Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.



Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the founding of my theatre, and today is my 35th wedding anniversary.

The theatre company, Moving Arts, is going as strong as ever. As for the marriage, it should be legally ended in the next 60 days. So: a somewhat mixed pair of anniversaries. And with both of them right on top of each other for decades, you can see why this season, of Halloween and the night before, has always rung so loud for me. In fact, my wife and I not only got married on Halloween, our wedding was a big costume party with about 200 guests in all sorts of masquerades.

Back to the theatre company:  I remember when our 5th anniversary seemed like such a huge accomplishment. We had a 5th birthday party, and rented out a restaurant, and had shirts made and everything. There were all sorts of way stations we set up in the restaurant where you could try games of chance or get your fortune read or whatever, all as lures to spend more money at our birthday fundraiser. It was insane good fun.

For another anniversary (the 20th, I think), we took over the old Silent Movie theatre on Fairfax and remounted our very first plays for one night only, then had cake and drinks in the courtyard out back.

But somehow, despite the doggedness we showed right from the beginning, when Moving Arts’ anniversary rolls around it still surprises me. “Thirty? Wow!” For our 5th birthday somebody had the good idea of doing a mini documentary or series of interviews or something, and one of our resident producers said there that we were in it for the long haul. She was right. (And I hope we have that tape somewhere….)

Re the other anniversary:  My wife and I separated in July of last year when she went to Florida and decided to stay. We’ve been working on the divorce in fits and starts since then, with me getting waylaid emotionally or getting pulled away by business, and she suffering through the death of first her father, then her mother. But we’ve kept it friendly throughout, and we’re still friends. That’s the way it should be. This morning I awoke to a text from her that showed one of our wedding photos, with the two of us in the 17th century royal court costumes we wore to get married, and the note “Still best wedding ever. 3 terrific kids and three decades of life experiences. To us. Happy Halloween, my friend.” And a heart emoticon. That was nice. (I did not point out that it’s been four decades of life experiences; at a certain stage, no one appreciates that sort of reminder.)

On October 15th, I celebrated a new kind of anniversary:  nine months of dating my sensational girlfriend. We’re both busy working professionals with many responsibilities: She’s a nurse practitioner of nursing who works full-time plus has her own practice, plus a 3-year-old son, while I’m kept busy with my company, my playwriting workshop, and my own writing. But somehow in those nine months we’ve gone roller skating, miniature golfing, to the movies, and taken three trips together and shared many laughs and a lot of love. I’m just crazy about her, and she about me, and anyone can see it.

So, 30 and 35 years later, the future looks bright. Moving Arts has a new and better home and many terrifically talented people attached, and my ex and I are still friends and still care about each other and still text or talk regularly, sharing laughs. One thing is clear: She will be very hard to replace at charades.

I’m looking forward to more anniversaries of all sorts.

2 Responses to “Anniversaries”

  1. Dan Says:

    A felicitous moment for looking back and glancing forward, and you captured the whole bittersweet feel of it.

  2. Joe Stafford Says:

    The rereading of this warms my heart.

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