Memories of Linda Bush - Ryerson
1947 - 1988
Memories of Linda Bush
I didn't really know Linda Bush very well until junior year, when we were together in Mrs. Baskin's English class. The one distinct memory I have is one of those read-aloud sessions we had (in lieu of serious discussion of the literature - boy was I out of my depth in advanced English freshman year in college). The subject was Huckleberry Finn, probably the chapter on the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons. Linda did the voices and the accents, when the rest of us just read, or mumbled. Hal Holbrook could have learned from her. (I seem to recall using this line once before, but if it works - well; don't reinvent the box spring mattress, or something like that.) I still remember this episode, and try to emulate her when I read to the kids, or even my wife (I read her To Kill a Mockingbird, Huckleberry Finn, A Christmas Carol, and most of the Magus, so far. I can't wait to do Treasure Island for the children, although growling like Wallace Beery will probably kill my throat.)
My first real independent "date" - driving any farther than Clinton or Marlow Heights - was with Linda, shortly after graduation. In my parents' white '64 Dodge Polara, push-button transmission, we went to a matinee performance of South Pacific at Shady Grove Music Fair - remember the tent theater in-the-round? Gaithersburg seemed so far in those days, when the Beltway was about a year old and not congested - with Howard Keel as Emil deBecque. It's still my favorite musical. Afterward we had dinner at the adjacent motel dining room, a couple of tables away from Howard Keel. He was having a quiet dinner with the actress who played Liat, not Nelly Forbush. (Strange how some things stick in the memory.)
We may have gone to a movie or something on another occasion; I don't really remember. At the time, I did not understand the degree of the back problem Linda had, so she couldn't do things like water-skiing and canoeing that I suggested. There was no romance between us - I was too shy in those days, and besides too interested in those physical activities she could not have endured.
It is just tragic that she had to endure the pain she must have borne (and so cheerfully) as a youngster, and then be stricken with cancer before she was 40. Even more than 10 years after her death it is hard to bear, even not having been all that close to her. A light has gone out.
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