The community theater extrovert

I don’t know what it is about community theater. I become a whole different person. I’m not just talking about the role I’m playing as a character, I’m talking about me as a person. I become an extrovert.

In real life I am not much of a social person. I blog, does that count? You get the idea. I like to keep my opinions to myself. I shy away from the spotlight and become a wallflower. I am moody, melancholy, and not at all agreeable. But at the theater, I am an extrovert on stage and off. All or nothing, baby! My most redeeming social quality is that I have a quick wit. I love to make people laugh. After the evening shows, Paul and I rarely made it to bed before 1 AM.

One night after celebrating at the theater, we had a couple of people crash at our house. One of the actresses confessed that she has cancer and is going through her third round of radiation next week. How could I say ‘no’ to that? Come on over! That night I went to bed at 2 AM then got up the next morning and did the show all over again. That is life as a community theater extrovert I guess.

You tend to meet a whole bunch of eccentric characters at the theater. For a brief time, they get to be someone else too. I wish I could say that all other life stops for awhile during the run of a show, but it goes on. I lost my job during the run of the show. I wasn’t the only one either. A cast member had a funeral to attend out of state. One young girl got her first period and had to reach out to people that were basically strangers to help.

For that short period of time, we became like family and you know how it is with family…some people drive you nuts. Oh, and there is always drama.

There was this new lady that was very beautiful, nice, encouraging, optimistic, and cheerful. She also totally annoyed the crap out of me. Every time she was on stage she would over act and upstage me. It drove me nuts. Back stage she dumped my whole water bottle on my dry clothes. It was an accident so I couldn’t do anything but suppress my irritation. She apologized profusely. When we had only two shows left, she decided that she didn’t like the dance routine choreography and wanted everyone to change it without actually telling everyone who would be on stage at the time. I told her there was no way I would be changing anything.

My husband Paul had the lead part. He had somewhere around 200 lines to memorize. Most of them were a paragraph long. He did a great job. Everyone thought that he had a natural gift for memorizing. Does anyone?? I really want to know. He spent at least an hour a day going through his lines.

There were love triangles on stage and off. Did you know that the theater is also a good place to fall in love? My uncle Rick met someone at the theater for a first date and they are already engaged!

Sometimes things didn’t go as planned. Lines got missed or messed up. Once the curtain opened at the wrong time while a woman was changing behind it. One little girl got hit hard on the head by someone moving a prop. Three other people fell, one while tied up. Many people had sore throats. We wandered around the rest of the week like exhausted zombie versions of ourselves while life continued on.

Then after the show is over, the main characters have to de-role. It is time to say good-bye to the new family. There is a period of sadness and loss after saying bye to a beloved character that almost becomes you for awhile.

For that brief time, everybody loved you. You were someone special, a star. The anxiety of performing is a major adrenaline rush. It is thrilling! Did I mention the costumes, makeup, wigs, and hair primping? Fun!

Then when it is all done, we go back to our normal lives until the next show.

 

Hell week

Last week I lost my job.

Last week Sunday hell week started with a nine hour practice at the theater.

We sold our business earlier this year and up to this point everything has stayed relatively the same. I wasn’t expecting this at all. I didn’t have time to prepare for this in any way. I didn’t have plans to quit working anytime soon.

Then last week happened. Paul and I found out a couple of days before corporate flew in. We met them out for coffee on a brisk chilly sunny morning. I didn’t want to meet them. I didn’t want the small talk about the weather. I wanted the day to never happen or be over before it began. I faced the day with dread. I had nightmares about it when I could actually sleep.

It was the hardest day I ever faced at work. I had to go to the office that morning and watch my staff get fired right before Christmas. They didn’t do anything wrong which made it harder. I felt like I betrayed them. They had to immediately pack up their belongings and leave. I didn’t have time to prepare for the pain of firing long time employees, people that I saw day in and day out for years. Employees that I talked to more than some of my family.

I understand why it happened logically. Corporate wanted to consolidate all of operations into one centralized office. It makes a lot of business sense, but it did not stop my tears from falling.

I have been doing this for over ten years now. I feel really lost like I am losing a part of who I am. Who am I? My job will be gone and my kids will be out of the house soon too.

I thought about my time here, building a business alongside my husband. I thought about the friends I’ve made throughout the years. I thought about the clients that I will miss. I thought of the conferences I attended, the files I stockpiled, the work relationships I built during the 15,000 hours I dedicated my life to this. I feel a great sense of grief, of loss. Maybe if I saw it coming months before it would’ve been easier to adjust?

