Sunday, April 28, 2013

BUS STORY # 338 (Train Story # 3: The Entertainer, Part 2)

Disneyland Train, © All Rights Reserved, a photo by Lord Carnage, on Flickr.

You can read Part 1 here.

Edward* dreamed of being in the theatre from childhood. He realized that dream in southern California at Disneyland, where he worked in “the Tragic -- oops, I mean ‘Magic’ -- Kingdom” for ten years.

I gathered he’d run the gamut in theatre productions from dresser to actor to singer/dancer. He was lightheartedly rueful about the inevitable disillusionment -- learning that what it looked like from the audience as a kid was something very different from what it was back stage as an adult.

But: he also insisted he’d had an enormous amount of fun, had gotten to do exactly what he wanted to do, and he fully appreciated not everyone gets to have his dreams come true.

But when he was diagnosed with cancer, “No more pixie dust!” He left California to come stay with his mother and sister who were living in Belen.

I asked if he’s a native. He’s not. He was born in California, but his family was from Indiana. He was one of eight children, and one of the last two who were born in California. (How his mother and sister ended up in Belen is a story I didn’t get.)

He didn’t go into the details of his cancer experience other than to report he had beaten it, was now five years cancer free, and had a profoundly different way of looking at life which sounded to me like a mix of gratitude and laughter.

As if cancer weren’t enough, sometime during his recovery, he developed an eye condition that left him completely blind in one eye and legally blind in the other.

He related the whole experience as if it were a comedy routine, with all the tragedies serving as raw comic material. For example, he described some very interesting walks with his mother who not only served as his “seeing-eye mother,” but was also in the developing stages of Alzheimer’s.

Now, the caretaker role has come full circle. He and his sister take turns looking after mom.

He began using the train when his sight failed, and that is why he continues using it to this day. He often goes to a place offering services to the blind. I am unclear where exactly that is. All I know is he has to take the northbound train to the Journal Center station to get there.

I asked if he missed working in the theatre. He said not at all -- because he was doing a lot of work here -- theatre and movies both. Apparently, his reputation preceded him. It’s not paying the bills, but it’s been a source of great enjoyment to him.

About this time, Edward and Nate* met on the platform, brought together by my wife who had returned to where we’d been standing. Nate was her bus story, and we’ll tell that one next week.


*Real name changed.


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