The internet is a wonderful thing. For me it's my window on the world. But, In addition to the wonderful connections I've made, sometimes you get news that hurts deeply.
About a week ago I learned about the passing of a friend of mine, Patricia Hemenway Cook. I had not seen her in many years, but still thought about her often. Patty was young, only 59. We met at my last job. Patty and I became fast friends, always making each other laugh. She was well known in town as a talented singer, as well as for her sparkling personality. It was wonderful to work with her, and I felt privileged to be included in her circle of family and friends outside of work. We all celebrated each others birthdays and commiserated when we had problems. I was at her wedding, where she married a great guy who had also worked at the same university. Their marriage truly was a match made in heaven.
Here is a small excerpt from Patty's obituary:
"Patty made a career move to New York City. Within a year, after signing with an agent and gigs at the Little Hippodrome and on the TV soap, "The Doctors," she found herself auditioning for the national tour of "Evita." Among those who would decide her future was none other than Hal Prince, the musical's Tony Award-winning director, a man whose catalog of credits includes "Cabaret," "Damn Yankees" and "Fiddler on the Roof." Patty once recalled how nervous she felt prior to the audition. "I stopped at St. Patrick's and said my prayers. Then they warned me that 'he will most likely stop you. But that won't mean anything - he's pressed for time.'" Prince liked what he heard. Not only did he allow her to perform the entire rendition of "Rainbow High," but he asked her to sing "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina," "Buenos Aires" and other show-stoppers. The following morning, she was awakened by a telephone call informing her that she had not one but two parts in the show - an aristocrat in the evening performances and the starring role of "Evita" in the matinees. Patricia Hemenway Cook's rise in "Evita" was rapid. The road show sold out the 5,000-seat Masonic Temple in Detroit in its debut, and was a smash in Cleveland, Baltimore, Atlanta, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and elsewhere. Within months, she was called to New York to star as Eva Peron in the Broadway production's matinee performances and play an aristocrat in the evening shows. After more rave reviews, she was elevated to the lead role in the evening. Remembering those not-so-distant yesterdays, she said that it was "easier to perform 'Evita' six nights a week instead of twice. Your voice found its comfort place with the score. You're so energized. The role is so challenging. I was constantly changing and improving it."
Patty's talent was exceeded by her joy of life and sweet personality. I didn't know she had been ill, so the news of her passing came as even more of a shock to me. Even though I hadn't seen her in several years, I feel like the light in the world just dimmed a little.
I hope my Arkian friends don't mind me sharing this here. I wish you could all have known my friend.