There are a million things in life that we feel like we have to do, or should do. It is the people that have the ability to ignore that nagging voice, that potentially break barriers, create change, or have a great impact on others. There is a woman named Edith who lives in an upstairs apartment from the small, New York City theatre she has owned and run since 1972. She is 94 years old.
I am currently playing the piano for a play in this theatre, Touch the musical, and attend rehearsals a few times a week. Yesterday, I arrived early to find that Edith and I had the place to ourselves. She was huddled near an automatic heater with a blanket over her. "Is that Elizabeth?" she asked. I smiled and greeted her, then sat down and waited for the others to arrive. We soon fell into easy conversation and as I began asking her questions, I became more and more enthralled with the life she's led.
Her family has lived a life of music and show business and I was struck to learn that some of her family members have played roles in major movies, which I've seen. And others, including her own children, have toured nationally with prestigious bands and had thriving careers on the stage. How is it that they've been so successful for all these years, I wondered. As if to answer my unspoken question, she mentioned her father. "He never gave us boundaries on what we could become," she said. "I knew music was in my soul, and that was it."
But the most interesting story to me, was when she said that as a college student in the 1930s, she started a "girl band." I am fascinated with music from this time period, and as an enthusiast on the subject, I can say that girl bands simply did not exist back then. Female band leaders did not exist. Female band members, other than vocalists, were scarce. "That's amazing." I remarked.
She said, "People didn't do things like that back then, but I didn't know that. So I did them anyway."
Should-do, must-do thoughts be gone. I will focus on what I can do, what I want to do, what I dream to do.
A youtube video I discovered about Edith O'Hara: