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I haven’t written on this blog in forever. I don’t consider myself a writer. My mother is a formidable writer. It’s really not my thing.
For someone who is a talker, I do a remarkably bad job expressing myself well. I also don’t think that most people will find what I say interesting – that’s not me hanging myself on the cross, just an observation. Most blogs seem to offer some profound insight and/or helpful advice on things. This is me just rambling, but I feel very drawn to writing this. Even if no one reads it, these words need to be said.
As most of you know, I had a little scare in February. The truth is I hadn’t been doing well for some time – mentally or physically. After going to the ER and being told that I just needed to calm down and it was all in my head AGAIN, they found a large growth on my thyroid. This growth was unlike most – it grew down in my chest instead of out in my neck -, and it was both pressing my trachea against my ribs and wrapping around my vocal chords.
I thought I was just getting old, letting myself go, and losing my voice and breath support. I also at times thought I was losing my mind with depression and panic attacks that just wouldn’t go.
After the most hellish beginning of the year, which included this scare as well as a huge betrayal by some people I considered my friends, I think I’m finally getting the messages the universe is trying to send me. One of the big ones is to get rid of toxic people and relationships, and I have already started on that. That’s a whole other post, and it’s going to be an ongoing battle.
The one that’s ringing true this week started when I was speaking to some new friends (who I am VERY fortunate to have met – you know who you are) the other night about how when I don’t perform in some outlet – whether it be playing the piano at 3 AM in my house, being on stage, singing a song to some veterans, etc. – I feel like a part of me is missing.
Tonight I saw “Jersey Boys”. First of all, it’s wonderful music that I grew up with (Mom and Dad’s station), but a few things really resounded with me. First and foremost, there’s the fact that after suffering a severe loss and being as low as he could possibly get, it was the music that finally brought Frankie Valli back to life. Second, it’s when he is asked when the best times were. His reply? When they were just 4 guys under a lamppost discovering their sound and making some beautiful music.
That’s really what it’s about, folks. Do I want to get paid as a performer? Absolutely. Do I deserve to get paid? You bet. I have the training, the talent, the experience, etc., but at what point does it just become about the art?
In April, a month after my surgery and when I had been told I might never sing again, I was singing “White Cliffs of Dover” in front of several hundred people, including veterans at the Dixie Wing’s annual WWII Days. Was it my best performance? No, but it was quite possibly the most beautiful 4 minutes in my life.
That, along with singing “More Than A Name on the Wall” at 40 Years Later: A Heroes’ Homecoming (a “welcome home” event for Vietnam veterans I helped put together in 2013) are the two most bittersweet, beautiful moments of my life. Was I paid for either? Nope.
I also had an amazing talented cast packed full of professional entertainers who stepped up and put on the best camp show I think we’ve ever had. Not only that, but they danced with the veterans, they got teared up when they spoke to them, they GOT IT. And most of them will be back next year with bells on. Thank you.
I’m fortunate that I do often get paid to travel the country and do this. It’s the best job in the world. However, when all is said and done, it’s not about the money. It’s not about being paid. It’s about art. It’s about being a part of something truly beautiful. It’s about the tears in those veterans’ eyes. It’s about the tears in mine when I heard a voice come out that I was convinced I’d never hear again. It’s about sharing the stage with the most talented people I know.
For 8 years, I was Artistic Director of The Twilight Theatre. It was both a wonderful and exhausting time. Each of those years I directed and/or music directed 4+ shows (most with Twilight, some with other theatres). Truth be told, there were times I really resented it. It’s hard to sit in the audience when your soul is on the stage and in the music, and at times I thought I was giving up the best performing years of my life.
I know I was a very tough director and probably didn’t inspire a lot of love in some of my cast members. It’s because I take all of this very seriously. The theatre, the music – it’s my religion. I hope I gave those cast members the experience I’m talking about – the true joy and freedom that comes from being a part of something beautiful.
This is all to say that I’m going to make this an important part of my life again. I have to. It’s better than any medicine I can take. When you’re an artist – a true artist -, your art is just as important as breathing. If you’re not pursuing it in one fashion or another, a piece of your soul is missing.
