Tonight Kate and I went to the Royal George Theater in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario to see Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession. I had forgotten until we arrived at the theater that I could not get seats together. I gave Kate the seat on Row C, Seat 19 while I took Row J, Seat 10. Knowing that Kate might be confused in locating her seat, I went with her along with the usher to Row C. The usher walked in front of her. I walked behind. There was only one empty seat, #19, and it was the third seat in from the aisle where we were standing. Both the usher and I pointed to the seat that was hers. Then I left to find my seat.
At the end of the first half, I got up to see if Kate would like something to drink. Most of the people were coming out; so I had to wait a few minutes before proceeding to her seat. When I got there, her seat was empty. I was surprised because I couldn’t understand how she had gotten past me. That led me to go back to the lobby. I didn’t see her there. Then I went outside where many of the audience were passing time. She was nowhere to be found. I asked one of the ushers if she had seen her. No luck. Then I went back outside and saw the woman whose seat was beside Kate’s on the left. She didn’t recall seeing Kate get up and didn’t seem to remember seeing Kate at all. I went downstairs to the ladies room. There was a long line. I waited a while. She didn’t come out. The woman seated next to Kate came down. I asked her to see if Kate were in the restroom. She was not.
I watched as the audience returned to their seats and they were about to close the doors. The theater manager held them open a little longer thinking she might show up. I couldn’t imagine that, but I appreciated their efforts. I told the manager I would go back to our hotel to see if she had gone there. I knew she would be unable to find it on her own but thought someone might have helped her find it. I also knew she wouldn’t remember the name of the hotel.
As I started walking, I turned on my phone. I saw that I had received a call from a Niagara-on-the-Lake number. It came in at exactly 8:45. Intermission was not until 9:00 or shortly thereafter. There was no voicemail message; so I called the number. It was 9:23. No one answered. I called just about every extension. I did, however, get the name of the place from which the call was made; so I walked 3 blocks down the street to the hotel.
There were two people at the desk. One of them was the person who had called. She said Kate had come into the hotel lobby and was looking at some printed materials they had on display. Megan was on the phone at the time. When she got off, she asked Kate if she could help her. Kate said that she and I were staying at the hotel. The woman checked the guest list, and we were not on it. Kate said she must have been mistaken. She asked the woman to call my cell which she did. She said she thought Kate had talked with me because she gave the phone back, thanked her, and then went outside presumably to meet me. The employee felt terrible about letting her get away. I tried to reassure her and told her if anyone were to blame, it is I. She stayed with me for about an hour after that. During that time we went back to the theater where the manager was standing outside looking for anyone fitting Kate’s description.
Before we left, we called 911. I gave all the information to the woman who answered the phone. I did the same thing when the police arrived. They had several cars. Three or four of the officers walked the streets checking on her. They had also put out the word to be looking for her. Fortunately, I had two pictures of her today in the clothes she was wearing. I was able to share them with the police though as it turned out that was not necessary.
The theater manager was quite helpful. She decided to lock the side doors of the theater and have everyone walk out the front entrance. She stood on one side. I stood on the other. We were looking to see if Kate had someone come back into the theater. No such luck.
One of the officers and I did a search of the ground level of our hotel in case she had come back there. We did not find a sign of her. No one at the hotel had seen her. Finally, the officer said he felt he should go out on the streets with the other officers to continue the search. He told me I should stay at the hotel in case she came back there. I stood outside the hotel as the officer walked away. Before he was out of sight, he turned around and came back toward me. He had his cell phone to his ear. When he was close enough for me to hear, he said, “They found her. They’re bringing her here right now.”
When Kate arrived in the police car, I asked where they had found her. He said she was in the tavern of a hotel down the street drinking a glass of water. Kate was as “cool as a cucumber.” She told the police officer that “My husband can tell you I’m not good with directions.” She said she never panicked during the whole time. I don’t know how long that was, but it appears from the people who were sitting on either side of her in the theater that she never sat down. That would have been a few minutes before 8:00. They found her about 11:15. Even the woman at the hotel corroborated her story that she was cool. She said that she would never have guessed that Kate has Alzheimer’s and that she seemed at ease. There was no sign of alarm.
Kate and I talked about the events of the night back in our hotel room. I said, “Well, we’ll have quite a story to tell.” She told me she did just what I had always told her, “Just stay in one place. I will find you.” She said she talked with a number of people in the tavern, and they were very nice.
I also told her I thought that it would be good for her to carry something with her that would have my cell phone number and the place we were staying. She agreed that was a good idea. I thought she might balk at that. The interesting thing is that I had brought some of my business cards with me along with a plastic case attached to a lanyard just for this purpose.
So how or why did it happen? I’ll never know exactly, but here is my best guess. Although I explained that we were sitting separately and went with her to her seat, I think she simply forgot even though it had been only moments before. She must have looked around before going to take her seat and wondered where I was. Thinking that she had walked away from me, she went to find me.
I feel like saying, “You can’t imagine my relief,” but I suspect you might have a sense of it. It was a nightmare. I consider it a major error on my part and feel rotten about it.
It is now 12:43 am. Kate is asleep. I am about to join her, but I just had to get this down while everything is fresh on my mind. Now if I can just get to sleep.