My access to my computer files and email at Annenberg ends on June 30th, so I have been working with the IT folks to download and archive some old things - including old old emails that I thought were long gone. In the weeks after his death, I searched everywhere to find ways to be with Mike, but I couldn't locate these old emails anywhere.

And now they're back.

There is so much beauty in Mike's words. In his references to Buddhism (which i am finally starting to understand), in his appreciation of friends, and in the thoughtfulness of his gestures.

I had to take a few minutes today to post some of these:


To: ComedySportz
Sent: February 14, 2000, 11:24 am

In lieu of a valentine, I send you this note of affirmation. Yes, it's gooey new-ageism, but I'm a gooey, new-age kind of guy. And who are you to argue with the Buddha?

The practice of 'Metta', uncovering the force of love that can uproot fear, anger, and guilt, begins with befriending ourselves. The foundation of metta practice is to know how to be our own friend.

According to the
Buddha, "You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."

How few of us
embrace ourselves in this way! With metta practice we uncover the possiblity of truly respecting ourselves. We discover, as WaltWhitman put it, "I am larger and better than I thought. I did not think I held so much goodness."

-Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness


From: Mike Young
To: Dannagal Goldthwaite
Sent: May 6, 2002 11:58 am

Hi smoosher!

I had a productive and fun weekend with you, smoosher. We had a fun date on Friday, got lots done around the house, did both ComedySportz shows, and had Michaela over for Alias. And in just a few days, we get to go camping together. Yay!
Love you,

The year that I got into ComedySportz, Mike sent everyone a "Super-Survey" to fill out. It was such a great way to get to know everyone. And now I have his. What a gift to be able to read his answers again. And he makes so many references to you guys... all of the amazing friends in his life. It's a joy to read:

Here's the Ultimate Survey. A blank one to fill out and forward is at the
end. I've saved most of the ComedySportz ones, and can forward them to you
sometime. Be forewarned that this takes a long time to fill out.

The Ultimate Survey for: Mike Young

Nicknames: World. (sadly, not a very interesting story behind the nickname.)

Hometown: Originally from suburbs of Cleveland, but consider Philly my hometown.

School: U Penn

Croutons or Bacon Bits: Croutons

Favorite Salad Dressing: my own Caesar

Do you drink: no

Shampoo or Conditioner: both

Have you ever gone skinny dipping: Yup

Do you make fun of people: I try not to make fun of strangers, but I am a chronic teaser of friends.

Three Favorite Movies: Raising Arizona, West Side Story, Godfather

Have you ever been convicted of a crime: no

Best Online Friends: Francine Rosenthal, thanks to her e-addiction; Kevin Dougherty for quick jokes. I feel I should mention how much I enjoy the e-musings of Fred Siegel, whose comic timing in e-mail format is impeccable.

One pillow or two: two

Pets: none

Favorite Music: vaguely XPN.

Hobbies: photography, fantasy baseball, reading, making lists of favorite things to e-mail to friends, hiking

Dream Car: some kind of convertible. I'm not very into cars.

What kind of car do you drive: 96 Saturn SL2

Words or phrases you overuse: D'oh, awesome, aw yeah. I'm a big fan of slang, and am constantly on the lookout for a new phrase I can appropriate to appear hip.

Toothpaste: varies. I guess I'm more Colgate than Crest.

Favorite food: Pizza, ice cream, and pizza-flavored ice cream. Duck and most game, such as rabbit. Cilantro and sour cream on a burrito.

Current crush: Sharon Lawrence. Whoever plays Judy on Once and Again. I have had a long-standing platonic crush on Jen Childs, and most of the women in ComedySportz.

Piercing or tattoos: Two piercings in right ear. Not interested in tattoos, because I can't imagine being 73, looking at my sagging, tattooed flesh, and not thinking, "What a colossal mistake."

Most romantic thing that ever happened to you: back in high school, I had just broken up with the first true love of my life (or rather, she broke up with me). I started hanging out with Michelle Auerbach, who had also just broken up with a true love. Michelle was my first puppy-love crush in junior high, and I had just a few months prior to our respective breakups that she also had a crush on me in junior high.

We decided to see a movie one night to keep each other from being miserable. There was all this great sexual tension in the evening: both of us were terribly lonely, but didn't want to openly admit our craving for another person's touch. Afterwards, we sat on the golf course behind her grandparents' condo talking. It was a perfect, starlit, autumn night. At one point, I leaned back on the grass, and she suggested I put my head in her lap. Eventually, she started stroking my hair. We stopped talking, and I looked up into her eyes and said, "Would you be terribly offended if I were to kiss you right now?" She whispered no, and we shared a deliciously soft kiss that I can still taste.

The relationship barely lasted beyond that night, but that night stays with me.

How do you characterize yourself (hopeless romantic or non-romantic): tough choice, but I guess I'd fall more on the hopeless than non- side. Perhaps a romantic realist.