I’m going to take any chance I can to perform, and yes, I’m going to get paid, but I’m not going to be above doing some things for the pure joy of it. I have some things in the works, and as usual I have a ton of ideas. It’s time for me to get off my butt and get back to it. I hope a lot of you will be a part of this journey in one way or another, and I thank you in advance for your encouragement and help as I start over, mend some old scars, and find my voice again.
Thanks for “listening”.
I am currently recovering from a thyroidectomy – more on that later -, but had promised I would post a clip of me singing.
Here you go, folks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWATJQGqHUQ
I will also be re-vamping the website. I’ve just had some other things on my plate, as you can probably imagine. I’m looking forward to getting back on the horse in the upcoming weeks.
“I’m not a victim.”
“I don’t want to be a victim.”
“Being a victim gives them all the power.”
“I’m sick of everyone playing the victim card and not taking responsibility for their own lives and actions.”
All of these words run thru my mind this morning as I write this post. They make me not want to write it, but I know I have to. This is one that won’t go away. One that is always with me. One that I can’t shake no matter what I do. One that keeps presenting itself in my life, even today. There’s no escaping it.
I hope it will spark a conversation among my friends. I am fortunate to have friends of all ages who can hopefully shed some light on this. I even have some Facebook “friends” who witnessed these events or were even on the giving side, so to speak. I hope you will all chime in. Maybe someone will have some answers or insight I haven’t thought of.
I guess some background is in order. I was always the brain when I was growing up and was far from the beauty. I was a very awkward, short, mousy girl – very much the ugly duckling. I had glasses, but wouldn’t wear them because people made fun.
As long as I can remember, people were making fun. Today there is a little bit more of a spotlight on bullying because of school shootings. Back then, it was just as prevalent – if not more so -, but not much was done about it.
I guess some amount of bullying and teasing is to be expected with growing up. That’s not the type of bullying I’m talking about. I’m talking about the type when an entire class or group joins together.
Let me give you some examples. These are far from all of them, but will give you an idea of what I’m talking about. I will limit myself to 4, although there are far more of them.
1. When I was about to enter the sixth grade, my parents decided we should move to a small town. We began school at a private school that only had one class for each grade. Before long, it started. I was the butt of pranks, called names, set up on false dates – you name it. I even remember a boy who said he really wanted to “date” me – whatever that is in 6th grade -, but he was embarrassed to be seen with me. He said he really liked me and would be my boyfriend in secret, but no one could know. He had another girlfriend that was his “public” girlfriend.
I went home from school everyday and went straight to my bedroom to cry. I was miserable. The teachers wouldn’t do anything. I remember one of them even telling me it was to be suspected with kids our age. They acted like it was no big deal.
When Mom and Dad decided enough was enough and moved us back home, the kids in my class had a celebration. By then, it was the entire class against me. They would come up to me and ask me if I was coming back next year. When I said “no”, they would jump up and down and yell “Yes!” and the whole class would scream and clap. The teacher just sat there silent.
2. That summer I went to camp. My best friend from my old school was there and told all of the girls in the cabin (a good 30+ group) what had happened to me at my new school. At first they were sympathetic. Then it started again. I don’t want to go into everything that was done and said, but it resulted in me begging my parents to pick me up early from camp and the camp counselors and staff having to have a meeting with the entire cabin telling them to leave me alone.
3. After a year home in my old school, where everything had changed of course, the folks decided my brother and I should attend private school. What an adjustment it was! I went directly into honors algebra having never taken pre-algebra. I worked my behind off to get a C, when I had always received A’s in public school. However, some things didn’t change.
The bullying continued, although it did abate a bit. It was certainly more manageable than having the entire class in on it. However, the worst part was that two teachers got in on the act – two teachers in the arts. That’s right – the arts, my world. These were two people who, of all people, should have been encouraging me.
I’m not going to name names or even departments (and I ask that any of my friends who respond to this please don’t name names either), but one of these teachers liked to make fun of me in front of the whole class. I remember one time when this person made fun of how I did my hair, and everyone laughed. After that, everyone made fun of my hair.
The other teacher (again, in the arts) made me cry practically every day and told me I had no talent and I’d never amount to anything. Again, this was in front of EVERYONE, including a lot of parents, and nothing was done.
4. Most recently, I was bullied by an adult female who told me and others that because of my job in the theatre (which I founded and run by the way) that I should not be able to go out locally. I should only be able to drive an hour away where people don’t know me. I was also told by this person that because I am a busty person I should wear high necklines and turtlenecks at all times because it distracts men.
