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The nearest town is 23 miles away from the opera house, but audiences filled its 114 theater seats so many times over the years that extra chairs sometimes had to be brought in. Becket wrote songs, dialogue, sewed costumes and painted sets. She danced every Monday, Friday and Saturday whether the house was full or empty — as if thousands were watching. She spent six years drawing and painted imaginary fans on the opera house’s walls and painted the ceiling with a blue sky, dancing cherubs, clouds and doves.

“I love dance, I love ballet, It’s the world I want,” she told The Associated Press in 2001, “It’s mystifying, I feel as if this is what I was intended to do.”, Her husband left in 1983, leaving Becket and her longtime friend, emcee, stagehand, stage manager and silent sidekick Tom how to make demi pointe shoes Willett as the town’s only residents, Willett died in 2005, Becket continued to dance well into her 80s, although health problems slowed her in later years, She gave a final performance in February 2012, before turning the theater over to a nonprofit group..

Some memories come back with a sudden clarity, like a short circuit suddenly sending an electric spark along an unintended path. When I visit my 90-year-old mother, Muriel Herhold, at Channing House in Palo Alto every Tuesday, I conduct a delicate dance with her memory, trying to lead her in a few steps from the past. Her recollection is cloudy. She can’t remember that I visited last week, or what she ate for breakfast, or whether her oldest friend saw her yesterday. On certain days, my name comes slowly to her lips — though she knows that I work for the newspaper, and she repeats that distinction proudly to her friends.

Many of us with aging parents deal with the heartbreak of their fading memory, But sometimes recollections come back with a sudden clarity, like a short circuit sending an electric spark along an unintended path, It happened that way last week, when I found her with 20-odd other Channing House residents in a poetry seminar led by Foothill College instructor Diane Lee Moomey, This wasn’t precisely a college honors seminar, As Moomey read in a melodious voice from Robert how to make demi pointe shoes Frost, Wallace Stevens and Walt Whitman, long silences followed..

You could tell, however, that this was a group of readers. One woman recalled walking through a wheat field as a child, vouching for Whitman’s description of “the bustle of growing wheat.’’. Another remembered trying to read as much of Louisa May Alcott as she could as a girl — “Little Women,”  “Little Men,” and “Jo’s Boys.’’. A third woman flashed a still-lively mind when she edged past Moomey, saying in a clear voice, “I can only see you as an indistinct mass. I’m blind. But you have a lovely reading voice.’’.

My mother stayed quiet through most of this, Then she seemed to stir at a phrase deep in a Wallace Stevens poem about blackbirds, “He rode over Connecticut in a glass coach,” the line went, Leaning forward, I tried to prod her, “Mom, do you remember living in Connecticut? In New Haven? At the Henry Wright Cottage?’’ She nodded, Moomey then read a couple of wonderful poems from how to make demi pointe shoes Mary Oliver about her dog, Percy, named for the poet, Percy Shelley, One passage described Percy’s impatience as Oliver did her taxes..

“Percy, I say, this has to be done,’’ goes the poem. “This is essential. I’ll be finished shortly.’’. “Keep me in your thoughts, he replies,’’ the poem continues. “Just because I can’t count to ten doesn’t mean I don’t remember yesterday, or anticipate today.’’. After Moomey finished, one woman who was assisting an older friend circulated a picture of Mary Oliver and Percy, the poet and the dog eyeing each other like the old and dear friends they were. When that picture got to my mother, it seemed to jar something loose. “1949,’’ she said. I thought she meant the year she lived in Connecticut, the year I was born.

Armin van Buuren is one of electronic music’s top stars, having earned the No, 1 DJ ranking from DJ Mag no less than five times, The trance music titan has also nabbed a Grammy nomination for best dance recording (for “This Is What It Feels Like” in 2014) and released six studio albums, He’s out on how to make demi pointe shoes the road in support of 2015’s “Embrace” and performs Feb, 3 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Show time is 7 p.m, and tickets are $35-$99.50,, Follow Jim Harrington at and

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