GENE ENGLAND AND A TICKET TO CATS!
By Jean Marshall
AFTER SPENDING A very rich semester abroad in London with Gene and Charlotte, Don and I were packing to leave. The Englands, however, were staying on a few more weeks. Gene stopped me on the front steps of the BYU Center and asked if there would be anything he could do for us after we left, anything we had not had time to take care of. That was so typical of Gene—his sensitivity to the needs of those around him.
Let me go back to earlier in that wonderful three-month adventure. I had purchased a ticket to a pre-opening performance of CATS knowing absolutely nothing about it but intrigued by the poster. I attended a matinee while our children were in school and saw immediately that many adults had brought children with them. Well, of course, then the delightful T.S. Eliot verses which I had never heard before came alive as the marvelously cat-like dancers moved across the stage to Andrew Lloyd Weber’s music.
The minute it was over, I purchased three tickets for our children to see it the following Saturday. The children loved it, and Reagan, our son, five years old at the time, was transfixed. We had front-row seats, and at intermission, Old Deuteronomy (Brian Blessed) walked over and asked Reagan if he would come on stage and help him watch out for cockroaches during the interval.
Some weeks later, Gene had an extra ticket to CATS and offered to take Reagan along to see the show again. His thoughtfulness and generosity were wonderful gifts.
When Gene asked if he could do anything for us in London after our departure, at first I said that there was nothing, but then I recalled that the cast recording of CATS would come out a week or so after we left, so I asked if he could purchase one for us and bring it back with him. He faithfully followed through on that task.
It was a little thing in some ways, and surely he was as busy as we were, but I have not forgotten that kindness. So forever, tender memories of Gene are mixed in with the thrilling memories of seeing CATS in London.