Since when do we, as women, become responsible for protecting men from their own thoughts?! But that is a whole other blog. It’s coming, believe me.
Having said all of these negative things, I do want to stress that I have had incredibly positive people in my life as well. We have a tendency to focus on the negative and indeed there are many choices for me on this subject, but I did have many positive teachers in my life. I even remember 2 fellow high school students who stood up for me. It took a lot of courage, but they did and I will never forget it.
My questions to anyone reading this…
1. Why? Sure, we can use the raging hormones excuse, but that certainly doesn’t apply to the teachers. What really makes people do this?
2. Is it too late for apologies? I certainly don’t think so. There’s one person I sure wish I could apologize to. It’s the only time I remember turning the tables and becoming the bully, and I feel absolutely horrible for doing that.
3. What can be done? Will anything work? I can tell you what won’t work – ignoring them and violence. I was brought up in the “ignore them and they will go away” theory, which I will NOT be teaching my kids. For those of you with kids, what are you teaching them?
4. Is there something that draws this back to you and makes it a continuing issue in one’s life? Why does it keep presenting itself in mine, even when I’ve changed and am no longer quiet about it?
I often wonder if the bullying is why I have depression issues. I will wake up sad sometimes and not know why. It’s to the point of being crippling at times. It’s hard to believe that I was a baby and toddler who always woke up smiling, and now I dread mornings more than anything.
I see pictures of me from school or family events where I should be happy, but at best I have a forced smile. As much as I love doing pinup work, I am still learning to like having my picture taken. I hate looking at pictures of myself because there are some where I can still see that deep hurt coming thru.
I know it’s why I have male friends instead of female friends, and that in itself creates more problems. I can’t tell you how many times I hear, “She’s only hanging out with the guys because she’s trying to pick one up or get attention”. Unfortunately, there are also other accusations that I won’t repeat here, none of which are true.
I hate to say it, but I hear it from men and women. It’s mostly women, but I do hear it from the occasional man. What’s wrong with saying “She’s friends with men because they don’t stab her in the back” or “She’s friends with men because they call it like it is and don’t play games”?
And that brings up another question… Why do women treat each other like this? That’s one I will never understand either. I don’t think we all need to sit around the campfire and sing “Kumbaya”, but just show enough respect to your gender to not cut each other down, ladies!
Lots of questions. And yes, I’m rambling. I don’t think anyone will understand how hard it was for me to write this or even pose the questions, but I hope some of you will give me your opinion on this. It’s something I feel very strongly about and I would love to do something about, even if it’s just preventing someone else from going thru it.
When I blog, I feel like I need some sort of clever title or metaphor. That would be because of my mother, who is an absolutely incredible writer. I, on the other hand, could only be called a good communicator. I wish I could come up with some clever deeper meaning in everything and spin a beautiful web that entrances people. My mother can do that.
I’m convinced this is one of the reasons I don’t keep up with my blog. I know it won’t be as insightful or poetic as my mother’s – I’m a to-the-point gal. There’s also the fact that I doubt anyone would want to read what’s going on inside of my head. At times, a blog seems like such a selfish thing.
Of course, I’m a selfish girl – I won’t deny it. I had to become one. I had to learn to care about myself because for a lot of my life no one would. I’m not talking about family – I’ve been incredibly blessed with family and some of the best friends a person could ask for, but for some reason I seem to have more negative in my life than a lot of people. It keeps springing up, too. Every now and then, things seem to be moving up. Then they come crashing down.
This isn’t meant to be a “feeling sorry for myself” post. Just thinking out loud. Maybe someone will benefit from it, maybe not. Maybe I will.
I tell people all the time how I was the ugly duckling growing up. Unfortunately, it’s true. One of these days I’ll post some pics and prove it. Or maybe one of my classmates will comment on this and confirm it.
Growing up, I had the lowest self esteem of anyone I’ve ever known. While I am very much an extravert and was even then, I was terrified to open my mouth because I knew I’d say something stupid. When I did open my mouth, I inevitably got teased for what I said.
And then there was school. School always came naturally to me. I love to learn. I did all of my homework while I was at school, so I never even had to take it home with me. I was one of the smart kids, so naturally I was teased. I was the “brain”, “teacher’s pet”, etc. I never really felt like I belonged anywhere.
