Theatre is my livelihood
My “Know I Should”
My “Always Would.”
When asked by someone what I do for a living it usually ends up being an educational opportunity for the person who has asked me that question. You see I am a living historian. A statement like that will usually be followed with a quizzical look or a plethora of questions wanting a deeper explanation. It is simple really. My job is to help people understand the past through interpretation. Through my work, I have met people from all over the world and have exchanged many thoughts and ideas about the past, in particular the everyday past of a small town community.
My earliest political memory is of my father’s reaction to my uncle’s observation that he thought Robert Taft would be a good president. Daddy narrowed his eyes and slowly shook his head: “Taft was never a friend of the working man,” he growled. Born and raised in Saline County, my parents were staunch Democrats, and my grandfather had served in the Legislature as a Democrat before it became a non- partisan unicameral.
Making Meaning: Heather’s Story
These things inspire me: Thomas Jefferson’s design for the Rotunda at the University of Virginia, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s sculpture “Torn Notebook” on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Willa Cather’s brilliant novel of loss and survival on the Great Plains, My Antonia. Architecture, art, history, and literature all make meaning in our lives. Whether we know it or not, whether we recognize it or not, they frame our outlook and inform our understanding of the world around us.
When I was thirteen my mother gave me a paperback copy of Bess Streeter Aldrich’s A Lantern in Her Hand. The book told the story of a girl who grows up in the Nebraska Territory in the late 1800s.We had just moved from Nebraska to California, and the gift may have been my mother’s way of encouraging me to know and appreciate my heritage on the plains. It worked! I developed a love for history, Nebraska, and reading.
I did not fully discover the powerful draw of the humanities until college.
I started out at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as an engineering major, thinking that was the professional path I wanted to pursue. As I slogged through calculus, chemistry, and other engineering-related courses, I realized that history, literature, and political science were the subjects I really loved and flourished in. What began as academic misery transformed into sheer joy once I made the transition to the College of Arts and Sciences midway through my sophomore year.