Mike Nichols and E = mc2

Mike Nichols gave Meryl Streep and me the start to our film careers in Silkwood. That I was 46 years old at the time may have something to do with the fact that mine has been somewhat less spectacular than hers. At least I like to think that is the only reason.

Frankly, I was an asteroid to the sun of Mike Nichols, but his light shone as brightly on me as on any of the planets who were closer to him.

I still feel his light. Maybe when we pass on, what happens is something akin to the formula Mike’s cousin Albert devised: E = mc2, Our matter turns into energy–an energy of love that can continue to touch and support all who loved us. No limits. I have had so many losses of loved ones in the past, and been surprised by such connections and actual help that I developed this unique theory of The Beyond.

The fact that I have felt Mike’s presence and guidance during the time I came to Sarasota, therefore, is not totally surprising to me. Of course, the skeptical part of me continues to doubt. But it does seem as if the angels have been working overtime introducing me to wonderful people, leading me to and helping me buy this lovely little villa in Nokomis–all in a very short time. I have had such truly miraculous help along the way that it would take a long time to relate, so let me get to the story that illustrates my theory.

I moved into my new home on March 9th and unpacked for the umpteenth time in this wild winter of moving around. Late that afternoon I drove to the beach to relax and watch the sunset. I sat there knowing that sudden and scary as it is, this life change is perfect for me. The villa is nearly new and upgraded. I don’t have to do a thing. As I sat there, I began thinking about Mike Nichols. If he did have something to do with all these new, wonderful things in my life, I was grateful. I wrote, “Thank you, Mike Nichols” in the sand as the sun disappeared below the horizon and surrounded the words with a heart.

Leaving the beach, I went to a little out-of-the-way sea food restaurant. As I was waiting for my order, an older gentleman came up to my table. “Would you like to join us?” he asked.

“Oh, thank you,” I said. “But I just moved today and I’m exhausted. I don’t think I could keep up a conversation, but thank you.”

He went back to his table. I ate my meal and felt much better. I stopped at their table  as I was leaving to thank him again for his kind invitation. We introduced ourselves. Amazingly, the man who came to my table is David Shepherd. He gave Mike Nichols his first job at The Compass Theater which was the precursor to Second City.

I’m still stunned. What are the odds of David Shepherd being there at that little restaurant sitting at the table next to mine in Nokomis, FL? And what compelled him to get up and invite me to sit with them?

Was this mere coincidence? Or was it Mike Nichols with a nudge and a wink from The Beyond saying, “Yes, I’m still around. And look at what I can direct from here!”

Me and David Shepher


P.S. Here I am with David Shepherd, taken the next day when we all met for dinner. He’s 91, bright, and eager meet new people it seems.