Better because of change, innovation | Guest Column

Howard Schonberger

Howard Schonberger

When you get to your tenth decade on this globe, you sometimes have to take a break and wonder if all the high tech things happening are for the best.

That’s how I felt about attending some of the events that took place on our island this month.

First was a fundraiser for the San Juan Community Theatre, where over 100 donors were overwhelmed by a champagne reception in Gordon Steele’s outdoor veranda dedicated to his late wife Beverly (actress, comedienne and beloved friend of all). After all had mingled and enjoyed the fine hors d’ouerves and bubbly, we were asked to take our seats in the main theatre.

Once settled, we were treated to a marvelous introduction to Georges Bizet’s opera “Carmen” by Suzy Wakefield before curtain time. The largest High Definition screen I have ever seen was behind her.

It is huge and belongs to OUR community theatre! It was donated by the late Dodie Gann’s bequest. We were able to see the Metropolitan Opera HD performance of Carmen. It was the most beautiful photography you could imagine. It was Met Opera with the most elegant sound for two acts before intermission.

You will have many occasions to see what I’m talking about in future operatic and other HD performances.

The packed audience retired to the longest table, filling the entire lobby from end to end, during intermission and followed by the last two acts after dinner. Gretchen  Allison, leader of the world famous Duck Soup Inn cooking classes, catered the dinner. It was a great success and well worth the $100 tab.

Another great step forward was the new dormitory at Spring Street International School, where faculty, parents and board members had invited parents and other islanders to see other plans to match the needs of this fine school.

Spring Street is no competitor of our island schools, but a partner in education and school-year activities. Whether it is athletics, art, music or other paths of student activity, it has proved to be an asset for all.

When you look back at all the uses that donors and citizens have worked together in providing it is startling. Our library is filled with more volunteers than almost any other in the state. Our new hospital is magnificent. Our “County College” is great for adult classes and even academic degrees. Our Mullis Community Senior Center is a showplace. Almost everyone working there is a volunteer.

I know it’s not perfect. And it’s tough not having typewriter ribbons instead of all this internet.

But after all, I got over the loss of the telegraph key, the windup telephone and ice boxes. If they just got food back on all the ferries and keep the Victoria run going, I won’t go on strike.

— Go with the F.L.O.W. (Ferry Lovers Of Washington)

P.S. After writing this column, we rushed to the theatre to hear Coco Montoya, making his fourth appearance in the last 25 years since the Whittier stage opening. He stated it’s still one of his favorite stops. A near full house attended. It was a rousing, boffo performance!