Trudy and Me, 2012
Dear Sarah, Michael, Mary, Alan, Ilene, Gale, Melvin, and all of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the remarkable Gertrude Morse,
I wanted to contribute some words to commemorate your mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Trudy, who was a dear friend and fellow traveler for so many years. It has taken a few days for me to find something that could really say what is in my heart. As you know, she was a very special “force of nature”, and you are all fortunate to have had her in your lives. Sharing her with me and the wide world must have been a challenge at times, but it might also have been rewarding — hearing all of the vast stories of her travels and meetings along the way.
Trudy, was to me, a mentor, teacher, fellow traveler, surrogate mother, energizer, companion in late night giggling, lover of life, lovely dancer, musician poet extraordinaire, artist and project supporter, lover of peace, life coach and dear friend. We shared so many wonderful times together – watching performances, attending shules in Prague, visiting historic sites in Estonia and hanging out in New York City, where I live. Trudy hopped the bus numerous times to New York- where she would attend a performance I produced, or we would go to see something interesting together. Any time of year – she even came here on New Year’s Eve to see the Klezmatics (a founder, trumpetter Frank London was also a dear friend of hers), and got back on the 2am bus to DC.
I met her in the 1980s in New York. I have been trying to remember exactly when, but cannot find the exact moment. We shared love for two virtuoso performers Cecil Taylor and Min Tanaka – two extraordinary artists that I worked with as a producer. We saw them together in New York, at Jacob’s Pillow in Western Massachusettes and other wonderful venues. Trudy always had wise words of caution and encouragement, and she followed my work around the world, often flying to the location of a project to “help out.” Her presence was a joy to me and we shared some really crazy and fun times.
One time that I will relate – there are so many – was more recently in Prague in 2006, when she visited me there. We went together to watch Min Tanaka dance into the chilly Vltava River. (I covered the event for Dance Magazine) One year earlier, Prague had been inundated with a terrible flood. Trudy and I sat on the banks of the river as Min entered the cold water, keeping ourselves warm in the chilly autumn sunshine. Min’s dance was commemorating one year after the great Prague flood – and the reopening of Archa Theater, where he danced annually. (invited by Ondrej Hrab, producer)
Trudy always thought of the best way to support an artist on the road. In this case, she happened to have an instant ramen CUP NOODLE with her, the perfect food for warming up. She handed it to Min after he came out of the water and was drying off on the shore. It was such a brilliant cultural idea – and the exact food he needed to regain his body temperature afterwards. Min was very moved and pleased with her gift – an inexpensive but rich and smart gesture.
Another time, in summer of 2001, we were in Tallinn, Estonia, and the presenter who I was working with (Priit Raud of AugustTants Festival), organized for Trudy to stay at the ornate and exclusive presidential hotel, not an easy thing to do. The day after checking in, she left the palacial abode and moved herself into the Youth Hostel located in the center of Tallinn, declaring the Presidential hotel to be too fancy and “too far from the action.” Although Priit was surprised by her move, we quickly understood what she wanted and what she needed. She did not want to be far from where we were holding daily rehearsals, which she loved to attend and wanted to leave for a nap if she needed and return later in the day. She always gave me feedback about my production work, and kept me going strong. I loved her for that. We used to laugh so hard in the wee hours of the night on the internet together — me in NY and she in Maryland — telling each other stories that made me fall off my chair.
So many memories. I would need a book, and after reading the memories of so many others who were touched by her, it is clear that a book of memories already exists.
TRUDY MORSE (Moma Gila) , April 7, 1919 – August 21, 2013
May her memory be blessed for all time.Forever on my heart.
With love and care,Bonnie Sue Stein, Executive Director and Producer, GOH Productions/New York City