Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Clam King tales put past in context
When Adam Wade was a student at Manchester High School Central, he had a standing Saturday night date with his Greek grandmother, 'Yia Yia,' and her sister. It featured dinner at Clam King followed by the popular 1990s program "The Commish."
One Saturday, against his better judgment, the sisters convinced Wade to take them over to the airport after their meal to watch planes take off. Sure enough, all the cool kids showed up just in time to see him hanging out with his grandmother and great aunt at "makeout point."
Wade's funny and heartbreaking story "Another Saturday Night at Clam King" was featured on last week's episode of "The Moth Radio Hour" on National Public Radio. It made me laugh, cry, and feel so much better about my high school self.
Stories featured on "The Moth Radio Hour" are taken from The Moth's live Mainstage shows in New York and other major cities across the country. Each show features five exceptional storytellers sharing their tales, without notes, in front of a live audience.
In New York City, The Moth also hosts regular "StorySLAMS." Wade says in the past 10 years he has won 18 of these storytelling competitions and two of their big grandslam championships.
Last year, he was asked by The Moth to take one of his five-minute winning slam stories and expand it to 10 minutes for the New York Mainstage show and then to join the traveling show. He recently told his story at the Portsmouth Music Hall and to audiences as large as 3,500 people in Portland, Ore, Kalamazoo, Mich., Boston and Aspen, Colo.
Wade graduated from Central in 1994, a year ahead of me, and his parents, Ed and Cyndi, still live here.
Like him, I loved spending time with my grandmother when I was a teen. Being judged by your peers all day is exhausting, and my Mamie always offered unconditional love and praise in a world where I constantly questioned what I was wearing, saying, doing and feeling.
"Another Night at Clam King" goes on to share the anger and frustration Wade felt when he was outed as "a loser" in front of his grandmother. But I always thought Wade was one of the cool kids and definitely outranked me on the popularity index. It goes to show how perspectives are a little skewed in adolescence. (Unless, of course, we both really were big losers. In that case, we should have hung out more.)
I love that Wade is willing to go back to a difficult and awkward time of life, dig up the tenderness and humor that is buried there, and share it with the rest of us. And today he is king of the cool kids, working in New York City as a web producer for UNICEF/United Nations and being cheered by live audiences nationwide.
If you have never listened to "The Moth Radio Hour," you can hear it locally on NHPR at 4 p.m. on Saturdays. You can hear Wade's Mainstage story anytime by visiting www.themoth.org and learn more about what he is up to at www.AdamWade.com.
Give blood, save a life
When is the last time you donated blood? Can't remember? Sadly, neither can I. Let's all go to the Red Cross Blood Donation Center and give to honor Erin Bridget Sullivan Tremblay, who is alive today thanks to donated blood.
The blood drive is at the 425 Reservoir Drive donation center Monday, May 5, through Thursday, May 8, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and again on Saturday, May 10, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Last year Tremblay suffered a severe form of preeclampsia and almost died while giving birth to her second child, Bridget Mary, on April 4. After being given more than 40 units of blood at Elliot Hospital, she was airlifted to Massachusetts General Hospital where she received even more blood during a three-week stay.
Tremblay and her husband, Derek, who also have a 5-year-old son James, are spreading the word about how important it is to donate blood. As a recipient of donated blood myself – I suffered a similar problem during the birth of my first son – I wholeheartedly support the Tremblays' efforts. I hope you will too.
NH365.org event of the week
Vegans unite. NHVegFest, a festival to celebrate veganism in the Granite State, is coming to Manchester Community College Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Whether you have been a longtime vegetarian or vegan or are interested in learning more about this healthy and humane diet, this is the event for you. There will be free food samples, lunch available for purchase, yoga (bring a mat), meditation, lectures, music, a children's program and vendors.
Manchester Community College is at 1066 Front St. Admission is free.
For more information on this and other interesting events around Manchester, visit www.NH365.org.
If you have an interesting item for Scene in Manchester, write to Scene@UnionLeader.com.