Except behind a piano… My mother found a lady who was willing to start a 2 year-old in Suzuki method piano. I took to it like a moth to the flame. I lost myself in it. Mozart, Bach, Beethoven… It was my own world. When what few friends I did have came over to play, I asked them if they wanted to practice piano. Needless to say, those friends didn’t stick around.
When I was about to enter the sixth grade, my parents decided we should move to a small town. We began school at a private school that only had one class for each grade. Before long, it started. I was the butt of pranks, called names, set up on false dates – you name it. I even remember a boy who said he really wanted to “date” me – whatever that is in 6th grade -, but he was embarrassed to be seen with me. He said we could date in secret, but no one could know and he had another girlfriend he was seen with in public.
I went home from school crying everyday. I was miserable. The teachers wouldn’t do anything. I remember one of them even telling me it was to be suspected with kids our age. They acted like it was no big deal.
When Mom and Dad decided enough was enough and moved us back home, the kids in my class made a big to-do of having a celebration. They would come up to me and ask me if I was coming back next year. When I said “no”, they would pump their fists in the air and yell “Yes!”
After a year home in public school, where everything had changed of course, the folks decided my brother and I should attend private school. What an adjustment it was! I went directly into honors algebra having never taken pre-algebra. I worked my behind off to get a C, when I had always received A’s in public school. However, some things didn’t change.
The bullying continued, although it did abate a bit. The worst part was that two teachers got in on the act – two teachers in the arts. That’s right – the arts, my world. These were two people who of all people should have been encouraging me. I’m not going to name names or even departments, but one of these teachers liked to make fun of me in front of the whole class. I remember one time when this person made fun of how I did my hair, and everyone laughed. The other made me cry practically everyday and told me I’d never amount to anything. I was not allowed to take voice lessons for some reason I’ll never understand. Other people were allowed to.
Fortunately, an arts teacher came along who gave me a chance – Dock Anderson. I will never forget that, Dock. You showed me that I did have talent, that I did have some worth, and I believe I am still in music and theatre in large part because of the opportunities you gave me. At that point, I had no confidence in myself. I would never have had the guts to audition for FSU – hell, to audition anywhere.
And there were others. I also want to mention Mr. McCollum, who is unfortunately retiring this year – I say “unfortunately” because it’s a shame other generations won’t get the privilege of working with you. You made quite a difference in my life, sir. You were always someone I could go to and someone I knew believed in me, and you have no idea how much that means to me. Even now when I see you, you make me think I can take on the world.
Two more teachers come to mind – Tom Jackson (who at the time was President of the school) and Madame Jean Olstin, who taught me French and Japanese. Again, both of these teachers had faith in me and boosted my self esteem. When I asked, Mr. Jackson let me into his honors Coming of Age class even though my grades weren’t high enough, and it turned out to be one of the best classes I’ve ever taken. It was such a wonderful class that we were able to talk him into extending it another quarter.
Madame Olstin was one of those teachers that most students were afraid of. She was very strict. I was a little afraid at first, but I came to love the woman so much. I’ll never forget her calling my mother and telling her I was getting a B in AP French, and that was unacceptable. She knew I could do better, even when I didn’t.
I doubt any of these people I mentioned will read this blog, but I hope they know how important they were and still are to my life. I had such a huge problem with depression – I still battle it – and being bullied. These teachers gave me the confidence to eventually go out and grab my dreams. They took the ugly duckling and turned her into a swan.
Please go out and thank your Mr Andersons, Mr McCollums, President Jacksons, and Madame Olstins. With so much negativity in the world, it’s easy to forget those who really show us the light. I’ll never be able to thank them enough.
To those other two teachers and the countless students who made me feel two inches tall, I would love an apology. In fact, I would love a chance to apologize to one man who I made fun of when I was in elementary school. If I can find him, I will. For my part, I can pretty much guarantee I won’t get one from my people. They’ve moved on with life. They’ve tricked themselves into thinking it doesn’t matter, that it was so long ago. The one thing I will say is that I have done much better in life because I am used to struggling. I’m used to having to fight, although I don’t enjoy it. I won’t go so far as to say “thank you” or that I’m happy I went through that, but it does have that one positive side.
