This past week three generations of my family (age range 29 – 87) and one small dog spent several days together. Over the 2010 Christmas weekend my two senior parents, my husband and me, our millennial daughter and her husband had great fun with one another. We especially celebrated our good health, because last year my husband’s mother was so ill and so close to the end of her life that celebrating was difficult. (She died just after the new year, on January 4th.) The six of us also went to a musical at a new theater that is totally senior-friendly.
A Few Observations About Our Multi-generational Holiday
- My husband and I planned each meal and finished grocery shopping before everyone arrived.
- We ate each lunch and dinner as a group, but in two parts — finishing the meal, cleaning up (everybody helped), and coming back to the table for coffee, tea, fruit, and dessert. This second seating enabled us to sit around and chat, mostly about family history (and, boy, did I learn a lot).
- We kept things simple, allowing ample time for reading, singing carols, napping, dog walking, cookie eating, and using our laptop, iPads, and smart phones.
- We assigned my parents to the warmest room.
- We never got to the jigsaw puzzle — usually a Christmas family tradition.
- We ALL loved our Christmas Eve outing, in this case to a matinée performance of Oklahoma!, at the newly remodeled Arena Stage in Washington, DC.
How refreshing to go to the theater and not have to worry AT ALL about the needs of the family members in our multigenerational group. The new Arena Stage complex of theaters is easy to navigate with elevators, ramps, large, easy-to-use restrooms, and comfortable seats. Theater goers, even people much older than my parents and people who need specific physical accommodations, have nothing to worry about when they go to see a production. Moreover, the amplification system in the theatre was flawless — it was there and working but not a bit intrusive. Three cheers for the people who envisioned, supported, and built the theater complex.
Oklahoma! was out of this world from the moment that Curly stepped onto the state singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’.” My parents remember when the show, the first collaboration of Rogers and Hammerstein, opened in 1944 (with Celeste Holm, who is still living, as the first Ado Annie). The other four of us had seen other productions of the musical, but nothing so wonderful as the Arena State production. The show also gave us a gift to take home — for the rest of the weekend reminisced a lot about musicals, performances, and culture, and that led to many more stories about family and friends.
Reviews of the Oklahoma! Production at the Arena Stage
- A Grand New State: You Just Cain’t Say No to Arena Stage’s ‘Oklahoma!’ – Washington Post
- ‘Oklahoma!’ Revival in D.C. Generates Broadway Buzz – New York Times