Posted By Kathleen David on May 16, 2013
I was finishing up my MFA at the Yale School o’ Drama. I had turned in my master’s thesis and was waiting for approval. My last workstudy gig was being a stage-hand on the main stage’s production of Pygmalion. It was pretty fun. The cast was nice and I got rail duty, which is pretty easy if you know what you are doing.
I went in for a Matinee. It was a Wednesday School matinee which can be rather trying because you are presenting culture to a group that is just glad to be out of class especially so close to Summer vacation. The sound operator came in and said, “I didn’t expect to see you here today with Jim Henson being dead and all.” We didn’t get along very well after I had to fill a report with management about some of their off the book activities that were interfering with the show. They felt that I ratted them out. That is when I first heard about Jim Henson’s passing. It was confirmed by a couple of actors who checked in with me to see how I was doing. I knew then it was true. I went to the stage and sat at my station with tears streaming down my face. I got through the show even though the stage manager was willing to let me go.
I heard later from those in the know what happened that day. It was a simple case of 24 hours. If he had gotten medical attention 24 hours earlier, there is a good chance he would still be around. But nothing is absolute and some one my family admired greatly shuffled off this mortal coil.
I went to the memorial service which was a celebration of life and possibility. There were tears but I was comforted by total strangers as I comforted total strangers. We were there because we loved Jim and we wanted to spend some time with others who understand what we were going through.
Jim Henson has been an influence on my life. I make no bones about that. I have tried to continue his mission of bring puppetry to the people in my small way. But I will always remember that day that I found out.
I am grateful that Jim Henson has been such an influence in my life.