26.6.12

Beyond the 140: Part 2

My first tears of the conference came during Dan Lewis's talk about Sesame Street and finding the mystery Gordon from a pilot episode of Sesame Street. He showed a clip and Jacki and I went to pieces. Having grown up on Sesame Street, we were both heartbroken when Mr. Hooper passed on, and then there he was. On a screen that brought him to life again. This may have been the first moment of tears, but it was far from the last.

Enter Kevin Honeycutt. The man commanded attention with his personality, humour and iPad? Kevin showed us the amazing things that iPhones and iPads could be doing for children, especially musically. This is where I got choked up. I have always wanted to play the guitar, as a vocalist being able to accompany myself would be a major boost. However, my right side and left side do not naturally work independently of each other. I can't drive a manual car because my feet want to work together, guitar has been the same with my hands. Kevin pulled out his iPad, velcro-ed it to a paperjams guitar, and played. If I had had a teacher with that kind of passion and willingness to innovate, I don't think I would have dropped out of school. Suddenly in front of me this man was playing the guitar, with one hand. Kevin opened my eyes to the fact that this piece of tech would finally allow me to learn to play the guitar maybe not traditionally, but what do I ever do traditionally? I was overcome by this realization. On the edge of my seat, tears flowing. When I tracked Kevin down later I couldn't thank him enough. While crying, I explained how badly I wanted to play and how I just couldn't. How his presentation was going to change my life. I'm now saving up for an iPad, I know it's going to take a long time to save but still less time then reconfiguring my brain.

It was a morning full of Sesame Street love as my dear friend Heather Hamilton took the stage to tell us about her son Zack. His life, his love, his legacy. I had heard Heather talk about Zack and her mission for Zacks Dream Room before, but something was different. Heather was beautifully calm. The pain was still there but it was outshone by something I can't put my finger on. Purpose? Acceptance? I just can't decide. It was almost as if she had realized how much Zacks short life meant to so many people and that he had a life purpose bigger than any of us. I was lucky enough to see Heather later that night after she had been to THE Sesame Street. She was glowing, like a proud mama should be. I just hugged her and felt the joy flowing through her, she had kept her promises to Zackie and all I wanted to do was hug her until she exploded. I was so proud, so happy for her. She lived through hell and came out on the other side.

We were roughly an hour from my talk... I could feel my anxiety creeping in. I took some deep breaths and looked around at my friends. I was ready for this, I had waited almost a year plus a lifetime for this moment.

It was almost time...

To be continued...

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