The three of us attended a memorial service for Leslie McLeod-Warwick. No, you don’t know her. She produced Shakespeare plays for the homeschool cooperative that Erin attended. We saw 6 or 7 seven of her productions, and Erin appeared in Romeo and Juliette.
Beth and Erin had more interaction with her but I had enough to say she was a rare and embracing person. Pictures on the order of service showed the same smile, when she was a teenager, and on thru her life. Too consistent to be imposed, she radiated a sense of warm acceptance.
Her productions found a place for everyone. That means a 6 year might play king to a 16 year old playing queen. It worked. She found a place for every child. This actually stirred up controversy among the Balkanizing forces of parents with superiour children, or whatever. Homeschooling attempts to avoid the plangency of hierarchy, allowing children to find their own means and interest and ability. It is supposed to take the blunt certifications away, football hero/cheerleader success stories. Ah, parents saw outsiders, children who didn’t fit, and squawked that Leslie allowed them in. Leslie, thank you.
A sudden remission of remission and she died last week. We never somehow got notice of her last production, King Lear.
The memorial service was thoroughly attended, to the degree that a second room was opened, with video transport of the service. She touched many people.
The best part of the service, for me, was when four of her former actors read comments about her that were posted on a Facebook page. I remember one of these readers when he was more than a foot shorter and 2 octaves higher. These comments were not undersigned: it was about what was said not who said it. Family members could be inferred. Thus it was painful to the point of tears to hear the testament of the youngest, who at 14 would have to remember the warmth of her mother. All of the children provided glimpses that were incisive yet funny. One wrote: Many people thought my mother was crazy. Well she was, she married my father. And a lot more of that.
Five children that she homeschooled. Plus these serious yet playful productions of Shakespeare. I mean, costumes and production, and not the easiest of venues. And no one was shamed or excluded.
Later, a reception at the home. People stood in every nook of the ramshackle farmhouse, many people touched. Books were everywhere.