Life Tribute for Tye Noorda
by Brent Noorda, Son
delivered at the Tye Noorda Funeral, April 10, 2014
We Noorda children used to give THE BEST 2-1/2 minute talks. Our speeches were deep and insightful, thought provoking and funny. We would practice and practice until we had memorized not only every word, but also every nuance of delivery. We .. knew .. when .. to .. talk .. slow, we-knew-when-to-talk-fast, we’d could masterfully wield the pregnant…. pause.
We were so good that the other kids resented us for raising the bar too high.
But that was then, when we had Mom, the master speechifier, to write our talks and coach us through our delivery. Now we Noorda children are on our own. Now, as I blunder my way through this speech, I realize that Mom’s passing is not just a loss for me, but a loss for everyone within the sound of my voice.
We all know Mom was an extremely talented dramatic artist. We might not all know that she honed her skills as a young girl, singing and dancing for the chickens she fed on her little family farm in Freedom, Utah.
Sometimes a chicken would be gone and she assumed it had run away. And sometimes her Dad came walking home from elsewhere with a dead chicken, already cleanly plucked for dinner. But it was a long time before she realized that those “runaway” chickens were the same ones her father was bringing home, and that she was eating her biggest fans.
So that’s how Mom achieved her first claim to fame: by becoming the first person in show biz to ever say of her audience, “We were killen ‘em out there.”
I believe Mom was at her best when she was helping others to perform.
One of my favorites from this book is “They’ll Never Know.” It’s sung by a child with learning disabilities, who is not quite able to fit in.
But, who doesn’t have learning disabilities? Who doesn’t sometimes feel they don’t fit in?
Anyway, it goes like this:
They’ll never know what it’s like to be me.
They’ll never know what it’s like to be me.
Hoping every day something good will come my way
so that everything will change for me and soon I will be
going where the others go,
knowing all the others know,
seeing like the others see,
just being like the others be.
They’ll never know what it’s like,
they’ll never know, just me.
That song is from Mom’s musical play, “Experience”, which came together over 20 years from conception to first performance at the SCERA Showhouse. Even so, it’s a work that I don’t think she completed until very, very recently.
The play “Experience” deals with a spiritual theme at the root of Mom’s testimony. Mom believed, and told us again and again, that our earthly life is for us to gather experience, to learn from experience, to overcome experience, and that God provides for us the experiences that each of us needs.
Mom went through many, many experience in her 90 years. Whether the experiences were good, bad, or perplexing, Mom relied on her faith, her endless hard work, her intelligence and creativity, and her amazing husband, to plow right through them.
But more than a decade ago Dad’s Alzheimer’s was pretty severe. Then she lost her daughter. About eight years ago, Dad died. What a loss! For once, it seemed that some experiences might be too hard to handle. More recently, Mom has had to experience some serious mental and physical changes of her own.
Throughout this period, Mom continued to talk about Experience. “Life is for Experience” she would still say, but now it was often followed by a question: “Why must I go through these experiences? Why these experiences?”
Well, Mom, I have a theory: In the past few years, along with the negative changes, there have been positive changes as well.
Why did you start to do these playful things? Why did you, the woman who was always so productive, the woman who never ever took a vacation, who never splurged though she controlled a fortune, whose motto was put to music with the catchy song “Work, Work, Work”… Why did you start to dance and sing and play?
Because it was fun . You did these things because they were fun.
Mom, to answer your question “why did I have to go through this last decade of experience?” Because, Mom, you needed to learn to have good, pure, unadulterated fun, with no other purpose except for joy.
I only realized this a few nights ago. Walking back from a taqueria, with no clue what to say today, I kept remembering the new phrase Mom had begun using in recent years. At the end of every phone conversation she had begun to say: “Have fun while you’re young.” She said it to me a thousand times. “Have fun while you’re young.”
And suddenly I understood. Experience had finally taught Mom the importance of FUN, and she had been trying to get it through my thick skull that I shouldn’t wait as long as she had to figure this out.
Having experienced and learned, and hopefully taught, that final lesson, I think Mom’s time here was through, and so she left us.
There are a lot of teachings for us in [THIS COMPILATION] Mom left behind. But her final lesson never made it into this book, so I’m telling you now. “Have fun while you’re young.” Have fun while you’re old. Have fun. Everybody, seriously: have fun.
Love ya, Mom. Have fun.