I wanted in the worst way to try out for our grade school play, The Princess and the Pea, but I couldn’t do that because my parents had told me being in plays was a sin, even if you were just nine years old and had only vague notions of what sin was. I knew drinking, smoking, dancing and going to movies was very bad but having fun pretending to be someone else in your own school with your own friends? I didn’t get it. After the auditions, the role went to the daughter of the president of the PTA (nepotism is everywhere). I snuck in at lunchtime one day to watch a rehearsal and was again terribly offended by the lack of acting professionalism in my schoolmates. The girl who played the princess didn’t bring one ounce of believability to the role, and to my complete horror, instead of actually crying, merely said “boo hoo, boo hoo” when she was supposed to be crying. “Boo hoo?!” I covered my face with my hands and agonized over the unfairness of it all. She did not deserve this starring role, but why should it affect me so? I was not even in the running to begin with.
Dancing was, of course, strictly forbidden, as it could lead a young girl directly down the road to ruin (where was that?). So when all the other kids trooped down to the gym for an hour of square dancing, I was left behind in the classroom to sit alone wondering how my parents even found out about the dancing in order to tell the principal I couldn’t partake in this particular sin. Except for my mother, who came once, they never visited the school. After my sister married, she and her husband Jim came to school and played my surrogate parents on visiting days. But somehow my parents managed to nose out the disgraceful square dancing and make sure I spent that hour alone, appreciating the fact that I was not committing an offense against God by stomping around the gym to country music, laughing and having a good time like everybody else.
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