BY DEB AND TIM SMITH
On Friday October 24th we went to see the music group America at Del Lago Casino in Waterloo. It turned out to be a concert characterized by consistent coincidences. It also turned out to be a concert where we were able to make something special happen to bless someone in our community.
COINCIDENCE #1 ~ The first coincidence occurred when we arrived at our seats. After wending our way through the sold out crowd and toward the stage, we end up sitting by two good friends of ours, Andrew and Karen. That scenario, in and of itself, was not unusual because we’ve sat right beside them at a few dozen concerts, but they’ve almost all been Beach Boys concerts. They are basically our Beach Boys buds. But neither of us knew the other was attending this one, so it was a special surprise that we somehow still ended up together.
COINCIDENCE #2 ~ So at the end of the show we go to the stage to see if we can collect a souvenir and we are approached by yet another familiar face. It’s Amy Williams, who is the head custodian at Manor School and someone who Smitty worked with for several years when he was running the summer rec program.
Amy shares that she is hoping to get an America guitar pick for her grandson Damien Williams. For whatever reason, the America road crew is slow to come out and break down the stage; so slow in fact that Amy tells us she can’t wait around any longer and has to leave.
Upon her departure we put ourselves on a mission to help enable Amy to bless her grandson. It takes some doing but we are eventually able to get for her not only a guitar pick, but also a set list from the show.
SUPER SUPERINTENDENT ~ For some reason Smitty had it in his mind that Amy had retired, so when we got home we contacted HF-L Superintendent Gene Mancuso to share our story and see if he could provide us with contact information for Amy. Here’s Gene’s response . . .
“You’re going to laugh. Amy is now the head custodian at Manor. Works days. Still going strong. Your story is awesome, as always. 50 year anniversary of the merged district coming up! Thanks for looking out for your neighbors.”
MANOR MANEUVERS ~ So at that point we take our mission to the administration at Manor. With the assistance of Principal Jeanine Lupisella and Assistant Principal Joey Weaver, we are able to schedule a time on Wednesday, October 31st to meet at Manor and surprise Amy with America souvenirs.
And just to add to the frivolity, if the above date did not click for you, it is Halloween. So when we are buzzed into the building we are first greeted by unicorn Karen Drake who also serves as the attendance secretary. When we proceed to the office we are met by an entire herd of unicorns as that had been the designated Halloween theme for the office staff.
When we compliment Principal Lupisella on her horn we receive a slight clarification; they are not just your everyday unicorns, they are actually “Groov-icorns” which as any zoologist can tell you, are the grooviest unicorns on the planet. Once the pleasantries are exchanged Amy Williams is summoned to the office.
DELIVERING THE GOODS ~ We had attached the guitar pick to the front side of an orange sheet of paper, and the set list to the back. When Amy comes into the office she has no idea why we are there and comments on how ironic it is that we have crossed paths twice in a week. When we present her with our gift, her eyes light up and she gushes gratitude.
As Gene Mancuso noted, it was nice to be able to look out for our HF-L neighbors. When we contacted Jeanine Lupisella to fact check a few things for this article she helped us out and added the comment, “You made Amy’s day!”
COINCIDENCE #3 ~ And our final coincidence is one that we are going to use to set up an upcoming story we’re been working on. As we are departing the concert we happen to run into Mendon Town Clerk Jim Merzke and his wife Christine.
Not that this chance meeting wouldn’t have been a coincidence in and of itself, but there is a significant Merzke connection in another piece we are working on. Jim’s older brother Ross was actually in our graduating class and plays a significant role in our upcoming article where we will share the stories of some of the funniest and saddest moments of our high school days. We are going to make you laugh and we’re going to make you cry. Stay tuned . . .