Monday, November 05, 2007

Local Movie Stars

Shortly after my mother’s death a last year, a strange thing happened. My sister, who lives here in town, got a package from New York from someone didn’t know. The enclosed note indicated it was some sort of film recording of my mother that this person wanted to give to us. My sister didn’t know what it was and wasn’t prepared at that time to look at it. So she put it in a drawer. This past summer she passed it onto one of my other sisters who did look at it.

It turns out the woman who sent the package was Alice Elliot, the maker of the documentary that features two Springfield women with developmental disabilities. Apparently, my mother was friends with the two women, Kathy Conour and Diana Braun, in “Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy”. Mom met them through her work with the church. Conour and Braun were even at my mother’s funeral where I met them for the first time, but I had not idea they were so famous.

From what I’m told, she was visiting Conour and Braun one day when Elliot showed up with a camera for her film (or maybe Elliot was there and my mother showed up, I’m not sure). Anyway, Elliot wound up interviewing my mother for the film. When she heard that my mother had died, she sent the footage she had.

I have not seen the film, so I don’t know if my mother’s part is even in the final product. However, there is going to be a showing of the film here in Springfield a week from Saturday. I’m going to have to go to see if mom made the cut.

I haven’t even seen the outtake that was sent to my sister, so if she does appear in the film, it will seem very strange, almost like seeing someone speak from the grave. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing it.


nancy said...


What a great thing about your mother! Regardless if she is in the film, it must make you feel proud to know of her friendship with these two women.

JeromeProphet said...

I've had a chance to befriend many people with "disabilities" over the ears.

Some not so happy and using drugs, and booze and worse to get through the pain of being different.

Others coping with bad days and good - just regular people experience ups, and downs at the same time dealing with their "disability".

And some so incredible that they uplifted everyone they had anything to do with. Some to mind immediately :)

The one lesson I take with me on "disabled" people is that they don't want to be seen as "special", they just want to be treated with dignity, something that we all want.

I don't know if I'd feel proud of someone for knowing, and befriending a disabled person, but I can say that anyone who knew Helen would know immediately that they were dealing with someone with a big heart. Someone who would deal with you fairly. Someone you wouldn't forget, or ever want to.


nancy said...


Your point is well taken. I wasn't trying to convey that it is sacrificial or noble per se to befriend "disabled" people. I have read about these two women in newspapers and blogs and I think that I would be proud of anyone I know who was fortunate enough to spend time with such inspirational people. But let's face it, there is a certain ease with which a lot of us hang out with our friends: going out to dinner, drinking, parties. I would guess that a friendship with these amazing women would require more "effort", for lack of a better word. Maybe I'm wrong and overreaching. I wasn't trying to imply anything.

Levois said...

That's pretty cool!