Six years after it was completed and five years after its first broadcast, “Prisoner of Her Past” came home to Skokie, where the story originated.
“Conversations with Ed Tracy,” an ongoing series at the Skokie Theatre (conversationswithedtracy.com)
The next morning, Tracy copied Howard on a message Tracy had sent to a friend. We asked Tracy if we might share this message here, and he generously agreed. We thank him for his eloquence:
“We have already covered some important topics, but they will not all be stories as intense — and well told — as Howard’s. I think those who attended saw a different side of Howard Reich, an incredibly intelligent, articulate, animated individual who has had a very complex life himself. Thankfully, for all of us, he turned his passionate focus at an early age to music, art and other cultural pursuits like books and film, to continue to learn, understand and cope with his own situation. Recognizing that, he is now trying to help others.
“Howard and I have known each other for over 12 years, and I have read much of what he has written during that time. I have watched and participated in the development of this project, but each time we sit down I see continuing maturity in the story, its relevance to the issues of age and infirmity we all face and the direct connection of childhood memories and experiences that impact our later life.
“That Howard has managed to accept this situation and continues to cope so positively with his mother’s condition is in itself extraordinary considering his career demands. His love of music and writing evolved quickly from a defensive mechanism, to block out his childhood trauma, to a dynamic coping mechanism that helps us to grow and evolve as human beings. Music and artistic pursuits guide us through all of the emotional highs and lows of life. Every performer has that resource and outlet in their own music or art … a means of escape into a beautiful, melodic place that brings so much joy to others.”