At some point in my community theater career I probably shook hands with Will Stackman. Maybe even exchanged a few words. I don't recall, though. He was a reviewer on Theatermirror.com and something I always liked about his reviews were that he didn't sugar-coat them. Other reviewers always were easy on the community theater productions, but a review with Will Stackman's byline was guaranteed to be a good one, meaning honest.
Anyway, he died a few weeks ago, and I read this obit written by his long-time life partner. After reading this, I wished I had gotten to know him, though there is a good chance he wouldn't have had any interest in me.
William James Stackman II, born May 1941 died June 2007 in Somerville, Massachusetts was a life-companion with me. I met Will in 1985 when he hired me as a folk singer for the Cambridge River Festival. The first memory of him was when on that day he was running madly through the streets trying at the last minute to make a place for the folk singers stage with some protection from a sudden rain that was unexpected. I followed him around and said, "Hey, mister, it's not your fault it's raining, don't worry." He grouchily said, " no, it's not my fault but I have to fix it."
The show went on between two trees on Memorial Drive and we all sang and the rain subsided. He had tried to string a tarp across from tree to tree. I called him the next day to thank him and we started talking. I asked him If I could meet with him again to get more ideas about performing in Cambridge. He immediately gave me names, ideas and sources. I continued to call him on artistic ideas and eventually he invited me to meet his friends and from there the friendship grew.
In 1988 we were lovers for a long time. We continued to see each other a few times a week but he had a certain living style and so did I and so we never lived together but instead spent much of our together-time at my home. He was my emergency contact on my passport, landlord, bank accounts and all. We shared everything, cars, people, information, theatre equipment, amplifiers etc.
Two years ago he wanted to formalize our twenty year companionship. I said paper wasn't necessary since everyone in the theatre, puppetry, and computer worlds knew and saw us together a lot. I wasn't much of a paper person. I was wrong, again, and he was right. Especially now that the details of his death are upon me.
William was honorable, brilliant, unselfish, giving, engaging, loquacious, funny, wise. He hated fools, cheats, liars, egoists, and especially gold-diggers. It seems his past had been loaded with them and he had estranged himself from friends and family who had exhibited some of these unsavory characteristics. This makes fulfilling his final wishes difficult since he was reticent about not getting in touch, or having me, or his other friends, get in touch with these neerdowells. Now, we must follow the laws. His next of kin, if they can be found by the detectives, must be informed by the Medical Examiner's Office before anything else can be done. Nevertheless, we go forward with many memorials that are planned and announced on this web site.
Many people who had seen us together at Cambridge River Festivals, Earth Day, Theatre Shows, parties, meetings and much more have called to tell me their favorite "William" stories. They are remarkably the same. "At first I was put off by his gruffness...but them I grew to love and admire and listen to him...." was the general outline with colorful incidents omitted.
As far as I can tell he had no enemies, did no harm, gave tirelessly of this mind, ideas, technical skills, laughter, physical strength and car. His only "flaw" seems to be his alternative-housekeeping style, and, a penchant for not giving out basic legal information (names, dates, numbers, addresses, etc).This proves to be his final challenge to those of us working without pay on the aspects of his memorials and his final wishes.
I look forward to reading all the comments and comical incidents that ran through this wonderful Sage's life. I remain in love with him till the day I go to "the other side," hoping, to see him again.
His particular voice rings daily in my ears and leaves my heart heavy. Our only alternative to sadness is to live up to the standards he demanded of us all. I am certainly trying as I cry daily for my man.
Labels: Action Bob Markle, actionbobmarkle, John Greiner-Ferris, Will Stackman