In March 2011, Oneonta lost Norma Hutman. I had the great fortune to work with Norma in readers’ theatre and to get invited to her big, grand, old house several times. For a while, I was sad that the house no longer stood or that her theater troupe, Snark and Bandersnatch, folded. These days, I think it’s fitting. Norma’s house was filled with relics from her life; without her in it, it just wouldn’t be right. Similarly, there was so much of Norma in S & B that any attempt to carry on would fall pretty short of expectations.
Yes, Norma was sometimes mean. Norma sometimes hurt feelings. But Norma, who taught at Hartwick and who often scolded me for calling her “Dr. Hutman,” was always honest. She never left something unsaid. Sometimes it is better to be totally honest; I thank Norma for that lesson most days.
Sometimes I wonder what Norma would make of Oneonta and the world today. Many things have happened since she died! We can’t know for sure what she’d say, but we can remember to be honest, and we can remember that just because someone isn’t nice doesn’t mean they’re not good.
Meyering is a former Oneonta resident and a Hartwick College graduate.