Friday, November 9, 2007


Jane Wise and I don't believe in coincidences any more.

We each had long held this conviction, and the cosmos confirmed it last Saturday. I was making a short visit to Utah to see two very new members of the next generation. (Well, the generation after the next.) Anyway, along about mid-morning, friend Anne and I were all set to drive up the canyon to Robert Redford's Sundance, to see the glories of the changing leaves and to lunch in the admirable restaurant that overlooks a sparkling creek. But first, I decided to dash into the supermarket to pick up two items. (Neither was very important; being a Virgo, I already carry ample supplies in my handbag for a month in Mozambique.)

So I zipped in. (I use the term "zip" loosely, but let's stay positive.) Found my two items, headed for the checkout counter, and all but collided with dear friend Jane Wise. Hadn't seen Jane for a couple of years, but we stay in touch, thanks to Saint Cyberia and her Net.

Jane and Stuart have four children, each of whom would be enough of a marvel for any one family, but no, they have four marvels. And the very evening that we had run into each other in Harmon's, Jane's red-haired ingenue Caitlin was playing Nina, the lead in Chekhov's The Seagull at the university. Coincidentally (um-hum), I had previously resisted any idea of scheduling anything for Saturday evening, despite my short time in Happy Valley.

So Jane and I sat in the front row of the small theater-in-the-round (which was square). The period-piece gowns of the actors dusted our shoes, we were so close. And when Caitlin came on stage, it was as if an extra bank of spotlights had blazed on. "As if," I say. But I think Caitlin carries those lights with her, inside somewhere.

As we left, I overheard two college fellows commenting about her acting.

"Isn't she splendid? " said one.

"Oh, it's not even fair to the other players!" agreed his chum.

The name is Caitlin Wise. And if you see it on a playbill sometime in the near future, pay attention. It won't be a coincidence.

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