Favorite town to chill in: San Fransisco

Favorite Ice Cream: Coffee oreo, which I haven't seen in a few years. Otherwise, Starbucks Coffee Almond Fudge.

Favorite Website: Jesse's Word Of the Day, the Onion.

Favorite Non-Alcoholic Drink: Peach juice, Dr. Pepper or its generic knockoffs, such as Dr. Thirst or Dr. Riffic

Bed Time: Usually between 11-12.

Adidas, Nike, or Reebok
: whatever's on sale

Favorite Shoes: Timberland brown suede wingtips. I can wear them with jeans or with a suit.

Favorite Cologne/Perfume: Paul Sebastian

Favorite Songs at the Moment: Sweet Surrender by Sarah McLaughlin has been haunting me for over a year, but at this moment it's She Don't Use Jelly by Ben Folds Five and I'd Like That by XTC.

Favorite Musical Groups: Marshall Crenshaw, Joe Jackson. k.d. lang could sing names from the phone book and I would be entertained. I will always have a soft spot for the mindless 80s pop of Hall & Oates.

Favorite Subject in High School: Mechanical Drawing and Math. For some reason, I always thought math was fun.

Least Favorite Subject: Physics and Latin

Favorite Books: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.

Favorite Alcoholic Drink: n/a, as I am allergic. Scott Greer has turned me on to Calvedos, though.

Favorite Sport to watch: NBA or NFL, baseball playoffs, or olympic

Favorite Season: autumn

Most recent humiliating moment: I can't recall any. I must be extraordinarily good at blocking out those moments from memory. Either that or marijuana really does cause short-term memory loss.

Occupation: Director of Graphic Services at Disc Makers, Producing Artistic Director of ComedySportz.

Craziest or silliest person I know: Karen Getz. I mean, she's just nuts.

Indoors or Outdoors person: overall indoors, but with strong outdoor tendencies. Way outdoor, like camping in the mountains.

Any children: no

Loudest Person you know: Jim Carpenter, especially when you add in the laughs of everyone else around him. Or Jim Comorote with a couple beers in him.

Favorite holiday: Thanksgiving, because it's one that everyone can celebrate, and it's appropriate to share it with friends as well as family. I've been fortunate enough to have Thanksgiving with seven different groups of people over the years, and each time has been an education and a privilege. What do you look for in the opposite sex: Sense of humor is of utmost importance. Intelligence. Cute face.

Say one nice thing about the person who sent this: I've directed Kelly in ComedySportz for seven years, and she has always been an exemplary player: amazingly consistent, funny, and willing to work. Everyone in the group can turn around on stage, see her, and instantly feel safe. As a player, she is one of my heroes.


When I filled out the supersurvey (this was before we were officially "dating")... it was Mike who had sent it to me... so I wrote this:

Say one nice thing about the person who sent this: Mike Young is painfully talented, effortlessly gentle and truly committed to his art. He also has a way of making you feel like you are the funniest person in the world and the object of his undivided attention. I always want to hug him.

-- To which he replied to me via email:

Danna -

I just wanted you to know how happy your comment at the end of your Survey has made me. I've read it repeatedly, and it still makes me smile. It's one of the nicest compliments I've ever received.

There's also a real thrill in having a compliment in print be circulated amongst your friends. I'm thinking of how I can give everyone the opportunity to feel this way.

Thanks again!


Kel said...


What a great find. I initiated that survey with CSZ. It had come to me via a friend in Michigan. i remeber that it was the first of several versions that went around, culminating in one designed by my lovely wife THE ANTI-SURVEY

I used to keep all the responses from everyone who did them. Quite a sentimental move on my part as I have never even keept photos or letters from friends or lovers.

Eventually I deleted the surveys I kept but I do have my original survey, the one I sent to Mike that spawned his generating the forward to CSZ.

Thanks Danna for that post.

Amy said...

Hi Danna,

Christie Willett (D'Aleo) pointed me to your blog, after finding it on classmates.com. I've been reading it, and wanted to post for a long time. You've brought me to tears numerous times, reading the struggles you've gone through. As I prepare for my wedding, I can't imagine what you're going through. How your life has changed.

You sound like you've become an incredibly strong woman, who's had an incredibly funny and nice husband, and has the CUTEST kiddo. I'm partial to the red hair--my fiance has red hair.

It's an incredible journey you're on, and I'm glad to have found a window into your life.

I look forward to reading your blog more. Thank you for sharing this.

Amy Caron

Dina said...

Your posts help me cherish every single moment that I have with my husband and son. Thank you.

Tim said...

Your blog is amazing. I find it so cool that you remember your husband in this way. I find myself catching up to you about once a month for no better reasons than I like the way you write, and your topics (or points of frustration) have an honesty and a heart-breaking quality that's so compelling.

It's funny to have a feeling like you know someone because you've read some of the details of the last couple of years of their life, but I do. I just finally got it into my head that it was somehow inappropriate not to at least say thanks. (Even though it is the thanks of a complete stranger.)

So, thanks for posting all of this. I have really enjoy reading it.

Best Wishes