August 5, 2008

Dramatis Personae

Scott and I met doing Regional Repertoire theatre – a summer of George S. Kaufman plays --- in which I made best friends with him without ever noticing he LIKED-liked me, even though he had a SWORD FIGHTING scene and leapt off staircases yelling EN GARDE and thrashing about with a foil while peeping at me sideways to see if I was impressed. It’s a wonder I didn’t lose my heart (or an eye) to him right there.

But I was BUSY, you understand. I was a stuttering maid with a crush on a movie star that year, and a girl giving up her drunken, moon-howler of a first love in hopes of finding a steady fella, and ALSO a young woman bringing her VERY regular Joe home to meet literally the universe’s weirdest family. With all that, I didn’t have much time to be me and notice that Scott being Scott was about the best thing going.

DIGRESSION: OH and that THIRD play, ugh! The hateful costume mistress put me in this HEINOUS dress that fit me through the waist and hips, but did not have the DARTAGE to contain The Mighty Rack.* It TRIED to contain the Mighty Rack, bless its heart, but…EPIC. FAIL. Not only was it TOO small, it humped the ladies together and stabbed them forward into the ODDEST shape.

I was supposed to enter and say, “Here I am, a vision in blue…” and yet I looked like a mono-boobed pointy terror. In EVERY REHEARSAL, in UTTER protest of that dress,I would enter and say, “Here I am, bullet tits in blue,” or “Here I am, ready to stab you to death with my booooo-sum..” It was truly madly deeply ugly which would have been FINE had I been playing the prow of a ship or a duckling or a claw-fronted monster, but it’s hard to be the ingénue when you know your girls look like a single oppressed rocket ship. In all my years on stage, nothing other than dress ever succeeded in making me self-conscious. I could make all KINDS of a fool of myself without a twinge – heck as Geraldine in What The Butkler Saw, I did acrobatics in my underpants---but DO NOT ASK AN ACTOR to play the romantic lead and then put her clothes that make her look her worst! I'm just sayin'.

Still, back to Scott, if you meet your husband in such a fashion…you ought to EXPECT that deep theatrical genes will PERMEATE your offspring. Both my kids are performance monkeys. Sam is so good that in the plays the kid choir puts on every year, they have begun routinely giving him the role that usually the ADULT assistant music director takes. Sam will have all his lines down pat in 48 hours and even in rehearsal can be counted on to ham it up like a Vaudeville pro. Here he is in the latest:


I’m proud as HECK, but I wish BOTH my kids would KEEP THE DRAMA ON THE STAGE. Alas---it goes too bone deep for that. Yesterday, for example, I told Sam to set the lunch table.

Him: We’re out of clean forks.
Me: Look in the dishwasher. Those are clean.
Him: *Wind-sucking gasp of THRILLED DELIGHT!*

I turn at the sound just in time to see him raise his fist to heaven and do a double victory pump while yelling, AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME!

Me: What? What?
Him: I got…*dramatic pause*…I got…LAWN FORK!

Lawn Fork, by the way, is this weird fork with a vine running up the handle that does not match any of our other silverware. It is named Lawn Fork because (Yep! You guessed it!) Sam found it on the LAWN one day. I retained Lawn Fork in the hopes that it could someday be restored to it’s rightful pattern brothers a neighbor’s house, but after inquiries made all around, no one claimed Lawn Fork, and now we have had it almost three years. Sam likes to use it. So do I. I have NO IDEA why, we just DO. Quite often he will come looking for it only to find I have employed it for my salad, so, yes he probably was PLEASED to get Lawn Fork, but…that pleased? Really?

I said, “Save a little something for when we win the Lotto, dude…”
But he wasn’t listening. He was already doing Victory Laps around the den while chanting, “LAWN FORK! I GOT LAWN FORK! NOT YOU! ME! I GOT LAWN FORK! IN YER FACE WITH LAWN FORK! I WIN LAWN FORK!”

And Maisy is no less over-the-top. She will do her first play this year as she just graduated from Angel Choir. We called her The Audible Angel, because while the other 3 to 5’s were nose picking and pulling their skirts up to show their underpants and staring off into space, Maisy would wail out heartfelt hymns with her volume set on 11 (it’s one louder). She’d glow with inner holiness and sing praise songs like they were TEARING HER SOUL OPEN, her eyes shining with unshed, passionate tears, her hands making supplicating gestures unto heaven:


She looks AWFULLY holy doesn’t she? Let me tell you…I would be more impressed with her deep spirituality if I hadn’t seen that EXACT same pose and expression being used while she belted out “Up where they WALK! Up where they RUN! Up where they STAY ALL DAY IN THE SUN!!!! Out of the SEA….wish I could BE!!!! Part of your….world….”


AH well, at least I am never bored. My father has said to me, once, twice, ten thousand times, “If you wanted an easy life, you should have had average children…”

* The Mighty Rack is copywrit to Julie. **

** copywrit is TOTALLY a word.

Posted by joshilyn at August 5, 2008 8:56 AM

Your children seem absolutely wonderful! The pictures are adorable and I have to say, if they were my children, I would have each of those pictures framed and sitting where I could look at them when those same children tried my patience (not that your patience isn't infinite and your children models of behavior at all times ;-) I must get some sweet pictures of my children to avoid that feeling of wanting to sell them to the next pack of wandering gypsies. Or at least to remember them fondly once I had.

It looks and sounds as if you have some big talent sprouting down there in GA. Something tells me they are going to make you very proud (if a bit tired).

Lawn fork - awesome!

Posted by: Em at August 5, 2008 9:11 AM

I agree with Em about those pictures! And I'm sure there would be a similarly sentimental use for one of you in the Blue Boob-Binding dress. Can we see it?

