“When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile. We breathe, briefly. Our eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity. Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on kind words unsaid, promised walks never taken.” Maya Angelou

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”Nelson Mandela

Congratulations to my grandson Gregory Packer Jr. graduating from South County High School in Fairfax Station, Va., with a 3.98 GPA. The 2012 graduating class had 493 graduates many matriculating to higher education, attending West Point, George Mason University, University of Alabama and The College of William and Mary, where Gregory will be attending. I was astonished that the graduation at George Mason University started at 2 p.m. and was finished at 3:45.

Kudos to principal Dr. Jane Linn, staff and faculty for the yeoman task undertaken calling 493 names and such a memorable graduation. The school’s Symphonic Band and Orchestra provided the music.

The guest speaker General Colin Powell’s grandson Bryan Powell was among the graduates. The Class of 2012 received $4 million in scholarships.

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams, for when dreams go life is a barren field frozen with snow.” Langston Hughes

Congratulations to Shauntese Trye, Anthony Butler, Orlando Mayo and Anika Griffith, on the opening of their new law firm Trye Butler Mayo Griffith.

“And when great souls die, after a period, peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.” Maya Angelou

The death of my longtime friends and educators Charlotte Harper, Betty Edmonds and Miss Mary at the ages of 92, 87 and 105 respectively left a void in my life. These dynamic women were the epitome of grace, charm and elegance. I am better because they existed and I knew them.

Sending ivy and violets to Juanita Gates, Cheryl Jones, Sharon Mays and family on the death of Charlotte Holsey Harper, to the family of Dr. Betty Edmonds on her death and to the family of Mary Allen on her death.

“If you build it, they’ll come.” Field of Dreams

They came from all corners of Maryland and surrounding states to be a part of the grand opening of Maryland Live. Over 2,000 people attended the VIP reception, we dined on scrumptious delicacies including lamb chops, tenderloin and desserts while sipping cocktails as costumed performers entertained us throughout the enormous casino. While we were enjoying the VIP reception, outside the crowd awaiting the official opening was growing.

Hours after the VIP reception “round midnight,” I joined Kevin Johnson & Marty Glaze of Commercial Interiors, the company that did the interior of the casino for a burger at Bobby Flay; imagine my surprise when Bobby Flay personally served me my burger.

“New York New York” LeVesta Crute and the Baltimore Cancer Society invited me to join other breast cancer survivors for “a day away” to see the Broadway play “Street Car Named Desire” starring Baltimore’s “pride & joy” Nicole Ari Parker and Blair Underwood “and you don’t know how glad I am.”

“I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps” We arrived around 10:30 in the morning to a city that was bustling with people milling about in Times Square or “sitting in the park.”

“He spends his love walking the streets of New York City.” Stevie Wonder

I sat at a café table in the middle of Times Square surrounded by bright lights, sounds and action watching a little boy at play slowly edging closer to me playing hide and seek under his blue umbrella. I joined in the fun with him as his aunt looked on in amusement. Like a gentle kiss, a light mist fell briefly and Devin popped from under the umbrella and said to me “you’ll get wet, let me hold my umbrella over your head.” I said you are going to be a fine gentleman when you grow up.

With a child’s heart, nothing can ever get you down; with a child’s heart, you’ve got no reason to frown,

He stretched his body and said I’m already six and I’m going to see Mary Poppins. I asked him if he knew the song “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” He said, “no but I will after I see the play.” I left to go to the theater and heard a little voice yell, “have a good day it was nice meeting you.”

“One moment in time” I thought about Devin from New Jersey the remainder of the day with his brown curly hair and wide-eyed innocence and prayed that he’s never blinded by color.

“Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”Blanche DuBois

The performance by Nicole and the cast of Streetcar named Desire was superb. Nicole’s portrayal of Blanche DuBois the fragile Southern-belle was the quintessence of the character in the original movie starring Marlon Brandon and Vivien Leigh.

The 49 breast cancer survivors were elated when I asked Nicole to board the bus to say hello to her Baltimore fans. As the cameras started flashing, Nikki graciously thanked us for supporting her and said how proud she was to be among so many strong survivors. So catch “The A-train” to see Tennessee Williams’ classic and Baltimore’s star Nicole as Blanche Dubois with Blair Underwood as Stanley before August 18.

“I’ll be seeing you” continue, “Living for the weekend” Valerie & the Friday Night Bunch