Kathy’s reception

This is a little sculpture in the garden at the library. It was right outside the door of the exhibit.
This is a little sculpture in the garden at the library. It was right outside the door of the exhibit.

Kathy’s reception and life celebration. I loaded up the car with a few sculpture and furniture things on Friday night. Earlier that day I went to the library to double-check some things. I wanted to make sure the ConcertWindow streaming would work okay. And I wanted to make sure I knew how to use the video projector, DVD, and sound system in the hall. I wanted to be able to play the video of Kathy and not fumble around with technology the day of the presentation.

For ConcertWindow it took a little bit of trial and error. But I got it to work. I had to switch to a different browser for broadcasting for some reason. When I broadcast again I will bring my better microphone to pick up the sound. More about that later.

Some of Kathy’s Pins.

Saturday morning. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. I had no idea who would come or how many people I would speak to. I wanted to be able to sell some of Kathy’s pins so I decided to go to the bank and get change. We needed ice for the cold drinks. So, I picked that up at the Hampden Village Market on my way to the library. I had hoped to give Marty a walk in the morning but I decided to neglect him for one morning.

I arrived at the library at about 9:30 or so. I couldn’t have asked for nicer weather for Kathy’s show. It also made it easier for family and friends that were travelling long distances to pay their respects and see the art. At least five people mentioned that their phones and GPS equipment had a hard time finding the library. It is tucked down a long drive practically in the woods.

pasystemThe library loaned me their retro public address system. I forgot to take a photo of it but it was pretty close to this lectern style box I found online. It was very funky. I set it up but decided not to use it when it came time to speak.  I arranged the remaining art and plugged in the pieces that need electricity. Then I started pacing back and forth. The reception wouldn’t start for another hour and a half. The Google-Fit app on my phone said that between bringing loads of stuff into the library and pacing back and forth I walked a couple of miles.

Before the show. Just waiting and pacing.
Before the show. Just waiting and pacing.

At about 11:30 Susanne arrived with the food and catering materials. Susanne Arnold is an old friend and client from earlier days. She hired us as freelance designers when Kathy and I started Lehndorff Design and her firm Mousetrap Designs was our biggest client for several years.  We kind of lost touch and talked less and less. We were doing mostly healthcare work. Susanne worked with retail and fashion clients. I wasn’t really a website developer or designer and she needed that too. I tended to keep in touch with people on Facebook a lot. So, my Facebook friends (real and virtual) knew what had happened to Kathy and me, first. Susanne found out about Kathy and offered to take care of the food for the reception. I gladly took her up on it. Once we got all the supplies in the hall the first visitors arrived. And my job was to stay out of her way.

I was really touched by the people that made a point to come. Some knew Kathy personally but others knew her through me or through this blog. One friend came up here from Philadelphia on the train to see the show and pay his respects. My 95-year-old aunt, Josephine came with my cousin Joanne from Connecticut. They were always very close with Kathy.

Music friends. Fred came by early. Besides being our lawyer he is one of the best songwriters I know and a fine guitarist. Fred couldn’t stay for the whole day. He was one of the first people Kathy and I met with once she was diagnosed with Huntington’s to set up our legal papers (Will, Power of Attorney and Healthcare Proxy). A few of my local music friends came too. I have played music with Charlie for almost 30 years (minus my caregiving years). We met at the Iron Horse open mic when that existed up in Northampton MA in the late 80s or early 90s. He heard me sing East Longmeadow and said he lived in the town next to East Longmeadow, Hampden. So, it turned out we were neighbors. A newer friend Mike came by too. Occasionally he joins Charlie and me at our open mic performances.

Another cousin Michael came from Connecticut, too. I had lost contact with him through the years but he had reached out to me when he learned what I was going through with Kathy. I hadn’t seen him in 40 years. My best friend Anthony came up with his wife Susan from Rhode Island. I met him in the third grade. There were friends I had met on Facebook and through the blog that I met in person as well as a few of my friends from the caregiver’s group that meets in that same room at the library.

I spoke a little bit about Kathy’s art. I described how some of the pieces came to be and how other people started bringing her junk to turn into art. I played the video of her talking about art.  Dr. Bonnie Hennig from the Huntington’s Program at UConn gave a brief description about HD and what it was. The video was the first time she saw Kathy before she got sick. After that people in the audience went around the room and talked about Kathy. Many barely knew her because she was so quiet around many people. But there were a few that worked with her or spent time with her. That was good for me because I had forgotten some things.

I finished by singing my song “The Huntington’s Waltz.” Then I decided to sing “Marriage of Convenience” to try to cheer them up a little.

The broadcast on ConcertWindow was a different use for the streaming service. The microphone I brought couldn’t pick up all the voices in the room. And since I decided not to use the public address system I wasn’t very loud either. I had arranged the chairs around the perimeter of the room when I had arrived there just to get them out of the way. I didn’t even think that’s where they would stay. It all worked out, though. Everyone had a good view of everyone else. I learn something each time I do something like this.

This is a download of the whole video stream. It is over an hour-long. I would recommend using headphones and turning your volume up to hear it because the sound level was so low.

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