If you read the comments that people leave on my blog, you might have noticed some from Letty. She’s a dear friend and we’ve known each other since probably Kindergarten. Letty sends me the funniest emails – usually about our past dorkiness – so I’ve been trying to talk her into starting her own blog. But she won’t (boo hiss). I have, however, convinced her to be a guest blogger over here.
She told me I could edit her post any way I saw fit. I did not see fit. But I do have to mention this because Letty is too nice to do so – she may have been tone deaf, but I have the rhythm of a rabid jackrabbit. So it was probably just as much my fault as hers!
Without further ado … Here’s Letty!
Mary’s recent post on an elementary school memory prompted a nostalgic trip down memory lane of my own. Some of the most hilarious, and disatrous (therefore somewhat embarrassing), grade school memories stem from the annual Greenwood Elementary Talent Show. Every late spring the school with abuzz with preparations of this event once the flyers were sent home advertising auditions. Unlike my children’s more progessive elementary school where any child willing may participate, our grade school made you go before a table of judges (maybe it was only the music teacher- I actually don’t remember that part) and “try out”. I guess they wanted to avoid having a small little 1st grader freeze with stage fright while we all sat there and stared, or wasting hours upon hours of what should be named “the UN-talent show”.
All the cool, of course talented, kids were selected and the resulting 90 minute or so show was quite entertaining. The most two memorable acts I can recall were when a group of teachers donned black trash bags and danced and sang to “I heard it through the grapevine” and a group of “cool popular” kids did a skit to “Splish, Splash I was taking a bath”. Therefore, in this tradition, I wanted to join this elite group of entertainers and also bring such joy to my peers. I, little farm-girl, bookworm, musically un-talented me, decided I should showcase my “talents” as well. Because I was not one of the priviliged girls who took dance or gymnastics to do some flashy routine, I had to think of something else.
I believe I was in either first of second grade the first time I dreamed of performing on stage somewhere besides my backyard. I enlisted the help of my friend (who I have no idea what became of her to this day!) and we meekly walked onto the stage for our big chance to stardome. I remember seeing my mother smiling oh so sweetly watching me and my friend fight over the microphone and sing “Jesus Loves Me” acappella. I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise were we not selected that year. I don’t remember being too disappointed though, and decided to try again.
This time Mary, my dear musically talented friend, and I auditioned together. This was probably third or fourth grade (Mary- do you remember?). Mary had been talking piano lessons so we thought we could showcase that while I sang. After practicing at her house, we were ready for the big moment. I had selected a prop for our selection “Lavendar’s Blue”, a nice bushel of fake blue flowers. While Mary played away at the piano I stood beside her holding the flowers and attempted to sing. Again, my mother sat ever so sweetly watching me in quiet support. I think I missed the cue and sang off-beat (or whatever that is called when you aren’t singing along with the notes- I am some sort of tone-deaf). Singing is definately not one of my “gifts”. Again, I was rejected, but yet again don’t remember being too heartbroken.
Ever to preservere, I made my next attempt. By 5th or 6th grade (again, I don’t remember) my creative writing skills had developed to a point where I could write a skit. It involved a grandmother watching a TV with a real person in it and something about a burglar coming into the room, I don’t really remember any of these details. I was so enthusiatic that my attempt at writing and directing was going to be hit and promptly started casting the performers. As the rehearsing processes began (at Recess, of course, since we couldn’t get any of our parents to drive us to a central location)
my players began dropping out, either to join another person’s talent group or for fear of failure. I had to finally coherce severely un-talented classmates to participate. I only had one guy who really did a good job. I couldn’t even get the other people to learn their lines. So that audition was a complete flop. I remember one boy completely forgetting his lines and just standing there dumbfounded while huge props just falling over. I remember being very fustrated but laughing uncontrollably because it just was so wrong. I guess that was better than crying in front of everyone! Still, I was not allowed to participate in that year’s talent show. I finally gave up.
In retrospect, the powers that be at Greenwood Elementary placed way too much emphasis on the Talent Show. It was entertaining, yes, but it just reinforces society’s perception of worth based on entertainment value. I am glad my children’s school does allow everyone to participate, although it may contribute to the problem of the “over-praised child”. If I could do it over again, I probably would audition again- it was really fun preparing for them- and enduring rejection just strengthened my character. Just don’t ever expect me to do Karoake!