I feel unsettled, anxious, and depressed. Paul and our sales staff will stay on. My department is closing. I am the only employee staying on to make the transition of our operations to the central office. By the end of the month, our office here will close and I will be out of a job.

I wish I could say that the transition has been seamless, but it hasn’t. The central office has a different way of running things than we do. It is neither right nor wrong, just different. This has upset some of our clients which has been upsetting to me. I don’t have any control over this. I wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t ready. I am trying to let it go and not let it bother me, but it is easier said than done.

I feel like I am getting a divorce. Paul and I spent half of our married life working together. But it isn’t over, Paul and I have plans in the future to start another business together. This all had to come to an end sometime, I just wasn’t ready for it to end now.

That night Paul and I went to hell week rehearsal like nothing happened. Paul has the lead part in the show. Could he do it? Could I go on stage and smile when I spent half of the day crying? Acting like everything was okay was one of the toughest performances we had to give. We couldn’t tell the cast before we were able to tell close friends and family.

Somehow we were able to pull it off, but last week certainly gave a new meaning for hell week.

The show must go on…

As you are reading this, I will be silently sitting backstage waiting for the show to start. Honestly, I don’t feel excited or nervous. I just feel frustration.

The show must go on…

Tonight the show that we have been working on since January starts. I am ready for it to be over so I can get back to my regular life. Maybe I have lost my passion for community theater?

The show must go on…

This has been a record month at work. Many times, like today, I had to walk away leaving things unfinished. It bothers me to leave things undone…it demands my attention.

The show must go on…

I feel unbalanced yet again. This show is taking a big chunk of my time now. Besides work, my first race is less than a month away. Only a few weeks are left until my 18 mile weekend trail running race. Yesterday it was snowing again. I haven’t been able to run outside for a long time. The trail is filled with snowy mud. I feel like I am falling behind on my training this week because I didn’t have the time.

The show must go on…

I haven’t had the time to write. This is probably my record for the least amount of posts per week.

The show must go on…

I am sick with a cold that has been hanging around for weeks. My ears are plugged and I am snotty. It makes it hard to sing. The last couple of weeks the whole cast has been sick with laryngitis, colds, and/or the flu. There are people back stage with fevers as you read this.

The show must go on…

Two of the cast members lost parents since the show started.

The show must go on…

The cast includes many more children than adults. Sometimes their chatter and childishness annoys me. They ask stupid questions that takes up the directors time and I don’t get home until very late at night. Does it really matter what side her hair is parted or that his costume has a tiny rip. Who gives a rip??

The show must go on…

We also have a dog in the show. He has been great so far, but the last few nights he has been skittish. He might be picking up on the stage fright of the actors that are handling him and sometimes he has been running off the stage. Some of the lead characters have extreme anxiety.

The show must go on…

This is the first show that I am the old lady. I am really having a hard time with my new identity. I don’t feel happy. I am not sure that being in this play was worth the other things that I had to give up. Maybe I am having a midlife crisis??

The show must go on…

I always had beautiful dresses to wear. My costume this time looks frumpy. I look ridiculously ugly. Call me vain, but this is the first time I feel really bad about my appearance. My costumes are ugly. They are ill fitting. My dresses are about 20 sizes too big. I am not kidding. I have to tuck the bust area into my belt that wraps around me twice. Someone asked if the new director was out to get me. Even my wig doesn’t fit. The cast has been super nice to me about this.

The show must go on…

Despite not liking the show nor the part I play in it, I have met some interesting characters. I have always been drawn to the eccentric type. They are pretty easy to find in the theater. There is the young man that had a failed kidney transplant and is going through dialysis. Hearing the stories and struggles of others and the friendships built help make the experience worthwhile. It puts things into perspective..

The show must go on…

It is a huge time commitment and I am not sure if I will be doing this again for a long time. But I kept my commitment even though I felt like walking away. In another week, I will be able to leave this behind me. Then I will have time to examine why I feel the way I do..probably on a very long run..

Until then, the show must go on…

I’m (not) worried

I don’t really feel like writing today. The weekend went really well and poorly.

Paul and I were really stressed out this past week.

Thankfully, Arabella’s fever was gone by Saturday morning. She wasn’t 100%, but was up for a 4 hour road trip to see my daughter Angel perform.

