Like many others, I labored through Shakespeare as a student, but found my love for the Bard many years later. I remember sneaking out of bed in my teens when the rest of the house was asleep to see the end of the original Romeo and Juliet. I also remember being so shaken by the ending, that it stayed with me for years.
My reintroduction to Shakespeare came in a most unusual way; because of a sonnet. Sonnet #75 to be exact. In the 90s, on the soap opera “General Hospital”, an Australian billionaire fell head over heels in love with a world famous model; all 5 foot 2 inches of her; because in soap world, that kind of thing happens. He convinced her to run off and marry him after her ex boyfriend the mob boss decided to stay in his arranged marriage. (Stay with me.)
The model’s older sister, the cultured, educated, business minded sister sent the happy elopers a leather bound collection of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and upon seeing the gift, our daytime billionaire began his recitation.
“So are you to my thoughts, as food to life, and a sweet seasoned showers are to the ground . . . .”
And I was hooked. That summer I began a personal study of Shakespeare’s poetry, and for one summer, I was Brooklyn’s answer to a Bard scholar.
My little heart fell for a tv billionaire, and the Bard that summer, and they both still hold a fond place in my memories. Even if the critics believe it was an ode to a financial sponsor rather than a lover, I’ve forgiven Will for the deception.