Conservators and Hugs

I had a piece of Lladro porcelain restored by a lady named Nancy here in Baltimore, Maryland. She takes in the broken pieces and puts them together, seals them, paints them and lo and behold when she returns them to you, they are perfect once again.

I called her to compliment her on the workmanship she accomplished and she told me she does this for museums and galleries when things are damaged or broken. She called herself a Porcelain Conservator. I loved the sounding of those words and thought to myself; just maybe I could call myself a Dance Conservator.

My meaning would be that I try to instill and encourage everyone to go out and dance for the fun of it, for the social aspects of it and for good mental and physical health. Perhaps I am upgrading myself to being a conservator but sometimes I feel I am.

Many folks write me that I 'saved' them from being bored, from being depressed and most of all from themselves. They say they are my 'avid' fans and my delighted readers.

That makes me feel so good and I realize that anyone who reassures and supports another person is really a conservator. A conservator is a caretaker, a guardian and a restorer. Nancy restored the broken head of a statue of a lady sitting on a chaise type bench wearing a ballerina costume and because of hammering by workmen in my house doing porcelain tile removal; the ballet lady lost her head.

We picked up the pieces and put them in a plastic baggie and took them to her. She looked it over and said she could restore it.

The University of Maryland got a new president. His name is Wallace Loh and he said the following that his mom told him when he was young. "There are those that sing and dance and there are those who enable others to sing and dance. Don't ever forget what your responsibility is."

How impressive that line is and how productive for anyone hearing it. Not everyone can sing and dance or act or be a lawyer or a doctor. Everyone can enable others to have the spirit to go and do the action they want whether it is song and dance or anything else.

My friend and medical practitioner Dennis H. Myers here in Baltimore said one day to me "people can hug you in an email."

Wow, what a thought. We send emails and receive emails as part of our everyday life. When I was working in 1959 or so we could not imagine that one day we could know the sex of the unborn child, we could not imagine computers where we could communicate in an instant with anyone anywhere. We could not imagine having a phone on our waist or in our purse at our beckon call (no pun intended).

So we who can sing and dance can still be enablers and still inspire others to do things they never believe they can. We can hug someone in an email; we can be conservators in anything. It does not have to mean being able to put broken porcelain statues together. We can put people's thoughts together and help them accomplish whatever they want whether it be ballroom dancing, going back to college at an advanced age, learning to golf, learning to sew, and even starting a small business.

My friend Dennis is a conservator because in his vocation being a physician's assistant and also a counselor, he is a conservator. He is conserving a person's health, his mind when necessary and most of all he gives a mental hug by his very personable attitude to everyone. So hug someone in an email, encourage someone to restore their ambition and you will be their conservator. The broken Lladro piece of porcelain decoration is now all together and sitting in a place of honor on my baby grand piano. Though no one plays the piano anymore, the piano is the background for the statues and is in a way a conservator itself. It is the keeper and restorer of beauty holding onto the delightful sculptures and figurines. I imagine sometimes that they come alive and are dancing for me across the piano top. Just like the elves in fairy tales come to life and do things, so are my sculptures. They are probably dancing in the dark of the night when we sleep.

I know the lady ballet dancer sitting on the chaise is happy to be back in her space on the piano. She would if she could give me a hug.

So enable someone to be or do an interesting thing and you will have given a hug to yourself. You will feel so complete in having accomplished this idea and given it to another person. Anyone can be a conservator and that is now my favorite word because that is what I want to be and have tried to do these many years since 1990 when I wrote my first dance encouragement article. I did not know that word applied to me or anyone who I knew until I met Nancy.

Be a caretaker and take care of others with a hug, help or happiness. Dennis is in his medical practice, Nancy is in her restoring of broken statues and I try to be in writing dance articles. It is a good feeling and one that stays with us forever.

Elita Sohmer Clayman
October 2010

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Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL