Susan Lima stood in front of the class or sat on one of the student’s desks as she recited Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. She held a finger in the page of her Yale University Press version, but didn’t look at the words. Ms. Lima knew the play by heart.
“How now my love! Why is your cheek so pale?” Lysander, who is in love with Hermia, asks.
I was only a freshman in high school but I knew hers was a remarkable performance.
Decades later, my mother mailed me a box. Inside, I found clothing she bought at a tag sale, and then at the bottom a slim blue volume of Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Yale Shakespeare version edited by Willard H. Durham. The blue cloth was mottled with something white, perhaps from moisture. I opened the book. The name Susan Lima was written in perfect cursive on the second page.
I marveled. How many times did Ms. Lima hold this book as she spoke its words from memory?
Puck says, “Now the hungry lion roars; And the wolf behowls the moon.”
My good luck, I am certain.
I think of Susan Lima every time I see that book on my shelves. Here it is above.