Last week we got some much needed rain in California. During the morning there was the most beautiful rainbow….never had I seen one as beautiful. It was a perfect arc with the colors so vivid. I thought of Mary Oliver’s words: “A lifetime isn’t long enough for the beauty of this world.” I was glad to have witnessed that rainbow. Is there a more wonderful song than “Somewhere Over The Rainbow?”
We all need to be reminded of the thrilling things in life… of the friendships we have made. I was reminded of this at the recent Dark Shadows gathering in New York — seeing old friends, making new ones. Two of my cousins, Beth and Neal (a third — dear Barbara passed away a few years ago – it was sudden. I had just talked to her from DC the day before where I was opening in a new play and Barbara was making plans to attend with Beth and friends — how precious she was and how important it is to have those rainbows like her in our lives) . . . so Beth and Neal attended the recent DS gathering along with their mother, Jane.
Jane’s husband, Uncle Steve, fought in WWII. He was a navigator as I recall. . . . Tuesday was Veterans Day. . . . It was many years before I was told the extent of Uncle Steve’s war experience — how he had been shot down three times, the last behind enemy lines. He was badly wounded, but was rescued and sent home for treatment on a ship across the Atlantic. The ship was hit by enemy fire and he spent, I believe, three days in the ocean water. . . again he survived. Uncle Steve recovered with treatment back in Colorado, where as a young boy, he had been put on a work-farm. While in the hospital, he met Jane, a nurse. After he recovered, he wanted to find his family, so he and Jane made their way to West Virginia and family. How fortunate my wife and I were because, on our journey to New York City in order for me to pursue an acting career, we stayed with Steve and Jane and my cousins who were living in Levittown, Long Island. How blessed we were. It was touching for me to have Beth, Neal, and their mother, Jane, in the audience at the Dark Shadows gathering. That day was special.
On this Veterans Day, I remember my father in his Navy uniform. He had also crossed the Atlantic many times on a supply ship. He was being sent by train back across the country to San Francisco for further assignment. In St. Louis, word was received of the atomic bomb being dropped in Japan. He was pulled from the train and sent home. The war was over. We all have so many to thank, to remember on Veterans Day.
A footnote: recently I was in Japan filming and one day we all bowed heads for a few moments of silence to remember the dropping of the atomic bomb. Here we were so many years later, hugging each other — crew, cast, producers — all from many countries (many from Japan). Out of great sadness and sacrifice came a rainbow moment.
Thank you all for making my life possible.