Vickie Stephan Dudas

Born 6/18/1953 Marrakech

Greenwich, CT USA

Writer, former teacher, mother of three marvelous children,
three border collies and one cat.

 Most importantly...ardent RH fan.

 

I met RH in person for the first time in Long Island, NY while he was touring with Camelot at the Westbury Music Fair. After an autograph and careful reading of the brochure I decided to go on a quest to Paradise Island to see for myself where Harris called "Home”. Originally, I had this vision in mind that one day I would write the great bio on Harris. Apparently he had the same vision and was either in contract or mulling this over on his own behalf (or so he led me to believe) in the Café Martinique on Paradise Island some 20 odd years ago). What would make a great story are the adventures and quests I had over those 20 years…from Long Island, to Hog Island to Scranton University where Harris taught a drama class and produced the play Julius Caesar. To the rather sad time when Richard founded the Dermot Harris Foundation which would bring one student from Ireland to Pennsylvania for their college degree. It was a great foundation, started on behalf of his brother who also died way before his time. I was a listed supporter of the foundation. Work and pleasure would find me back on Paradise Island rather frequently in the early years. I don’t think there was ever a trip I took to Paradise when Richard wasn’t in residency at his home called Kilkee. I was fortunate to be able to see him often walking the long beaches and catch a word or two. He played a bit of baccarat in the casino and entertained his friends and associates in The Café Martinique. He was always a gentleman. Whenever possible, time permitting, I would travel here and there with my great friend Lynda. Whenever Camelot was local we would try to attend…the memorial for Lerner in the city…then back to Scranton for the foundation dinners indeed Richard was a very busy man. As time went by, the trips to Paradise Island ceased. My best friend Lynda passed away…my manuscripts succumbed to fire. I gave birth to my daughter on St. Patty’s Day in 1989…I looked at the tickets to the concert that Richard would be giving in NYC on this glorious St. Patty’s day. I then gazed into my new daughters eyes and realized the years of quests had grown old…as had I. I kept up with the movies and the interviews as best I could. Harry Potter had taken the world by storm. Richard was introduced to a brand new league of fans! It was spectacular. I even planned a trip for Thanksgiving of 2002 with my family to Paradise Island! I had hoped that maybe Richard would be walking the beach after all this time…relaxing after a job well done with the Potter role. Unfortunately, on October 25th of that year, Richard succumbed to Hodgkin’s disease. We did go to Paradise Island. It was unrecognizable! So much had changed. What saddened me the most was knowing that Richard would never walk that beach again. There would be no chance encounter in the casino or Café Martinique. The Café had been torn down and a marina put in its stead. Paradise Island had changed. I had changed. I have visited Paradise Island about 7 times in the past 4 years. I’ve been over to the old house. I’ve sat on the beach and just gazed at the sunrise and sunset. While things have changed completely…the sunrise and sunsets will always remain the same

So it is...so it becomes...rest in peace my friend....!