Who would ever think that Liquor Lyle's would be the perfect place for a wake?

Almost another lifetime ago, off and on at the end of high school, into college, and when I first moved back to Minnesota, I worked part-time at the Guthrie box office. This was back when the Guthrie was the award-winning Rip Rapson building attached to the Walker, with one thrust stage, a sprawling backstage area that included a staff bar called the Dram Shop, and the best damn box office in the Twin Cities.

The box office manager was Pam Truesdell, who, by the time she hired me, was already a Guthrie legend. Tucked back in the windowless back corner of the office, smoking god-knows-how-many packs of cigarettes a day, Pam ran that office with an iron hand. A typo on an order resulted in a "print-screen," posted on the board for everyone to see. More than 2 rings before you picked up the phone and you heard about it. And if you had worked your way up to the front window, you had better treat everyone that come into that lobby with the ultimate in courtesy, whether they had a top price seat or an $8 rush ticket.

In that way, Pam was the best boss I could ever with for. She taught me early on to demand a lot of myself — bit she also had a gift for figuring out what you were good at, and challenging you to do even better. I learned from Pam never to make excuses for yourself, but tat the same time to always give others the benefit of the doubt.

And I was not the only one. At Lyle's tonight was a wonderful group of people, of all ages, who had worked with and respected Pam (and who all had equally fierce stories about her). So many of them were people I worked with, and still care deeply about (you know who you are, and it was so wonderful to see you tonight). When Patrick dropped Beatrix off, one of them knelt down and kissed her hand, and she is still swooning about it.

This is the environment where I learned about theatre management. These are the people who made me what I am today. And I am so, so lucky to have that in my life. Pam would have loved tonight, but would have loved even more what an effect she had on people's lives. I hope she sensed even a glimmer of that.

Thank you so much, Pam.


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