This ugly duckling is still transforming into a swan. Day by day. Step by step. I try to be a better person. I try to treat people better than I was treated, to teach my students not to go down that road. I can see signs that swan is coming out. I just wish I had found her earlier. Oh the things she could have done if she had only had the confidence and love in herself.
I have come to prefer to think of her as a phoenix – a phoenix who is rising from the ashes of the past and reaching out for the future. There are so many things I want to do – big and small. I don’t even know where to begin.
Time to make up for lost time.
On New Year’s Eve 2010, my inner voice said, “This is the year you fall in love”. She was right. Unfortunately, it was with someone who didn’t love me back.
This year I waited with dread, but didn’t hear the voice. Until today. Guess it’s better late than never, huh?
She says, “This is the year you remove all obstacles and finally live the life you were born to live. It’s time.”
I hope she’s right. Albert Einstein once said, “Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.” While I think there is some merit to this, I’ve realized that I’ve been living my life solely for others, and it’s been at the expense of my life and opportunities I could have had.
Don’t get me wrong – I am very proud of things I have accomplished. I started a theatre, The Twilight Theatre, in 2005. At a time when most theatres are not doing well and quite a few are going out of business altogether, my mother Jeanne (the Managing Director) and I (the Artistic Director) have been successfully running our theatre in the black for 7 years now. It didn’t wind up going the way I wanted it to. I was just supposed to be the President of the theatre and in charge of public relations and fundraising, but wound up running the theatre. I also never wanted to direct, and wound up directing 4-5 shows a year. However, after the rather… disheartening… experience I had when I was in theatre in high school, it has been a privilege to give others the opportunities and support I never was given. That’s a whole other blog post to come on bullying, which unfortunately I experienced my whole life from students and teachers.
Last year, I took a step back from the theatre. I am still running it, but have learned to say “no”. If I can’t find a good director for a show, I don’t step in and direct it any more – we just don’t do it. This has allowed me to pursue what I really love – performing and reenacting. As most of you probably know, I’m a singer, actress, pinup model, and celebrity reenactor. I do mostly Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe, but have done (and will be doing!) more. I’ve been reenacting since 2008, and I love it. It makes me happy.
Last year I was still transitioning from directing and didn’t get to go to as many events as I was asked to go to, but when I look back at it, 2011 was quite a year. I had some great pinup shoots with Dixie Pinup, Grant Beecher, Mark Turner, Pam Ellis, and PinupGirl Cosmetics. Kellyn Willey at PinupGirl Cosmetics rocks my world – I can’t wait to do more projects (*Cough… Bridal show… *Cough) with you, Kellyn! I also joined an amazing group of ladies, Pinups for Soldiers, who raise money to send care packages to the armed forces overseas. There is no nobler cause, and I am incredibly honored to be their newest member.
I portrayed Betty Grable at Reading’s WWII Weekend (my second year there), the Battleship New Jersey VJ Day event, the Greenwood Lake Air Show, Secret City, Tullahoma, Fayette County’s Veteran’s Day celebration, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Hometown Holidays at the Frederick Brown Jr Amphitheater, and my home show, WWII Days in Peachtree City. I’ve been fortunate to be involved with WWII Days for many years now and was recently made an honorary member of the Dixie Wing’s Angel Squad. What a great group of people! Last year I wrote and produced a USO show for them – I researched everything and used actual quotes from Bob Hope and the other performers. I also provided a ton of celebrities again. Hopefully, this year we will add a radio show and a fashion show. Thank you to everyone who invited me to be a part of your event in 2011. I hope to see you all again in 2012!
Last year was also a big year for performing. It sure was nice to be out of the light booth and back on stage again. I was in “Broadway by Candlelight”, “The Wizard of Oz” (Glinda), “Footloose” (Vi Moore), and “Rabbit Hole” (Becca). I was also given the opportunity to portray the Marquise in a scene from “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” at NCTC’s gala, so that’s two “bucket list” roles I got to play this year. I’m auditioning to play the Marquise in “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” this year, and it would mean the world to me. Please keep your fingers crossed!
I have big plans for 2012. This is the year I pull out all the stops, and boy have I got some plans. Watch for me performing more, producing more USO shows, reenacting more, singing more, and planning some weddings and special events. 2011 was just a preview of good things to come. I will continue to run the theatre and teach private voice lessons, but it’s time for me to step out there and grab what I want. I’m lucky enough to have it in my grasp. Now I just have to have the guts to follow thru, and when I do, I will be the happiest doll in the world!
