Friday, June 15, 2012
me kissing Nicci
So the organizers of the reunion are on the stage at Cheatham Street Warehouse, making announcements and one of them said, "And over here we are excited to have with us Nicci Harrison." This made me sit up and take notice. Nicci Harrison is here? Squee!
Nicci was the department secretary my freshman year at SWTSU. That doesn't even begin to tell you who she was. Telling you that we all referred to her as "Mama Nicci" maybe tells you more. She took care of us. She nurtured us. She loved us. I don't think I can stress that enough. Goodness, to be den mother to a bunch of theater majors . . . well, just think about that a moment.
What's more, I got to know her my senior year of high school. When I arranged a visit to the SWTSU campus my senior year, to see a show in the theater and generally hang out in that round, moat-encircled building for a day, Nicci hosted not only me, but another prospective student in her home. I can't imagine anyone doing that nowadays, and really, I'm not sure many people would have done it in 1982. Nicci did. She welcomed two high school boys into her home, gave us a place to lay our head at night, gave us breakfast in the morning. That was our Mama Nicci.
At the end of my freshman year, the department chair changed and Nicci felt that was a good time for her to make a change, too. She left the department but never our hearts.
So now I have to tell you the mortifying part of my evening in San Marcos. When I went over to say hi and tell her who I was how I remembered her housing me for a night . . . I knocked over a glass of tea on her table. She had two binders full of what I gather were memorabilia from her years as our Mama Nicci and I spilled tea. Luckily, it wasn't a full glass and I think only the edges of some pages got wet, but wow. Do I know how to re-enter someone's life? I put my hand over my name tag and said, "Well, now I don't want to tell you my name." And as I'm helping wipe up tea and apologizing and basically feeling about 3 inches tall, she's saying, "oh, that's all right, don't worry about it." Because that's what Nicci would say.
And after all that? She still let me give her a kiss. Because, you know, she's Mama Nicci.