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      LONELY MOST OF THE TIME by Thomas Putnam


      I'm not real certain of where or when this image came into focus in my mind. It's been a whirlwind of a few weeks for sure. Family member very ill with Covid; another family member in a treatment center; a friend in ICU with heart issues; and tons of stuff with Hamilton-Gibson. Lots of stuff all jumbled together in my fatigued brain, but one image has come into focus: a child who is lonely. A child who is afraid. I don't know where it came from but it's clearly in focus.

      It may have come watching a whole bunch of kids dance and sing in our production of ALL TOGETHER NOW. I'm not sure how that image would connect with this group of kids who were clearly loving what they were doing, and seemed to love doing it with others. Lonely? Didn't seem so. Afraid? They seemed wholly vulnerable and comfortable being so.

      Maybe listening to the HG Children's Choir sing We Are Not Alone? The purity of tone in a kid's unchanged voice is beauty. These kids clearly loved singing the song and loved singing it with others.

      Maybe one of the series I've been watching on Netflix? Maybe looking at photos of my grandkids?

      This past weekend I heard Karin Knaus singing “She Used to Be Mine” from the musical Waitress. I hadn't heard the song, or at least I hadn't noticed it. A number of weeks ago Karin had come in to talk about which song from our prescribed list she would sing in the show All Together Now and she said she really liked such and such a song, but she also like another such and such a song, and there was also “She Used to Be Mine” from Waitress. How does it go, I asked. So she stood there in the HG office and sang it a cappella. Even before I did some exploration into the plot of the show, I was struck with the line, ”She is lonely most of the time...”

      I've thought of some of the lonely and/or afraid children we've explored in our past shows. Oliver Twist. Helen Keller. James—the one with the peach. Laurel in The Chalk Garden. The younger self of the character in Every Brilliant Thing.

      I see kids walk by the HG office nearly every day. Most are in small groups and are laughing and shouting and seemingly carefree. And there are some walking alone. I wonder whether they're lonely.

      The pandemic has afforded plenty of opportunity to be lonely. I'm not sure where these musings came from, or where they're going, but I'm concerned about loneliness. Be well, y'all. Be safe. Know that you are not alone. Connect with a kid who is lonely.


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