Imperious, tenacious, and implacable, even while warm, gracious, and inviting, Marion Simon was a fascinating woman, all the more intriguing and attractive for the seemingly contradictory facets of her robust personality.
She could be guarded and enigmatic, ebullient and vivacious, sullen, rhapsodic, enraged, and reflective, all, it would seem, within the short span of an hour. The assertive sound of her footfall preceded her, a sort of prelude to the mood she was in. God help you if you caused that cloud to pass before the sun of her disposition.
Her wit cut like a scalpel and bestowed like a queen. She terrified me, a terror that was almost painful, and made all the worse by my desire to be welcomed into the kingdom of her good graces. I came quickly to admire her prodigious reading, her keen eye, and her fiery devotion to art, family, and a wonderful community of friends. So I began by being frightened of her, and I grew to love her and to treasure her approval.
I found later that it was she who was responsible for my being hired at Trinity Rep, in 1984, to join a splendid and spirited team in the Marketing Department, where I thrived as a writer. I will never forget handing her my first press release. She scanned it, returned it with a dismissive flick of the wrist, and said, “Why we keep hiring people who insist upon reinventing the wheel, I don’t know.”
In time, I earned her praise, which I wore, and still wear, as a badge of honor. And I will never forget a moment that we shared by the lobby stairs one day, as we watched the first snow of winter fall on Washington Street. A homeless man struggled to cross. No coat, no hat, no gloves. He turned down Aborn Street and disappeared.
“Have you read ‘Flood,’ by Red Warren?” she asked. I hadn’t. She paused for a moment. “It’s worth reading,” she said. “There’s a wonderful line: ‘There are always cracks. Even in a loving family. The question is just how much humanness you can get over the cracks. To hold things together.’ ”
Thank you, Marion.