I should have known. Back in school, I should have known. When Mrs Beaubier tapped me to read the poem at the memorial for Winston Churchill, I should have known. When I got such a high from making the audience laugh at my extemporaneous remarks during the judging of the annual debate between Chemainus and Ladysmith, I should have known. Even before that, when I realized that not everyone could do cold readings of Shakespeare and the King James Bible, I should have known.
But, kids laughed at me for those things, and there was no theatre class. The only place I knew I could shine was narrating the Christmas story at the seasonal variety show we always had at school. Of course, I asked for that when they sent around the sheet asking for volunteers. I asked for it my Junior year, and was told it went to a Senior. When my Senior year came around, I volunteered again, and heard nothing. That year, it went to a Junior. Go figure. I guess it was a popularity contest.
I did do Public Speaking, and the day I thumped that bloody great trophy down on the counter in the school office was a triumph, for sure. Very few of the events and competitions were school-sponsored. When I won an event that was school sponsored, I had my prize taken away when they found out I was only fifteen. It wasn't my fault that I skipped third grade!
So when, at thirty-four, I auditioned for, and got, a role in a community theater production of "Ten Little Indians," I was gobsmacked! Talk about high! I had never, ever, felt anything like that! I was home!
The second show I worked on, I co-costumed, working with my (then) friend, Charyl. Yep--the very one. B J Machalicek directed "The Good, the Bad and the Broccoli," a melodrama, and Charyl and I scrounged and built costumes. It was a rush, too.
I had the battle with SSS over the next couple of years, as he was already tired of me being gone to rehearsals and performances, and tired of me being uppity--after all, there was a lot of positive reinforcement to be had in community theater...
It didn't take long for me to figure out that I was getting a lot more emotional support from the theater and the friends I made there than I was from him, so he and I parted company. I have been involved in theater ever since.
For twenty-six years now, I have given thousands of hours, and a lot of blood, sweat, tears and laughter, to my Work. Imagine my surprise when, at around fifty, a wonderful lady told me that she would love to hire me for her costume shop; the shop she was going to have in the next few years. I permitted myself a little dream, and then put it on the shelf where it stayed until Ramona did get her shop. The first person she hired was one of her former students (who had been desperate for a job)...but then...then...she hired me.
Dearly Beloved, it may be cold in there in the winter, and it may be hot in the summer. The pay is minuscule; the benefits, definitely of the spirit; but there is nowhere, nowhere, I would rather be.
If I had figured out, back in high school, that this was my Work, I would have got a degree in it, and would probably be making more money at it than I am. But, you know what? I no longer have anyone counting on me for support, other than half a dozen cats, so the amount I make is secondary to the satisfaction I get from doing My Work