Faces of SAL: Sally Roberts & Richard Broad
April 3, 2020
If you’ve been to a SAL event, then you’ve seen couple Sally and Richard. Do you need a program? They always have one in hand. Need help finding a seat? They will search for you. Have a question for the speaker? They’ll make sure it gets to the stage. For many years now, it’s been a delight to have Sally and Richard as part of SAL’s team of amazing volunteers. Hint: if you hear a hint of a British accent in this writing, then you will know how to find them at our events, too!
Read on to learn what they’re doing to keep busy while sheltering at home, what they’ve just read, some of their favorite SAL events, and discover their secret talents . . .
What’s your favorite SAL event so far, and why?
Sally: The Moth—I love this show on the radio, but when SAL brings it right here to Benaroya Hall, it is so much more engaging. I also really enjoyed Tom Hanks, who talked on typewriters—who knew he had such a passion? And I, to boast a tad, worked with him for months on Sleepless in Seattle. Then, there was Anthony Ray Hinton, whose story of the corrupt “justice” system of Alabama was so appalling, yet he was so compelling that I couldn’t put his book down, until, spoiler alert, “I” had got him out of gaol. Thank you, SAL, for everyone you bring to us.
Richard: Volunteering for SAL has been one of the most rewarding pleasures of my life. Even when the writers are someone I don’t know about and have not read, there is always something to glean, to dwell on and learn from. For those reasons it is hard to choose from the great array of people who have stood on the SAL stage and have impressed me the most. Ta-Nehisi Coates was able to bring to me a picture much clearer than ever before of racism and our world’s unending struggle to solve it. And Tara Westover—an amazing story of a ‘self-made’ woman. Truly inspirational.
Why did you decide to volunteer with SAL?
Sally & Richard: We were volunteering with another favourite group, Town Hall. SAL was there for an event and our fearless leader, Christina Gould, hurried us into perfect seats when the show was about to start to fill up the front of the hall and at the end of the evening, asked us to volunteer with SAL. So, we thankfully did, and long may it last!
What are you reading/doing right now?
Sally: Having made it to the second appearance of the amazing Isabel Allende, I was happy to find I actually owned her first book, The House of Spirits, so I delved into that. It is, and I quote, “a book about one family and one country that is a book about the world and becomes the world in a book.” So appropriate as we cope with our world today. As well as books, music and walks are leading us through these strange times. We are remodeling our back garden into a haven for when the sun shines on us—a long overdue project that will be inviting for friends to spend some time with us and a glass of wine, reflecting on the past months and how fortunate we are in so many ways and how we can now help those around us. One suggestion will be to buy a subscription to SAL!
Richard: I recently read Factfulness by Hans Rosling, with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund. A better world? Certainly not as bad as we think. I also read The Lost City of Z by David Grann. I still have room for explorations as long as I don’t have to actually go on them. As the time allows, I am continuing, from home, a sixty-years passion for restoring antique furniture that still excites and keeps my hands and mind active and working.
What is your hidden talent?
Sally: I do like to help people, and my secret is that I sew hems of jeans for a bottle of wine. This makes both of us happy!
Richard: I actively participate in the somewhat quaint and little known sport (in the U.S. for sure) of Lawn Bowling. This has taken me over much of the world to play on the USA team.