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LITTLE DEBBIE PART 3

September 27, 2011

Little Debbie Part 2

I was an unusual little girl. I am the memory-keeper of my family.

I want to take some of these memories out once in awhile, and sift through them like old postcards from friends. It is a sunny and beautiful Autumn day. PERFECT!

(    *    )    (    *    )    (    *    )    (    *    )    (    *    )    (    *    )    (    *    )

Little Debbie Dabbles in Theater

There was a woman in our neighborhood that liked to round up the neighbor kids and put on musical revues for the parents.

Loretta and her wonderfully kind husband, Andy.

I was thinking about this today. I have just tried out for a play and I have gotten a small part. This is the first time I have

EVER AUDITIONED

if you can believe THAT–  You People-who-know-me!

I am crazy!      I am SILLY!        I *SEEM* like the acting type….

Apparently all of that stuff went with Biggles*  the C- – –

DONT SAY THAT WORD!!!!

CLOWN?!

Loretta produced, directed, choreographed, etc….she produced these marvelous SHOWS and I remember appearing in at least TWO

of them. Either that– or there were many acts. I was required to memorize several songs that I pretty much can recall,

if I thought about it.

These songs are crowding the back of my mind right at this moment–good memories all of them as I rehearsed, danced and practiced practiced practiced- with NOT A SMIDGEN OF STAGE FRIGHT–because I was pretty much a ham, a show-off and a showman. …..I was maybe seven years old at the time. I loved being a part of it all. At FIRST.

I was in several ‘scenes’ in these grand productions. I recall a few duets and I had a couple of solo numbers. It was all great fun and Andy (Loretta’s husband) was a really sweet man who would play the piano while Loretta directed. I have no bad memories of the events leading up to that one night, until that one performance where–

Oh…..

Probably the

MOST LIKELY REASON WHY

…..I have never “acted”       since……..

THE STAGE WAS SET–

THE AUDIENCE (COMPRISED OF OUR PARENTS AND NEIGHBORS) WAS SEATED–

There was a room divider that separated our ‘backstage’ area from the ‘stage’ , which was this sort of multipurpose hall that was our theater, with the audience seated out front in folding chairs.

It seemed like there were a lot of people out there!

WE KIDS…

We were very excited! We were about to go on…it was an evening performance. I remember a certain kind of heady exuberance on evenings such as these. Back-to-school Nights, Open House…Trick or treating–any night where we could run around outside was, for ME–

AN ABSOLUTE THRILL!

There we were all lined up against that partition, trying to peer through the cracks and spot our Moms and Dads. We were giddy and giggly and

ALL OF US WERE NOISY

(This fact bothered me THEN and it bothers me NOW…)

Loretta walked up and decided that we were loud enough for the parents to hear us which just

Enraged her.

She hauled off and

SLAPPED ME HARD ACROSS MY FACE

All the kids were antsy and goofing off, but it was

ME

who got the slap.  You would think that getting slapped across the face as

A SEVEN YEAR OLD…

THAT might be enough to make me refuse to ever be cast in a theater production again…

Except that the worst was yet to come.

I think (now I do) that Loretta was stressing out about the performance and she was feeling some heavy self-induced pressure.

It was OPENING NIGHT and a ONE NIGHT STAND. The fact that her cast was a raggle taggle bunch of neighbor kids, I don’t know all of the reasons and I certainly do NOT know why it was ME that got the slap.  (Maybe I was the tallest?)

Anyway, Loretta just reacted and then I think she felt sort of bad about it.

Back then, in 1967–

people could feel

BAD.

Today, those people would be

UNDER ARREST!

I had the impression that Loretta felt bad about slapping me. She stepped close to me and put an arm around my shoulders. She kindly and quietly explained to me that

THE REASON THAT SHE SLAPPED ME

WAS THAT EVERYONE OUT FRONT

Could hear what we were saying and

we were sort of loud and

oh well but she just had to make us quiet down and then–

and then

AND THEN

LORETTA OPENED UP THE PARTITION ABOUT SIX INCHES…JUST ENOUGH TO PUSH MY FACE THROUGH. SO THAT I COULD

SEE ALL OF THE PARENTS AND THEY COULD SEE ME AND MY TEAR-STREAKED FACE. I COULD TELL THAT THEY WERE THINKING

“Ohhhhh…the POOR LITTLE GIRL has stage fright and she is CRYING AND AFRAID…”

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH   CCCCRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPP!!!!!!!

I was not either scared!

…I was tear-streaked because I got SLAPPED ACROSS THE FACE BY A STRESSED-OUT WOMAN! Then shoved through the partition!!!!

T    O    T    A    L                     H    U    M    I    L    I    A    T    I    O    N

I immediately TOOK OFF RUNNING OUT of the building, where I went half way around and then

HID~

lodging myself into a crevice in the bricks that formed the chimney.  I was prepared to stay wedged in my hidey-hole

ALL NIGHT

if necessary.

Sean Gaffney was my partner in a duet. We were supposed to sit on two chairs decorated to look like a buggy. Our song was

Getting To Know You

from The King and I

*                                             *                                       *                                                 *

Sean came out to look for me. When he found me, he was very kind and sweet. He said that he was sorry that I got slapped but if I didn’t come back inside, he would lose HIS chance to sing (I didn’t want that!)

I did come back in and sing and I know I enjoyed it…………….but I think that I retired from the stage shortly afterward.

I sang

THIS SONG

and

THIS WAS MY SOLO

I recall that the theme of the show was Around the World in One Night, and for my solo I was dressed like a Little Dutch Girl, and the words were adapted too. I had to remember to sing “TULIPS”, instead of ROSES. My Mom made me a blue dress and a frilly apron. She went to Van dE KAMPS restaurant (which had a Dutch theme) and borrowed a hat that I wore for the number.

We all sang as a group on

CALIFORNIA HERE I COME

NOT a pleasant thing—getting slapped.

Nobody had better try that this time. I would do more than just hide.

I’d kick ’em in the knee!

🙂

🙂

🙂

*Not saying Biggles actually WENT anywhere……just that he’s not around. Go Figure that.

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