Theseus without his Minotaur is like Superman without his Lex Luthor. Otherwise, the hero just gets the girl and lives happily ever after.
A happy ending, yes, but not all that dramatic.
At Jordan Middle School last year, music students retold the Theseus myth with a musical production that complemented a day of Greek history-themed activities. They wanted a Minotaur with real menace — an ox mask that at one glance represented the life-or-death challenge Theseus faced as he wandered the labyrinth in search of his love, King Minos' daughter.
Jordan music director Christine DeMore wanted to get it right — that meant investing in a high-quality costume, but on an educator's budget, she was at a loss. Specialty items don't figure into the district budget.
A visit from a gift shop owner changed that.
At the beginning of the school year, Theresa Hanna, owner of Bell Cottage on Magnolia Street, visited a parent meeting for Jordan's music program with a check for $1,296. The money came from the sale of Brighton charm bracelets at her shop — a word-of-mouth effort last summer among Jordan parents.
"I was floored," DeMore said. "Not one parent told me – it's like, 'Oh, we'll just help this school.' That speaks to the people of Burbank, the parents who want to say thank you in whatever way they can."
The donation helped buy the $200 Minotaur mask; it sent a group of boys to visit the Reagan Library; and it paid for the five buses that took students to a performance competition at Disneyland.
Hanna said she wanted other kids to experience the education that prepared her children for their careers in the music industry.
"We felt the effects of what a great program (DeMore) started.... She's always been a great lady who's always willing to help," Hanna said.
The bracelets sell for $58 and $48, and half the proceeds are given to Jordan's music program. Jewelry company Brighton sells the bracelets as part of a national campaign to raise money for schools. They are available through the end of July.
For the rest of the year, Bell Cottage also contributes 10% of every sale in the store if customers mention Jordan's music program.
Theseus made it through the labyrinth because he received help — a ball of string enabled him to find his way back. Superman has his Fortress of Solitude, where the collected wisdom of his ancestors light his path.
The greatest heroes rarely go it alone.
"You love those times when you see your child do something special," DeMore said. "There's nothing more important than seeing a kid up there showing their parents they can do something they never thought they could do."