I’ve long felt there should be a word for hearing someone just died, and realizing that you’d assumed they’d been long dead. This, I’m glad to say, goes in the other direction. Back in my college days, I knew an older woman named Hilda Banks Shapiro. And I just thought she was friendly and smart lady, but otherwise just a character on the local academic scene. And then, as we chatted after the showing of a Marx Brothers movie on campus, she casually mentioned that she’d been playing piano at major concert halls when she was 16. So this was a woman who had achieved pretty impressive stuff… and then went on with what she wanted in life. Anyway, part of that conversation we had, over a quarter century ago now, is something I want to build the start of a book around someday, so I shan’t repeat it here.
But catching some odd how-to-play-the-piano spiel on a local PBS station, I got to thinking about her. I did the googly thing on her, and the first articles I pulled up were talking about her being 74… and they were from seven years ago. So I though, “ach, if that’s what’s coming up, she probably disappeared or at least became infirm in the meantime.” But then I find this nice piece on someone’s blog, from just a year ago, and it sounds like old Hilda is still spirited, active, and sharp. Quite some lady. Follow the link, it’s worth a read.