By Cheri Rae I wrote to the Santa Barbara Beautiful to figure out how to make this right—for Gilda Radner and her memory. I received a very nice note back from Jacqueline S. Dyson, VP-Public Relations for the organization.
She advised that the plaque has been there for quite some time, and that typically the original donor requests a Replacement Plaque and assumes the costs to do so.
In this case, the original donor is unknown, so it’s to a third-party to initiate a Request for Plaque Replacement and payment of related costs, which are approximately $100 for the new concrete base and metal marker.
It’s not often it takes just $100 to do something special in Santa Barbara.
Usually we’re talking many times that for consultants, surveys and reports. So here’s our chance, Santa Barbara Viewers, to initiate a Replacement Request Application and make a positive response to a negative act.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to help us fund a replacement plaque, below is PayPal donation button where any amount is accepted, and all funds will go to the plaque. We want it to read, dedicated to Gilda by unknown donor, and replaced by the readers of Santa Barbara View. Thank you for helping keep Santa Barbara Santa Barbara!
As Roseanne Rosannadanna said, “It’s always something.”
There was a time when just about everyone I knew remembered every line uttered by the huge-haired and long-winded “Saturday Night Live” character played by Gilda Radner.
Last week’s 40th anniversary show honoring “Saturday Night Live” included a tribute to the talented Radner by actress Emma Stone—who did her best, but couldn’t come close to the original.
It was a reminder of a uniquely talented entertainer who died at the age of 42. Gilda Radner has a star on Hollywood Boulevard, and a tree dedicated to her on State Street. I remember being delighted and intrigued years ago when I spotted the commemorative tree and Santa Barbara Beautiful plaque with her name on it. I always wondered about why it was there, and thought maybe now it was time to find out.
I took a stroll over to the spot near the Arlington Theatre, and my heart dropped to see that the plaque has been vandalized and defaced. If you didn’t already know it was originally inscribed with her name, you wouldn’t likely be able to figure it out.
This seemed so wrong; just when the loopy silliness of Saturday Night Live was on full display, and presented like an early historical treasure, the Santa Barbara connection felt like a sad and disrespectful downer.
When I was a small child, the vaccine had not been created yet and I contracted measles. I still remember that the doctor made several house calls; my room was kept dark, and my Sicilian grandmother—who believed in many old world folk tales—sewed up a pair of red flannel pajamas that were supposed to draw out the redness. I wasn’t allowed to read or watch television, and I was as sick and scared as my own little boy was when he battled his own vaccine-preventable disease. I couldn’t imagine I would ever get better either.
Those diseases were once so common and their effects so devastating that parents gratefully waited in line to get their kids their shots, relieved that they had the opportunity to protect their children from dreaded diseases.
Not so long ago, vaccines were not thought of as government conspiracies or Big Pharma moneymakers. They were considered lifesaving scientific advancements.
And maybe because they worked so well when virtually everyone got them, the misery and deaths caused by them were largely forgotten. Lulled into a false sense of security, an alarming number of individuals—who no longer believe in science or in the existence of deadly viruses or bacteria—are willing to rely on magical thinking to protect them instead.
I understand that magical thinking: I got into it when I wanted to believe my knee would just get better on its own. It didn’t. And even though I’d do just about anything to avoid doctors, clinics, insurance companies and medical tests, sometimes it’s necessary to go that route.
Sometimes it takes a shot in the arm, or even one in the knee to allow a modern miracle to take place.
Column by Cheri Rae: Cheri Rae is the author of “DyslexiaLand,” and consults with the Santa Barbara Unified School District about dyslexia. Her next “Dyslexia Dialogue” will be held at the School District office on Monday, Feb. 23 from 5-6:30.
“Really try to follow what it is that you want to do and what your heart is telling you to do.” –Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston has it all: She is accomplished, beautiful, rich and famous. On Friday, January 30, she is scheduled to receive the prestigious Montecito Award at the 30th Annual Santa Barbara Film Festival in recognition of her career-long “classic and standout performances” and her style that “has made a major contribution to film.”
And, as she recently revealed, she has dyslexia. In a lengthy article published in The Hollywood Reporter, Aniston noted that school had always been a struggle for her, that her favorite classes were art and drama—and that she never considered herself smart. She spent much of her time in school developing her sense of humor and cultivating friendships. When she was identified with dyslexia in her early twenties, it was “life-changing,” she said. “I felt like all of my childhood trauma-dies, tragedies, dramas were explained.”
Jennifer Aniston is in good company. Show business—past and present—is full of talented, award-winning individuals with dyslexia, including innovative directors Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg; actors Kiera Knightley, Orlando Bloom and Tom Cruise; screenwriters Fannie Flagg, Brian Grazer and Billy Bob Thornton.
So why does it matter for any of us to know about a famous person’s dyslexia? Because people with dyslexia struggle so much in school, they need to know there is successful life after the classroom. They need to have hope that they will succeed.
Just this week, I met with the mother of a high-school girl with dyslexia who aspires to be a photojournalist. She is a cheerleader with lots of friends; she’s bright, funny, and motivated to achieve, and she loves to perform. But she does not do well on tests; she struggles with her reading and she often stays up until two o’clock in the morning completing her homework. The poor girl is getting ground down; she, does not feel like she is smart, and is reluctant to set high educational goals for fear she will not succeed.
When I told the mom that she should tell her daughter that Jennifer Aniston just revealed her dyslexia and her feelings of not being smart, she brightened at the thought.
Positive role models matter. Because Jennifer Aniston was willing to talk freely
about her struggles in school, her feelings of inadequacy in the classroom, she will have a whole new group of admirers when she steps out on that red carpet: the 1 in 5 individuals who share her dyslexia will now view her with the respect that comes from shared understanding of triumph over difficulty.
Her revelation—that grabbed headlines around the world—means hope: If she could succeed with dyslexia, maybe they can, too. For so many of these kids and their families, dyslexia is a hidden issue of quiet desperation. But she has shined a bright light on dyslexia, and brought to it to a much bigger stage, right at the moment when all eyes are on her for her many accomplishments throughout her career.