Alex wasn’t fairing as well. His bacterial colitis was acting up and he couldn’t get treatment until we brought in a specimen.

By Saturday morning, I was feeling pretty stressed. Still no sample. I decided to work out Saturday morning like usual.

Paul and I were not getting along the last few days. While I was working out he sent me a text. I think you are a great mother. What did that mean?? I took it as an attack. I responded back with something like SCREW YOU and found out that he really meant it later. Misunderstandings..

We took separate cars since we had a large crew going out to the show…a ten mile run…a long drive…no sample..

I picked up my mom on my way.

It was my dad’s birthday. He turned 70. I rolled down my window and said happy birthday in a rushed murmur as I pulled away. A card and gift forgotten. Guilt. My dad didn’t go along.

The show was excellent! I am so proud…my daughter, the only freshman girl with a lead in her first opera. Magnifico!

I was expecting an introduction to the new guy she was talking about. Nothing. He is out of the picture. She told her ex to not bother coming to the show. Instead Mitch made the long drive to our house when we were gone to drop off Angel’s things. He dropped off 2 sweaters. Okay?!?

No fight between two guys out in front of the university cathedral like I was expecting.

After the show, a few of us went out for drinks. It was Darryl’s first time out since his wife passed away. After we got settled in, my son said that his stomach was hurting and that I was a terrible mother. We all raced back to the hotel right away.

I didn’t sleep well.

The next morning we visited over breakfast before the long drive back. I told everyone that I gave up worrying for Lent. Some snickered, others laughed. Don’t feel bad if you can’t do it. Maybe next year I will give up depression for Lent. Will that be easier??

Then we started the long drive back home. On the way, I killed a dog. Maybe I should clarify…when I was exiting a small town on a 2 lane highway…a small black lab puppy trailed by a purple leash ran out of nowhere. I slammed on the brakes. I had to maintain control of the car. There was woods on one side and a bog on the other. Stay on the road..Smack…I hit the puppy with the purple leash hard. Gone. He took off. I pulled over..Car and trucks whizzed by. No damage to the car. No sign of the dog..

My son got out and walked up and down the highway..no dog..we kept looking..we drove around. Where were the owners?? There was a truck parked by a trail. Alex walked over and talked to them. It was their puppy. He got away.. I was proud that my son took care of the situation..Where was the puppy?? Injured somewhere, dying in pain? I hit him pretty hard. Don’t worry..Why, why me?? Do you want me to stop worrying?? Wwwwhhhhhhyyyyy???

After about a half an hour, we finally left…the owners of the dog keep searching…I am shook up..I just killed a puppy…a baby dog…I can’t get the image out of my mind…My daughter texted me. How could you?? As if I didn’t feel shitty enough about it.

I get home later than expected…late to play practice…I just miss my big scene by seconds…I feel so angry and frustrated I want to scream out obscenities…but there are children around…I sit down and smile…and start the hardest act yet…pretending that everything is okay..

Can we just start the year over??

 

At the theater, left and lost

My husband lost his wedding ring this week.

You are probably wondering why he took it off in the first place. It almost seems sacreligious to take off your wedding ring the first ten years of marriage, even to clean it. We are way beyond that now. We are on the second ring that needs replacing for him.

Paul played the main character the last couple weekends at the community theater. The character he was portraying was a single guy. He slipped the ring off his finger and slid it into his wallet. Then it fell out who knows where.  

It wasn’t the first time a hobby of his claimed a wedding ring. The first time he went fishing and had to walk up a steep bank. He tripped and caught himself with his hand. The ring cracked and was unwearable. It was a cheap ring, all of the money went into my ring. I still have his broken ring though. 

After it broke, Paul decided to go without his wedding band for awhile. Then he got hit on by countless women. He was on a sales call one time and a single woman invited him out for cocktails later on that evening. It happened so many times that I thought it was time to crack the bank and announce to the world that he was not on the market anymore. 

We’ll see what happens this time.

It wasn’t the first thing lost at the theater either. Someone could make a lot of money on theater art, a display consisting of items or props left behind at the theater after a show. Theaters tend to have very interesting lost and found boxes if you ever checked.

My daughter Angel lost her retainer at the theater years ago. It has never been found. I have to say that at least she wore her retainer like she was supposed to.

