VERNA DAY, Actress"Honey," begins Verna Day in...


VERNA DAY, Actress

"Honey," begins Verna Day in a voice that could make !B shuffleboard instructions sound compelling, "this is Verna's life."

A life that for the last 66 years has included working for Social Security, taking up acting, marrying a Methodist minister, having children, having grandchildren, having great-grandchildren, becoming a widow and learning to roller skate at age 50.

But if she has one grand passion in life, it's acting.

"I'm a person who needs to be loved. In my lifetime, I didn't get a lot of that. . . . The theater has been my chance to prove something. In a way, I'm a ham. I want people to know Verna. It's a shame, isn't it?"

It's been no shame to audiences who have watched her at the Arena Players for the last 38 years, where she's currently playing the lead in "Opal is a Diamond."

Her busy schedule, however, leaves little time for domestic chores. "My house looks like hell, and I don't cook, but that's the way I like it," says Ms. Day, who lives in Northwest Baltimore.

Although she's gotten work in TV commercials and at Center Stage, experience has taught her one thing about acting: "Baltimore," says Verna Day, "is a hard place to be discovered."

While everyone may be Irish on St. Patrick's Day, Edgar Brady spends every day being Irish.

As the founder and former president of the Irish Cultural Society of Baltimore, he's worked hard to generate interest in his heritage -- organizing speakers, running dances and even building an addition on his Catonsville home for group meetings.

"I wanted to give people a true perspective of the Irish," says MrBrady. "The one perspective many have is of the hard-drinking, happy-go-lucky [person] marching in parades, painting the house green, the dog green, everything green. That's a ridiculous situation."

His true appreciation of his roots didn't occur until he adopted two children 30 years ago and struggled to tell them of his background. At 38, he decided that a trip to Ireland would help fill in the blanks. But one visit wasn't enough: He's returned 40 times since.

At 68, he now finds his energies devoted to his job running the ABC Roofing Co., and the cultural society has grown less active. Yet that hasn't dampened his enthusiasm for his heritage. Today, he'll celebrate St. Patrick's Day by marching in the parade (beginning at the Washington Monument at 2 p.m.) and having a hearty dinner.


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