Over the last year and a half or so, I've had the great good fortune to reconnect with some of my long lost high school friends. One of the sad things that has made this current bond a bit stronger is that we collectively mourned the passing of two of our friends and peers at about this time last year, both of whom had been in my extended circle. One of them was Dagmar Matzat, who I especially remembered for her dramatic flair.
Here's why I'm choosing to commemorate her in this particular blog. When we were all in eighth grade together, Dagmar did a solo rendition of Poe's The Tale-Tell Heart. She was just a young girl, barely a teen, but she managed to put her heart and soul into her rendition:
TRUE! — nervous — very, very dreadfully nervous I had been, and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses — not destroyed — not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Harken! and observe how healthily — how calmly I can tell you the whole story.
I'll never know why she chose this particular story, but I will until I lose life or sentience always be able to picture her pacing the stage in a fevered way, conveying the madman's character.
The odd thing, though, is that no one I know has the slightest recollection of this piece. This role, this bravery of undertaking it, which is the defining essence for me of my long ago friend, is not part of anyone else's general consciousness. Perhaps there is someone else in the world who remembers this, but among the four or five people I asked, it made not an impression, and I know at least some of them were there that day.
I suppose Dagmar herself would have remembered it, but alas, I will have no chance to ask her, and it's quite possible that even she would by now have suffered a lapse of memory.