My son went in this week to have his retainer check at the ortho. After not wearing it for almost a year, he wore it the whole day before his appointment and suffered through the pain. Wouldn’t it just be easier to wear it every once in awhile?? But he is the type not to hand in assignments or apply himself in school then stay up all night studying for the final so he doesn’t fail the class. Doesn’t make any sense to me. I try to get tomorrow’s things done yesterday.

Who know? Maybe the ring will show up before having to buy a new one. I have given up on the retainer though.

Now showing, the end

 
Yesterday was the end of the show. Even though I wasn’t in the show, Paul and I did have a few moments of bonding because of it. Like taking off our makeup together. 

Paul asked me how to take off makeup. I had to take a picture. How many couples do you know that take off makeup together?? He said that we needed to hurry and take the picture because the makeup was burning his eyes. I personally think that he didn’t want to be seen around the neighborhood looking like a drag queen. Hey honey, lets go for a nice long walk… Ah, who cares what the neighbor’s think! 

I didn’t help him learn his 450 lines. Not at all. I didn’t watch a movie of the play beforehand. I wanted some surprise. Or maybe it was a good excuse to be lazy. So he sat out on the deck alone at the crack of dawn mumbling his lines to himself furthering the neighbor’s suspicions that he is crazy. 

Auditions for the next show are in 2 weeks. Paul said he would try out if I do. It has been 5 years since I graced the stage, but I think I will do it. 

Apparently I earned a reputation at the theater. Okay, it was because of that one time that I squealed my tires as I tore out of the parking lot. I did get pretty psycho. I was unhappy because I had the part of a maid. That in itself wasn’t that bad because as a mother I am used to picking up other people’s crap. The kicker was that I had to wait on my husband and another woman who was playing his wife. They had to dance and act like they were in love. Mind you, this was the woman that told me she wanted to give my husband a lap dance and ended up running off with another man from the theater. Oh, never mind that she was already married!  

Can you imagine quiet, introverted, stoic, thinker me carrying on like a mad woman?? Squealing out of the parking lot and screaming obscenities? So out of character. I guess I fit into the theater group after all. Since then they decided to not place couples in parts where their significant other has to woo another person in front of them. Hello!!? Seriously though, it is just community theater. Nothing worth filing for divorce over.

Things have settled down a bit since those days. After the shows, the actors sit around and talk. Sometimes they drink soda or wine. The most exciting thing that happened after a show was that I accidently spilled someone’s soda. Oh, and a mutual friend offered another friend (a previous actor) a glass of wine which he refused. Not even one glass. The friend said, “Wow, you really changed since you got a new girlfriend.” Then noticing that she was there, he followed up by saying that it was not a bad thing. I leaned over to the girl next to me and told her that I think Paul needs a girlfriend so he stops drinking so much wine. She said that would probably solve all of my problems. Lol. 

Back in the old days, when I was in the shows, the cast would play games or dance afterwards. I was well known for burning CD’s. We would dance until 2 in the morning. I remember the musical Clue especially. We would dance on the dice we used for props with or without weapons. The dice were 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide with wheels on the bottom. 

There is Ms. Scarlett dancing on the dice on the stage with a rope. Looks like it was her. Guilty! 

Those were the days. Most of the time our after parties were recorded. 

Well, there goes my career in politics.   

Can’t wait to go back…

Remembering to forget

I love writing a series about the past, but I don’t like that it prevents me from talking about the present. But then I figured it is my blog, I can write about whatever I want to.

I remembered so much over the past couple of days just by thinking and writing about things that I haven’t thought or wrote about in awhile. Things that are very elementary, like grade school. I remembered that Matt used to stand by the school and flap his hands. I remembered how he used to laugh after attacking someone. I even remembered the signals of his agitation before he attacked someone. His pupils would constrict. His eyes were wild. His teeth and fists would clench. His face and ears turned red. 

Sometimes I think that we have to remember things in order to be able to forget. It’s a strange concept and I can barely grasp it.

A couple of days ago, my mother-in-law Martha turned 67. It was a warm day that promised evening storms. Arabella and I went to see Cindy’s son perform in a middle school play. While I was at the show, I felt a strange mixture of emotions. I suddenly felt like time was going by very quickly, quicker than it should. While I was at the show, I found out that Martha’s brother died (on her birthday) from lung cancer, the very disease that will eventually claim her. Rain came down and thunder cracked like the striking of a big clock. It was pouring after the show ended and lightning zigzagged across the sky. I ran across the parking lot in the pouring rain in search of my car laughing as I was getting drenched by the cold rain. 