Do I want to fall in love? Yes. I hope I do – this time with someone who will realize what a gem he has and love me back. In the meantime, though, I’m going after my dreams! Up next – Friday, I have a photo shoot with the lovely Cherry Dame (who makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world) and Paperdoll Photography. It’s the first time I’ve worked with Paperdoll, but I love their work and hear wonderful things. Then, in a couple of weeks, I’m off to Fort Indiantown Gap’s Battle of the Bulge reenactment. This time I will be going over to the “dark side” and will be doing my first German impression. She’s an Austrian countess named Elsa Mannesser and, like me in real life, is a descendant of Henry the Fowler.
So, I’m off! I just wish I had had the confidence, guts, and support to do this years ago. I hope you’ll all share my journey with me. I’m fortunate to have the most incredible support system, and I love you all. I’ve been through some incredibly dark and desperate times, and you saw me thru it. Now it’s time for the incredibly happy times.
I’ll leave you with this poem by Dylan Thomas that seems to keep reappearing in my life lately. A great big “thank you” to the great lady and teacher who introduced me to this poem, Mrs. Cleo Hudson.
DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO
THAT GOOD NIGHT
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Happy 2012, everyone! I hope you all have as amazing a year as I’m going to have, and PLEASE don’t take as long as I did to reach out and grab your dreams.
Follow me on Facebook and tell me what you’re doing in 2012 to grab your dreams.
In “Into the Woods”, there is a song Cinderella’s Prince sings called “Any Moment”. Some of the lyrics are the line above and the following:
“Days are made of moments,
All are worth exploring.
Many kinds of moments-
None is worth ignoring.
All we have are moments,
Memories for storing.
One would be so boring…”
Of course, he’s trying to seduce the Baker’s Wife and succeeds, but these lyrics have come to mind many times over the past months. As I get older, I’ve learned how important moments are – how special they can be and how you should enjoy them. We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the world that we forget to stop and smell the roses. I personally wear so many hats – voice teacher, running a theatre company that I often get drafted to do several other jobs with (other than being the director), organizing a USO show and a pinup calendar, putting together some shows for a local venue, acting and singing, and of course portraying Betty Grable. All of these – well, okay, MOST of these – I greatly believe in and enjoy, but it’s very easy to get the blinders on and just get the job done. When I do that, I miss out on the process. On the moments.
A few memorable moments I have had that I hope to write more about in the coming weeks:
1. Riding in a parade through Reading, PA with JFK and a bunch of soldier boys, then stopping to get my picture taken with Generals Patton and MacArthur.
2. Doing an impromptu skit with Abbott and Costello and JFK throwing in a surprise kiss for all of them. (And yes, my pants are falling down. How embarrasing!
3. Meeting some INCREDIBLE vets who have lived and seen more than I could possibly imagine. And quite a few were huge flirts! ☺
4. Dancing so hard my feet hurt.
5. Going to a luau that some of the Navy guys threw and having my first grog and some moonshine.
6. Giving Lou Costello and pinup lesson.
7. Being treated like a million bucks by all of the gentlemen there. I’m not used to that, but could get quite used to it!
8. Taking pics in front of a ton of planes!
1. Meeting up with and catching up with an old friend, Eric. ☺
2. Getting our picture made with the Village People and getting my name (Betty Grable) mentioned several times from the stage. A girl could get used to having that big a fuss made over her!
3. Running into the SS tent (the closest tent) when it started raining, then winding up in the German command tent.
4. Watching the Germans have a mudslide “but don’t spill your beer” contest while the Americans were packing up. Come on, Americans! What happened?
5. Sitting in the German command tent with 5 other people. We all had our feet up on a chair because the tent was flooded, but the good company and a little help from a bottle someone brought made it one of the most enjoyable days! Lots of laughing.
6. Getting my picture made in a German tunic one of the officers had given me when I was cold.
7. Going to dinner with the Germans, then sitting around their campfire, and walking to the bell. Good new friends, good wine, GREAT company.
1. Knowing I had an impressive audition for “Footloose”. There’s nothing better than walking out of an audition and knowing you did a good job – and I got the part, by the way. I know you’re all going to come see me play the Reverend’s wife!
