Or so we hope.
The high school I went to had a magnet for the Creative and Performing Arts. This meant that we not only had resources not usually available to high school students, but also that we worked with professionals as teachers and mentors. One of my teachers was Jack Tygett, a man who, in his 70’s, would cartwheel across the room. He had been a professional in Hollywood in the Golden Age of musicals. As a dancer he appeared in movies such as Oklahoma, Mary Poppins, and Let’s Make Love (that’s him there above Marilyn). He had a speaking line in Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. He was friendly, lively, passionate, funny, supportive and caring. He never remembered anyone’s name correctly, but he treated us as fellow professionals and gave us opportunities we would not have otherwise had. He is one of my favorite people on this planet.
Last week the high school opened a long-overdue (and that is an understatement) state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center. It has technology some professional theaters don’t yet have. It has several classrooms, a locker room to keep instruments from attacking students* and even a soundproof recording studio. The stage? Is massive! Rows upon rows of curtains! There is a catwalk! The dressing rooms? Have actual lights and mirrors and lockers and bathrooms! So! Fancy!
(Stole this photo of Summer, me and our friend Liz from Summer’s photostream.)
And we feel that this center should be named after Mr. Tygett. So we are on a letter-writing campaign, trying to put into words why Mr. Tygett deserves this honor more than anyone else (especially, especially more than Mario Lopez. ESPECIALLY**). My former teacher is not doing so well any more. He no longer recognizes his wife (who also taught at our school). And when the day comes that he must pass into the next plane, this world will be a slightly sadder place for his loss. Despite the fact that I haven’t seen him for nearly nine years (he was at a friend’s wedding four days before Margie was born. Yes she is almost nine. Fuck.) I will miss him terribly when it is time to say goodbye. He is immortalized in his movies and in our memories and our hearts, and we want to extend that to the students of the future, so that, in a way, he will continue to influence and inspire them.
If you happen to know him, or know someone who might, and if you’d like to write a letter, feel free to contact me and I will get you in touch with the woman collecting them to present them to the board. She also wants to bind them all up for a Christmas gift for him. I think that is a beautiful idea.
*Kidding. Probably. We heard a student say this and just wanted to hug her for being so awesome.
**I cannot stress this enough: ESPECIALLY.