleu Bowl

(It with others was on loan from me to decorate Janice’s Outer Banks office. When she decided to move to Santa Fe I told her that she could have any or all of the art but if she did not feel like adding to the moving pile just say. She returned a couple of pieces the painting being one of them. She loved it. But it was big. I donated it to the Festival of Trees. Janice sees it online and sighs. She really did love it and says so in a thread. Gail Hutchison, another common friend, asks me to proxy bid on it for her as she will be out of town auction night. She wants to win it as a gift for Janice. So I end up bidding on my own piece and win. Donny & I offer to do the mailing part because we are mailing gurus. It surprises Janice to the point of tears and makes an even better story than if she had just taken it along on the move).

Okay back to the story at hand. After the painting story emerges, Lucille tells Janice that she has a confession. Confessions and life regrets have been a thread in their many conversations. As Lucille at Duke Park is telling me this I know exactly where she is going with the story. I start to protest. She squeezes my shoulders, “Let me finish.” I do have a bad habit of interrupting.

“Years ago you called me out of the blue, explained our common interests and invited me to dinner. I thought it was a wonderful idea and accepted. Then the day arrived and what with five kids doing five different things I completely forgot. You called and asked me if I was coming. By that time in the day it was too late and I apologized all over myself feeling so rotten but also so exhausted.”

I am listening to this revelation trying not to speak but having a hard time holding my tongue. Lucille goes on. “I have so regretted that day and when I tell this to Janice and ask her what should I do she says to call you up when I get back to Dare County and invite you to coffee and confess. I ask her what you will say. She says that I will probably say that too much time has been wasted on nothing.”

I laugh. Janice is right and I tell Lucille as much. But here’s where the story gets even more interesting. It’s finally my turn to talk. I tell Lucille that I too have regretted that day but for very different reasons. And when that regret popped into my head I always justified it with that was the way things were supposed to turn out and her kids probably never would have been accepted into Choate on full scholarships if we had met that day. (I have yet to tell her that part but I will).

Because I remember it this way. I remember her calling me and asking about home schooling. I remember spending a lot of time preparing to show her how our home school worked. (And maybe I did plan for dinner too but I do not recall this). When she doesn’t show up or call I am extremely disappointed. So disappointed that when she calls later I refuse to answer the phone. I finally let Andrew answer the phone but will not talk to her. She calls more than once. For days I make Andrew answer the phone (he’s usually the kid available). I don’t want to hang up on her but I don’t want to talk to her either. She writes me a beautiful letter apologizing. I never answer it. And so that is the regret that I have carried around. My awful rudeness and unwillingness to give her any room for an apology. Later when we cross paths socially I simply can not bring myself to confess how bad I felt about that day. I actually hope that she has forgotten. The best I can do is chat in a friendly manner because she really is the loveliest of people. (And she’s a midwife too, but that came later)!

The point is of course to let go of regrets. The situation happened as it did for a reason. And to realize anyway that your memory and the memory of anyone else about a particular moment is going to drastically be so different more times than not. You may be regretting something they barely remember. Or remember entirely differently. Sure many times you are more or less on the same memory path as folks around you. But you cannot count on it. What you are regretting, or conversely fondly remembering, might not even be on anyone else’s radar.

Because of that day and how horrified I was at my actions I vowed to put aside anger as a tremendous waste of time and energy. And to give second chances. Few things qualify for just one shot. Of course there are exceptions. There are always exceptions. But not as many as we try to wiggle into that category.

Janice is going to love that the universe put Lucille and I together at Duke Park. At our grandsons’ birthday parties. In the parking lot. As we are both leaving. Universe you are so sly.






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