Saturday, September 18, 2010

From Romany Kramoris, Sag Harbor, NY

Owner, Romany Kramoris Gallery

The Secret Life of Rhonda Copelon - Main Street Night Owl

Everyone I've met at Rhonda's dinners, events, and sedars have been high powered professionals. Serious. Accomplished. Impressive, each one in what they are doing to improve the world. They all bite off big chunks. How did I fit in with all these luminaries?

We met first at the Music Festival where I volunteered on PR. With comp tickets for the most glorious classical concerts and world renowned musicians, my task was to fill seats. I began picnic dinners under the tent with friends who invited friends before and to each concert. Everyone called everyone and everyone brought a dish or a bottle of wine. Each picnic was a pre-concert banquet. In anticipation of an extraordinary evening, we had fun talking and eating, tasting some unusual creations. Rhonda became my best comp taker. With delight, she papered many a seat by herself and with friends. When concert season began, the phone began. Rhonda was first or nearly first. "What are your favorites this year? Who's playing? Any possibility of 8 tickets?" "I'll let you know if any more are released." She became enthralled with the concerts and at some moment I realized this was our special connection.

Over the last several years, late, near midnight and after the Sag Harbor Cinema discharged it's audience to the streets. Many would see my lights on and come in to talk, listen to music, see the current show. Expressing intimidation at first toward coming in, eventually she did and decided to start a journal. She bought one from Nepal with handmade pages and a maroon cover with a wood button and simple string closure. It looked very ethnically Rhonda. She quickly became very comfortable dropping in late at night for long or short. Music in the dark of the night during quiet hours became an anticipated and repeat event over the years. Sometimes she came with books of favorite photographers. We'd go on into the wee hours picking out favorites or the best qualities. Sometimes we'd find something that didn't quite work. "Why not? This is fun." Next came her own photography. Images of the waves and ripples, evening sunsets, both subtle and brilliant at Long Beach. Some calm, some magnificent. Pictures of pilings that she poeticized as "Refugees". Her photographs reminded me of doctor's orders to exercise. I love to swim in the bay after work at 11 or midnight. No one else wanted to join me except for Rhonda. We'd plan to meet with big towels and hot herbal tea.

At the concert picnics, Rhonda met Jutta whom she immediately loved and adored and Jutta loved and adored her back. This past blizzardy Christmas with snow piled miles high we got a call at 10:15 from Rhonda. She wanted to see us after the movie in Sag. She arrived like a trooper, bearing gifts of Viennese dark chocolate cocoa and other Austrian delights to nibble on plus a romantic candle. We laughed, we jided, "what are you doing out in this blizzard". We caught up. We listened to Sutherland's Christmas Album and Schumann's energetic, lifting and moving "Op. 44", one of my faves in the Blue Angel Room, our new room stringed with hundreds of criss-crossed colored lights. Magical!

Rhonda left a card for us which said, "You have added music and beauty to my life. I feel so enriched." Jutta and I tucked the Schumann into her pocket. We kissed each other, turned all the outdoor lights on, and Rhonda turned on her giant flashlight. We watched her trudge happily over the snow bank to find her buried car.

One Sunday evening last May, Nancy came in and urged that Rhonda wanted to see me out on Main Street. I ran out to the wagon filled with friends, hugged her, and told her how much Jutta and I loved her. It was a beautiful calm evening when I finally left the gallery that night just in time to see the last sliver of sunset over Long Beach.