To the Editor: Gish fan enjoys trip to BGSU
Written by James Patterson   
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 09:40
I enjoyed my recent trip to Bowling Green State University and the hospitality of Drs. Ralph Haven Wolfe, Brett Holden and Frederic Honneffer.  BGSU is a world class campus with exciting activities for students and the community.
One of BGSU's activities I am proud to be associated with is the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Theater. Lillian was a longtime family friend whose screen career began in 1912. I saw several of her TV and film performances while a student and began a correspondence and friendship with her that lasted many years.
One of Lillian's issues was elder dignity. She lived to be 99. Her last film "The Whales of August" was a celebration of elder dignity as two sisters come to terms with their differences on their remote Maine island home as winter approaches. It is a beautiful and poetic film. Dr. Wolfe and I are working to have the film named on the National Film Registry. We are also working to get a Forever stamp honoring Lillian Gish. See, a website unaffiliated with BGSU, to join us in these efforts.
I have been on travel since late July. In many ways it has been a Lillian Gish trip. I appeared at a screening of a new digital restoration of her 1916 film "Intolerance" at the Film Forum in New York. At a stop at the Franklin Market Library in New York, I found Lillian's 1955 "The Night of the Hunter" playing. I saw Lillian in 1953's TV production of "The Trip to Bountiful" and her MGM film "Annie Laurie" during my stay at BGSU.
While in Cleveland to see the career exhibit on the Rolling Stones at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, I discovered Lillian Gish with the Stones in a black-and-white collage from 1974. Yes, Lillian Gish is on exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and you can see her at
The future of the Gish Theater is exciting. As the elder population grows, attention will focus on issues of elder dignity, Lillian's early advocacy of it, and the educational work of the Gish Theater in raising awareness on this subject.  
I look forward to my next visit to the Gish Theater and the BGSU campus. Meantime, consider Lillian's sage advice, "A happy life is one spent learning, earning and yearning."
James Patterson
San Francisco

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