|Bill Murray from "Ghostbusters II"|
During the In Memorium segment of Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony, my son and I saw a name that connected us to an event, at the time so kind, so enormous and surreal, that we will never forget it.
My son, a fan of Star Wars and Superman, inhabited another realm with his Ghostbusters, shall we say, appreciation. He could recite the dialog, he constructed tiny sets on the shelves in his room, he cobbled together versions of their equipment and uniforms. He was enchanted. He WAS a Ghostbuster.
The name we saw Sunday night was that of a previous Oscar winner, film professional and father of a co-worker and friend at my last real job. When Ghostbusters II was being shot in Burbank, father and daughter arranged a surprise visit to the set for my son, then around 8 or 9. I stayed at the office and he went off for his own adventure, which ended up including banter and teasing by Bill Murray, being present for filming and between-takes goofing around and simply, inexpressibly Being There. To this day, he has rarely told the story to friends, old or new, thinking they might not believe him, and also being, by nature, a low-key sort of fellow. (When my sister moved to North Carolina, then Virginia, she stopped telling our grew-up-near-Hollywood stories, like sitting behind Paul Newman on the opening night of a Noel Coward play. Or our then-teenaged mother, sitting near Errol Flynn without swooning and then collecting his discarded cigarette butts at a Beverly Hills tennis match. But I digress.)
After the ceremonies, I Googled and found the woman I believe had been responsible for such a peak experience, sending a note of condolence and repeated thanks for such a great-hearted, thoughtful and loving act more than 20 years ago.
Life in its spirals brings us back to familiar-seeming places, opening doors, at least of memory, giving us further chances to affirm ways in which we matter to each other. Earlier in the day on Sunday, at her blog (which no longer exists), Susan T. Landry with her gift for vision told us to: pay attention. everything matters.