Recently I was listening to my favorite podcaster, Lisa Louise Cook of Genealogy Gems, and she mentioned how important it is to start writing down your own stories. I then realized how little I’ve done for myself. Sure, I’ve kept journals, diaries, and blogs over the years, but I’ve noticed that I tend to write a lot about more about the challenging times in my past and not the good memories. This was highlighted recently when my sister asked me what my happiest moment in my life has been so far. Honestly, I thought of many happy memories, yet none really leaped out as a front runner. I’m a Harry Potter fan and I think I might have a tough time coming up with something for use during the spell “Expecto Patronum” which capitalizes on the strongest positive memory. So I thought this might be a good time to finally put some of those really GOOD memories down in writing. After all, I really do feel that though my life has been a bit of a roller coaster, overall I have been happy and very fortunate. And on the first in a series I will be sharing.
In elementary school I was a bit on the shy side. It wasn’t really until 4th grade that I began to come a bit out of my shell. This was due to a series of great teachers in my life while at James Madison Elementary School in Hamilton, Ohio. Ms. Vitatoe was my 4th grade teacher and she encouraged us all to participate in a musical we were going to do. I don’t recall us ever doing the musical, but we had a blast learning the songs in class. I also had Miss Ruehl who taught me in both 5th and 6th grade English. She read us the Ursula K. LeGuin books and they remain amongst my favorite fantasy books from childhood. A few years ago, I reread them and was pleased to see how well they stood up to my memory.
Anyway, in 6th grade our school hosted a talent show and since I’d been taking dance classes since I was little I knew I wanted to participate. My best friend Christy Land and I were both dancers so I knew we’d be competing against each other, but that was okay.
On the day of the show the whole school was there to watch the show. It was a lot of fun to watch. There were girls wearing cheerleader outfits, a group dancing and lip syncing to “Hey Mickey”, and many more. The teachers even did a few songs. My friend Christy performed a song from “Flashdance” and did a great job. One teacher did Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All”.
When it was my turn, I went on stage and lip synced and danced my heart out. At the time I had recently gotten my first Weird Al Yankovic tape and on it was a song called “This is the Life”. It certainly wasn’t one of his biggest hits, but it combined a lot of different styles of music and I had worked out a whole choreography that went with it. My performance included tap dancing and even a little break dancing. I tossed paper money around as I sang about how great it is to be rich. It was a blast and the crowd seemed to enjoy it. At the end when I took my bow I stuck my hands in my pockets and pulled out the gold foiled chocolate coins and tossed them out into the audience.
It was a great time and we waited anxiously for the announcements of the winners. The next day the principal announced on the loud speaker the results. For best solo performance, Christy Land and for best overall performance, Jenny Alford! I was thrilled and even got my very own portable radio with headphones and gift certificate to Wendy’s restaurant. I was really proud of how I had done and it always makes me smile when I think of it.