This week's very special Townie Tidbit, titled MISS UPCHURCH, was written by an amazing Ojai Townie, John Slade, and performed by another amazing Ojai Townie, Malcolm McDowell.
John Slade was a theater professional and musician of the highest order. He was also the finest of drama teachers -- an inspiration and much needed champion for the students of our public high school. He loved his wife and kids and Shakespeare and Walt Whitman. He regularly turned his classroom into an ad hoc sanctuary lunchroom for any students that felt excluded or fringy or like they didn’t fit in. He directed my daughter in her very first play, had an intense and heart-warming stare and an ability to bring out the best in everyone.
John passed away on July 7th. A victim of a hit and run driver, leaving our town -- bereft.
John was a master teacher and he was always a student and he took my class in 2012. Unfortunately it was before we started recording for The Townies Podcast. SO -- in truly hometown, homespun, neighborly style, Malcolm stepped in to honor the wonderful words of the late, great, loving-husband, father and friend John Slade.
To quote John’s beloved Walt Whitman -- and with our deepest condolences to all those affected by the events in Charlottesville and across the nation…
“Of Equality -- as if it harm'd me, giving others the same chances and rights as myself -- as if it were not indispensable to my own rights that others possess the same.”
Thank you Walt and Malcolm and John. And to our fellow Townies across this nation -- we stand with you in grief, equality, equity, loss and solidarity. This is The Townies Podcast. Welcome to the neighborhood.