2. Getting in touch with my inner mother playing Glinda in “The Wizard of Oz” with one of my Von Trapp kids playing Dorothy.
3. Getting to be just a cast member (although I’m doing costumes) in something!
1. Cuddling with my kitties and a glass of wine at the end of the day.
2. Having the coolest shower in town. You really have to see this thing – it looks like a space shuttle.
3. Sitting out on my back porch, making a fire, and looking at the water.
4. Being on the cover of Fayette Woman magazine with my mother.
5. Playing one of my dream roles (definitely on the bucket list – the Marquise in “Dangerous Liaisons”), even if it was just one scene and two nights. Here’s the Civil War dress I converted to an 18th century costume:
These past couple of months have certainly had their share of ups and downs, but also lots of good friends (many new ones!) and laughs. I have to say I’m proud of myself for learning to recognize and enjoy these moments and not just go into “business” mode all the time. I’m one of those types who wants everything I do to be perfect, and then I wake up one day and 5 years of my life are gone.
Portraying Betty Grable in particular has really introduced me to a lot. It started out as a hoby, but has become a passion. I love meeting the people. Reenactors and vets are some of the best people you’ll ever know. Keep those bookings coming, folks! I’m ready to take this to the next level, so hopefully you’ll be seeing a lot more of me and not just in the south!
And keep your eyes open for the pinup calendar – it’s coming up next! I’ll keep you posted. It’s going to be a ton of work, but a lot of fun. If only the boss could figure out what she’s going to wear… ☺
Wow. It’s been awhile – way too long – since I have posted something. I HAVE to get better about keeping up with things.
Please be patient with me, folks, as I learn about blogging and how to develop a website. This is all new for me, but I’m learning fast! Will be adding more pics, events, and information on my pinup calendar soon.
In the meantime, if you need/want a Betty Grable at your event or show, please e-mail BookBetty (at) BettyGrableLegs.com
I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Model Mayhem, and several pinup sites. There are links on the right. I’d love for you to look me up and come see me!
Next up for me right now:
July 19 & 21 – Shooting my pinup calendar
July 21-24 – Playing Glinda in “The Wizard of Oz”
August 13-14 – Appearing as Betty Grable at the Battleship New Jersey
September 2, 3, 9, & 10 – Playing Vi Moore (the Reverend’s wife?!) in “Footloose”
October 8 & 9 – Appearing as Betty Grable and selling pinup calendars at The Great Georgia Air Show
For those of you who don’t know me, I wear many different hats. Apart from reenacting Betty Grable, I run a theatre company, teach voice lessons, and am an actress, singer, and model. But I have to say… These Betty Grable gigs are the most fun!
Keep ‘em coming, folks!
Mom’s been urging me to start a blog forever – Mom, who’s the writer. I don’t consider myself a writer. A composer perhaps, but not a writer…
However, I have felt compelled to talk about many subjects lately-
- How bullying has entered my life AGAIN. And how, after turning the other cheek my whole life, I have had enough and am standing up to it, getting rid of all of the negativity and negative people in my life and making no apologies for it.
- How I’m finally taking control of my life, getting out from underneath all of the boxes from a move over two years ago, trying to separate the theatre (which I know a lot of people love and I do, too) from me and what I want and need, trying to find time to play and to perform again, trying to figure out what and who I REALLY want to be when I grow up.
- How many exciting opportunities I have in my life right now. How I feel like I’m finding my identity and individuality for the first time in my life. How I’m starting to take care of myself. How I’m noticing the beauty all around me and working on my own, inside and out.
And I do intend to write about every one of those subjects. I have so much to say, so much to process, that it’s not even funny.
Today, I was walking out to the mailbox, and I caught a glimpse of something in the brush.
Peeking out of a mountain of other plants was this beautiful flower. I was very touched. I’ve never seen it before. I pulled back all of the brush and admired it’s beauty. I promised it I would come back and trim away all of the plants – both good and bad – that are encroaching on it, choking it, keeping it from the sunlight, keeping it from becoming everything it is capable of being… And yet admiring how beautiful it is, even though it’s mostly covered up, in the background, and has gone unnoticed for so long.
At the beginning of the year, a little voice in my head said, “This is the year you’re going to fall in love.” I took it literally, but something tells me I shouldn’t have made assumptions. Stay tuned, folks…