My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Celebrating Ethan...

Isn't he beautiful? This is my friend Ethan... who was in my life for a season... "who can say if I've been changed for the better... but... because I knew you... I have been changed for good"...

those lyrics are from the song, "For Good" from the musical Wicked. If you've never heard it, you should google it. It's an amazing ballad... but I digress...

Today is Ethan's birthday and when I saw his name on my facebook list of birthdays... it started me reminiscing about the impact he made on my life.

I met Ethan when Purple Michael and I were holding auditions for the musical Footloose, which we directed in 2002. Ethan was (and is) one of the most beautiful people I've ever known. Talented... energetic... loving... He was a precious part of the village that helped me raise my children.

I was so taken aback by his good looks that I literally said to him when I first met him, "you are one of the most beautiful people I've ever seen"... not in a creepy/crushy way... because he's considerably younger than me and strictly same-sex oriented... but just in awe.

PM and I had a major disagreement about casting Ethan as Ren (the lead) in Footloose. He was perfect for the part but he had a prior commitment to do the Sound of Music for another community theatre group... which was being directed by a very close, lifelong friend of Purple Michael's. I was new to the theatre world and didn't understand (then) why this was such a big deal. I mean... Ethan wanted to do our show more than he wanted to play Rolph (a smaller part) in the Sound of Music. But... we had other viable choices for Ren and the Sound of Music needed Ethan. PM taught me a lot about ethics in that episode... and the young man we ended up casting, Mitch, has gone on to do great things in theatre, even performing Off-Broadway recently.

Even though we couldn't cast him... Ethan played a huge role in the production and we grew very close to him and his boyfriend Josh. Ethan really ended up being a link for me to a lot of people that are still in my life today...

At the time we met him, Ethan and Josh rented a room from Charlie... who my son Ryan still lives with to this day. Ryan wouldn't have the career he has if I hadn't know Ethan and therefore met Charlie.

Because I was close to Ethan... and Joey had a huge crush on Ethan... Joey made an effort to get to know me. I would have never gotten as close to Joey had I not known Ethan... and I wouldn't have met Kristen and Dax and a dozen other people who became an important part of my life for a season.

Because Ethan performed in a production of Damn Yankees with Stagedoor Players... and Joey wanted to be in the show to be near Ethan... I went with Joey to his audition and then to several rehearsals and then ultimately to most of the performances... and through those connections, I met Mr. Drake, and Courtney and Gina and so on and so forth. I would have never met any of those people had I not known Ethan. I went on to work on several shows with Stagedoor... which provided a much needed addition to my income for a time.

Ethan's day job was as a leasing agent for a nearby apartment complex. I would spend Saturdays hanging out with him in the leasing office, passing out brochures on renters insurance to help boost my bonus at work.

Ethan, Joey and I use to have Spa Nights... we'd watch chick flicks like Steel Magnolias (he had memorized almost the entire script!)... have a carpet picnic... do things like color my hair and do mani-pedis and massages. We had such a good time together. It was Ethan who turned me on to hummus.

One lonely Valentine's day was spent with me, Joey, Ethan and Kristin (I think) gathered around my coffee table eating takeout Chinese.

We used to order pizza and sit on my bed eating... right out of the box... passing around a bottle of cheap wine.

When Ethan's cat was killed... he called me in tears. I told Ryan, "Ethan's cat has died and we need to go bury it"... Ryan said, "so what you're saying is that I'm going to dig the hole and actually bury the cat while you console Ethan"... I said, "yes, and thank you for recognizing your role in this process"... and that's what we did... Ryan dug a hole and I cried with Ethan.

Ethan's BF Josh was Austin's hero. Josh was a bit of a country boy / outdoors man. He babysat Austin for me over one school break and took Austin down to High Falls and let him play in the creek. Austin loved things like water and rocks and getting dirty. Josh did too.

Josh's mother still does my mom's hair.... seriously... it's a small world.

Ethan was hired to play the piano for a local theatre group's annual award show... he took me as his "date"... and through that experience I was able to get to know Attorney Matt better (we had met during another show but didn't really get to know each other well)... Matt and I have had sort of a "behind the scenes" kind of bond. He's one of those people who I might not talk to for a year yet, i know, that if I need him - or if he needs me - it's only a matter of a phone call and we're there for each other. I refer to Matt as my "little brother in Christ" because he is an amazing man of God.

There were some less than stellar things about Ethan too, nobody's perfect... but... for me, I'd rather remember the happy times, the celebrations, the ways that he changed my life, the people that are in my life now that wouldn't be if I had never met him. I haven't seen Ethan in years. He worked for a time on cruise ships as part of the entertainment crew... he went back to his hometown in Michigan for awhile... I'm not even sure where he lives now.

There are people who God brings into our lives to be lifelong friends - our chosen family. And there are people who God brings into our lives for a season... and for a reason. You never know when that stranger you say hello to is going to be the catalyst for wonderful changes in your life.

Who can say if I've been changed for the better... but... Ethan... because I knew you, I have been changed for good.


Big Mark 243 said...

I have always thought it was cool the diversity of your friendship, Heather. Says a lot about you and I think that it is a great example for you sons, making them be more accepting and understanding of everyone.

Bookncoffee said...

Enjoyed reading. It is interesting the "ties" of our friends and people we meet and how things all play together. Also interesting that the things we say and do to/for others each day can make an impact even when we don't know it. Hope your pain is better soon and that you get answers you are seeking. I am having tummy issues here and while I dread the colonoscopy, at least maybe it will shed some light. I hope nothing is wrong. Take care and have a good Sunday!