I drove 20 miles home in a steady downpour. It wasn’t raining cats and dogs, but it was sure raining worms and frogs! Arabella was angry with me for not stopping for ice cream. It was late and I wanted to get home. I wanted to make sure that Paul was okay after hearing the news of his uncle, although they weren’t very close. Arabella argued with me. She told me that I was old and I couldn’t relate. She said that my life was boring like an old black and white photograph. I have done my job right, she knows nothing about my life. Someday she will read this and understand.

Last night we took Martha out for her birthday to see Paul and Angel perform in the musical. Yesterday was the first time I saw Martha without hair. She looked very gaunt, frail, weak, and tired. But she was not coughing, gasping for breath, or wheezing at all. Next week we will find out if the combination of chemo and radiation did anything to shrink the cancer in her lungs that spread to her brain. Martha kept saying that she was going to fight it, but said good bye like it was the last time she was going to see us. 

The show itself was great. Angel was able to do her high soprano singing this weekend since she was feeling better. Paul danced around on stage like he was a young man in his 20’s. Everyone found it hard to believe that he is pushing 50. I married a man that is 6 years older than me. He always tells me what I have to look forward to.  Isn’t that wonderful? Lol. Soon I will need to wear glasses to read things and I will probably lose my hair. Geez, I hope that I don’t experience age exactly the way he does.

I am getting excited that the marathon I am running in is a month away. I ran 18 miles today and feel great. I put on a total of 30 miles this week. I feel strong. I feel ready. I feel sore.

That is about it here. Tomorrow I am going to get back to the series.

The show must go on…

Yesterday I spoke a little about not fitting in with the partying crowd. I did fit in pretty well with the theater group. It wasn’t boring! That’s for sure.

Here are a couple of pictures from my favorite shows over the years. I played the part of Glinda. It wasn’t a very challenging part, but it was fun. The costume that they picked out for me was totally ugly. So I went into my crawl space and opened the box that contained my vacuum packed wedding dress. It still fit!

Then I played the part of Cinderella. It contained a few challenging songs. My husband played the part of the prince. We had a couple of mishaps during the show. The most memorable was when the smoke machine went off when it wasn’t supposed to. It made a farting hissing noise and leaked out a little smoke. I was on stage with a brand new actor playing the part of my father. It took everything I had to keep a straight face when he glanced over and smiled nervously at me.

The most challenging and my personal favorite part was Ms. Scarlet in Clue. My husband played the part of my romantic interest, Mr. Green. Being a married couple really allowed us to beef up some of the scenes. Afterwards, people asked us if we were married to each other, because if we weren’t we wouldn’t be married anymore! Every performance was different because the audience randomly selected the murderer and the weapon from game cards. After the show, we had some pretty crazy parties that involved dancing on the dice, with or without weapons. There goes my career in politics! LOL

I also played the part of the Sour Kangaroo in Seussical. It was another fun part, although I looked utterly ridiculous.

As an introvert, you may be surprised that I am into performing. It is absolutely exhilarating. I will never forget the time that a stranger came up to me and asked me what I was doing in this small town. “Honey, you should be on Broadway!” It is fun and rewarding.

When you spent 3 months working closely with other people, they become like family. It is very tight back stage in more ways than one. There is one small changing room. We have walked in on people in their bra and undies when there are only a few minutes for a costume change. Everyone is frantically hurrying around back stage partially dressed or sitting on the bench bored waiting for their part.

The next two weekends, Paul and Angel will be performing. I wasn’t able to this time, but I will again. Right now almost half of the people are sick. Hell week is very stressful. Sunday started hell week with 8 hours of practice. Then they practice until late every night until the show. Put that on top of other obligations such as work, family, and school. If one person gets sick, it spreads pretty quickly. Angel woke up this morning with a fever and sore throat. In two days, she has to perform. She has a very challenging high soprano part that she needs to have a voice for. Thankfully, I took her in and she does not have strep. But she has to sing so high that it strains her voice when she isn’t sick which makes me worry about her damaging her vocal cords for her future career.

Sometimes there is more drama back stage than on. Like the time that one of the actors committed suicide right before the show. Or the woman with a main part who got incarcerated two weeks before. Or the lead that had a bad break up with another performer and dropped out of the show during hell week. Or the woman who had a miscarriage the morning of a double show where she had to play the part of a mother. I am not kidding, these things really happened!

