In my endeavor to discover who I am, I went back to my youth days.
*** I think it was my fourth grade year. McDonald Elementary was brand new. I was going to be Mama Mouse. I remember Mom making the costume for me. Mom had even figured out how to make the tail stay up. This is very close to the one I wore.
*** 5 of us Millions, 2 cousins, an Aunt and an Uncle, were in a singing group called: “The Country Cousins”. Auntie G. played the piano for us, led our practices and wrote a lot of the songs we performed. My sisters had/have wonderful voices. My Aunt T. played the piano beautifully for us. She had/has a beautiful voice, as well. To this day I don’t know why my sisters and I entered a singing contest. We won and were asked to perform in front of the whole Assembly. I remember the green dresses Mom had made. To this day, all those memories are precious. Sure, there was some nervousness, but for some reason, I did not mind being in front of LOTS of folks.
*** During high school years my brother and I were involved in the puppet ministry, at church. We had a special stage, we had made, to hide behind. I do not remember if we made the puppets. I do know we spent a lot of time and effort on the projects. It was fun entertaining the children.
*** Us church teens performed a lot of musicals: One year, I was actually given a singing part, which shocked me because I am not blessed with that ability. The song was: “The String Song”, from Music Machine; The Fruits of the Spirit. I worked so hard on the song- a given, considering my lack. For some reason we were performing in the fellowship hall instead of the sanctuary. I was nervously singing, but making it through. SUDDENLY !!!, a boomin’ burp came forth, from one of the youngsters. How could Leon do that then ? Was it because he hated having me for a babysitter ? There was quite the commotion. I have no clue how, but I stuffed back the tears and kept on track with the song, I was determined to finish. I do not think anyone heard me. My brother was next. He was performing the song: Patience (Herbert the Snail). I loved how he sang it. He did such a great job !!!
*** I think I was in the 7th grade and entered a speech contest about: Wildlife. I remember that my Mom had made a wonderful dress for me. I had rehearsed my speech to memory, but we were allowed to have our papers to read from. An acquaintance gave his speech before me. He was a year older than me. Sad thing is, I won the $100 . He never spoke to me after that.
*** I loved speech/communication classes in Jr. High. I remember working so hard on this particular speech topic. It was before lunch. I had found very graphic pictures about the affects of chewing tobacco. I am not sure how many of my classmates ate that day-many had to leave for the restroom, during my presentation. I do not recall the score I received. I do know how upset the teacher was about the interruptions during my speech. The teacher said she would not lower my score because I grossed out the whole class, including herself. She told me to think about my topics with regards to lunch break. I have many fond memories from speech classes in high school. We had to put together a commercial, do impromptu speeches, and we had to do a speech where the teacher chose our topic.
*** I believe it was my senior year-I was fairly healthy, breathing wise. A request for a school mascot person went out. Somehow, I was given the task. Again, no photos. The Bear outfit was filthy and tattered.
Mom was to the rescue—how with 7 of us Millions was Mom able to help me so much ? The finished outfit was wonderful. I remember the many try ons and redos and alterings. Like, how to get the head to stay on when I jumped up and down, or leaned forward. Many were the compliments of the new look of the Moscow Bear. The cheerleaders were thrilled to have a mascot that could jump, run around in the crowd and help them keep all engaged in the game. The coaches for football and basketball had told me how fun it was to have me being such a participant. I remember, sadly, during a break for the basketball team; parents brought their children to me-to shake my paw. One of the little ones was quite up set, so Dad and Mom asked if I could take my head off and maybe their child wouldn’t be so afraid. The response of that little tike was heard throughout the gym. Oh my gracious !!! I seem to be one to get strange reactions to my performances.
*** There is no doubt my college cheer-leading performances were the worst: past, present and future. I must admit, I am so glad that recording devices were not as available as they are now—oh how awful that would be. To this day I wish my Aunt would have won over me. I even asked if she could take my place. I was told the results were to remain and to do the best I could. What a flop I was, but no matter, I put my heart into every cheer, and cringe at the memories. BUT, I didn’t give up, no matter how bad my performance. Plain fact: I am not a smooth, coordinated, rhythmic person.
*** At NNC, I had no idea what my major was going to be. I was sure college was not for me. I was determined, though, to make a good effort. My heart was thrilled to learn I could take speech classes. I loved every speech I did, and it’s time of preparation. In this recall, I do not know how the teacher decided our speech topics. I do remember that many students did not want to participate-it was going to be too hard. I was excited, why ? I do not know. On speech day, I recall sitting and listening intently, as several classmates were ahead of me. It was my turn. The previous person had the class in an uproar. I was so nervous-how could I follow ? My head bowed. I stood, quietly, for a few seconds, just a pause to ready myself. I had chosen a very serious and moving song, to speak not sing. “In The Ghetto”. I admired how Elvis Presley had sung the song. I think it was about the 2nd verse when I heard sniffling noises. As I was finishing, a tissue box was being passed around the class. I do not remember seeing a dry eye. My presentation was finished, yet, the tears were not. Mind you, I did not shed a tear, I was too worried about messing up. The teacher was having a hard time composing herself. I was sure I was going to be given a low score. The class was dismissed, many of my classmates made sure I knew how deeply touched they were by my presentation. The teacher then spoke to me-she “loved” my presentation. She asked if I would consider joining the drama team. After some thought I told her that I didn’t think I was gifted in that way. She let me know of her disappointment. She assured me it would help with my battle of lacking confidence.
*** I would like you to meet some more puppets I have made. These 3 have traveled to India and met many precious children. The shepherd (Bob thought looked like Jay Leno) and 2 water critters. I thought I had made whales, but they were fish-as Pastor Chris’ young son informed me. How embarrassed I became. BUT, because of the wire, in the tail, the tail could be turned and the critter be a whale or fish-whichever was needed for the play.
As I think back, there are many more presentations I have done. For now, this should be enough to give you an idea of who I am. I hope when I reread I will gain some insight into the me you see. Since Shawn’s death, everything has changed !!! I am not comfortable with this different me.