The show must go on…

Sometimes you fall in love with your character. It is fun to act like someone else for awhile. I love dressing up in costumes. I love learning challenging music. Then just like that, it is over. You shed a few tears, strike the set, and say good bye to your new family and fans until the next show.

Acting like everything is alright 

I am sorry things did not go according to your plan. When you asked me why God did this to you, I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to fix things for you. I wanted to make you happy again. Instead I just listened. I asked when you would rather know, now or later. Maybe God has a better plan that we just can’t see right now.

You said that you were a great actress. You went to play practice with a smile on your face. Then you came home and cried. The odds weren’t in your favor this time. Out of the hundreds of talented kids that auditioned, you weren’t in the handful of those selected for the musical theater program at the college you will be attending. You cried even more when your brother told you that they didn’t know what they were missing. 

The truth is that your musical theater talents are lopsided. You are a phenomenal singer, great actress, and below average dancer. Even though you have the shape of a dancer, your body fails you. I am so sorry that you seem to have my lack of gracefulness. 

I was the little girl that they laughed at during the dance recital because I danced to a different beat then everyone else. I was the scrawny little kid that was always picked last on the team. I was the little girl that had to do extra credit to pass gym class. I had to write about sports because I couldn’t do them. While other kids could do flips and splits, I remained rigid, tight, and inflexible. Why do you think I am a runner? It requires grit, the only thing I have.

There is one gift that I am happy to have passed on to you, your voice. When you sing, people feel the emotions you are singing about. A happy song puts everyone in a good mood. A sad song can change the audiences laughter to tears in a few sweeping moments. When you auditioned for the vocal performance program, they complimented you on your voice and told you that they wanted you. I know that you will find a home there. 

I know it is hard right now. You have been eating, drinking, and sleeping musicals for so long. I am impressed with your optimism despite a few minor road blocks. 

It does not mean that you can never audition for musicals in the big cities. This is your journey now and I am excited to see where it takes you.

Grace uncommon, part 14

When I was a young girl, some of my best memories were of times spent with Aunt Grace. She would take me on bus trips to see musicals. Sometimes she would let me bring along a friend or my mom and grandma would go. I would stay overnight at Grace’s house the night before. I would always end the evening with a bubble bath. Then we were up before dawn to catch the bus.

One of the first shows that I remember seeing was Hello Dolly in Chicago. I don’t remember a lot about the show. Grace was excited that Mickey Rooney was in it. Plus the main female actress was rather old, maybe around 80. I don’t remember her age…I could be way off. What was old to me then is a lot different than what is old to me now. Heck, she could have been 40 but I don’t think so. Grace was excited that the female lead could do the splits and dance with the energy of a young adult. I remember being in awe of that too since I couldn’t dance, much less do the splits as a little girl.

Then Grace took me on a bus trip to see Oklahoma at the Fireside Theater in Fort Atkinson. I remember the meal before the show. Grace let me sit at the head of the table in a big theatrical wicker chair. They brought food out to the table that was on fire. I remember little of the show.

The next show that we were supposed to see, we didn’t end up going to. We were hit by a big snowstorm the night before and couldn’t go. I was so disappointed. Not long after that, Grace took me to see Annie at a local high school. Then she bought orange material and sewed me an Annie dress which unfortunately I did not wear that much.

When I was an adult, she still wanted to see shows. We watched Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, and Miss Saigon. I remember glancing over at Grace during the opening scene of Miss Saigon when the women came out on stage in thongs. I thought that she would be appalled, but she loved the show.

I think that all of those good memories prompted me to get on stage despite my shyness. When Grace found out that I could sing, she always asked me to sing songs in church. Then I started to audition for musicals at the local community theater. The first musical that I auditioned for, I took my daughter Angelique to audition as well when she was 8 years old. She has been singing and acting ever since.

The last couple of weekends, Angel has been auditioning for college and a summer performing job. She picked her college and auditioned for both the musical theater and vocal performance programs. The vocal performance program accepted her on the spot. We are still anxiously waiting to hear back from the musical theater program and the summer job which are much more competitive.

I feel that Aunt Grace was very instrumental in my love for the theater. This appreciation was passed down to Angel. I love the way that family blessings have a way of trickling down through the generations. Sometimes you never know the effect that you have on other people. Sometimes I wonder what my grandchildren will be like. Or I ponder over how different my life would be if I never had someone special like Aunt Grace in my life.