Posted by: Kalynne Pudner at August 5, 2008 9:33 AM

Did your dad manage to choose what kind of kids he would have? Because that would be a very neat trick indeed.

Posted by: alala at August 5, 2008 9:46 AM

At least you never have to worry about them being passed over for blending into the background!

Posted by: Dani at August 5, 2008 9:49 AM

ALAS I have no pics of that awful boob dress that I can easily lay hands upon. I was 18 or 19, so this was in the age BEFORE the digicam. AND MAY I JUST SAY -- you REALLY have to WORK HARD and be an AWFUL DRESS to make 18 year old boobies look BAD.

Posted by: Joshilyn at August 5, 2008 9:59 AM

we have a similar piece of silverware. how can one get attached to silverware, i ask you? and yet we have too. we are weird. (in a good way...)

Your kids are cute. the maisy - singing picture makes me laugh.

Posted by: babelbabe at August 5, 2008 10:16 AM

Heh. The Maisy picture is too cute. As for that song, if my husband's grumpy all I have to do is look at him and sing, "What's a fire, and why does it... what's the word?... burn?" and he de-grumpifies instantly. Of course, it could have to do with the fact that I effect a pose very much like Maisy's while I do it. I can't be sure.

Posted by: Aimee at August 5, 2008 10:22 AM

We have one of those in our house...except it is called the Flower Plate and has been passed down through our ancestors (ok, so it was my grandma's). The boys fight over who gets to have the "flower plate". It's not even particularly attractive...white melamine plate with a not-so-pretty bouquet of flowers in the center. But, it's different and it came from great grandma (I requested it when she was giving away her household items) so it must be SPECIAL.

Posted by: Tammy at August 5, 2008 10:59 AM

You must take a solemn vow to continue this blog for, oh, the next fifteen years (I could be dickered down to twelve) so we can all see what happens when adolescent hormone-driven drama gets added to the mix. (rubs hands in anticipation)

Posted by: rams at August 5, 2008 11:10 AM

Too funny! My brother and I used to argue over "the pretty plate" - the one remaining plate from my grandmother's china dishes. I'm so glad I do not have the only weird family.

And now I am humming the song from The Little Mermaid. Thanks a lot!

Posted by: Jen at August 5, 2008 11:17 AM

The lawn fork sounds a lot like the "S spoon" at my house growing up. Our last name starts with S and one day we got this spoon with an S on the handle in the mail- I think they were trying to entice us to buy a full set or something. Anyway, it was always a coveted spoon in my household.

I, too, have a Mighty Rack. I played Mrs. Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol and the dress the director chose for me had possibly the hugest area open for the chest area ever. I was known at that time to have the biggest chest in our cast, and I still didn't fill that dress out. The director made me stuff my bra! I can't imagine what kind of woman that dress was made for, because I am not a small woman in that area.

Posted by: Haley at August 5, 2008 11:46 AM

Lawn Fork and singing mermaids; you make me laugh everyday.

Now that's a gift.

Posted by: Lisa Milton at August 5, 2008 11:50 AM

The picture of Maisy makes me hear her singing they joyous "Ode to Chocolate."

Posted by: Cele at August 5, 2008 11:57 AM

you know, the lawn fork may be a magical tornado fork....we found several weird things in our yard this spring following a spate of tornados across the region. ya never know.

Posted by: dramamama at August 5, 2008 11:57 AM

It's funny I have twody hundred bowls but I wash the same one over if it's dirty to eat my cereal. wierd.

Posted by: pam at August 5, 2008 12:26 PM

The pictures are each worth several thousand words. I thought my kids were dramatic, but yours take the cake.

Posted by: TrudyJ at August 5, 2008 12:29 PM

What a couple a' hams! Great post. "In yer face with lawn fork!" might just be the single greatest line I have ever read on this blog!

My 3 1/2 yo, is a bit of a drama girl, too. We have the song "Rhinestone Cowboy" on one of her mix cds, and lord, but does she look serious when she sings, "There's been a load of compromisin' on the road to my horizon" and then she transitions to determined and triumphant as she belts out "but I'm gonna be where the lights are shinin' on me! Cracks me up.

Posted by: Jill W. at August 5, 2008 1:46 PM

Oh, yay for Lawn Fork! We have the [name of restaurant redacted to protect petty thieves] spoon. When my older son was twoish I used to bring a spoon for him to play with at restaurants, so he didn't grab the silverware and toss it all to the floor. This spoon could just go and go--who cares? Anyway, he knew the spoon came out of my bag and went back into it. One visit to [this particular restaurant], he slipped in THEIR spoon and we didn't notice. Ooops. Flash forward several years and the [restaurant name] spoon is much coveted for morning cereal. Two boys, one spoon. So what does my husband do on another trip there? Yep, now we have two [restaurant name] spoons.

I like it best, too. But I hardly EVER get to use it.

Posted by: amy at August 5, 2008 2:15 PM

Oh, don't you just love some of the costumes you had to wear? I remember having to waltz in a fitted corset -- fitted so completely that at one point or the other each of us ladies either fainted or upchucked. Or both. Ah, to have had a Mighty Rack to distract folks from me not-so-gracefully plunking down, all pasty-faced and gasping! I love theatrical costumes!

And stage presence, of which your children have obviously cornered the market!

Posted by: Fran at August 6, 2008 12:29 AM

And if they ever use their talent to become famous, all of us imaginary e-friends can say we knew them (sort of) way back when.

Posted by: Brigitte at August 6, 2008 7:47 AM

There are *no* words for how much I love you and both of your chilluns.

Just. Fabulous.

Posted by: Angela at August 6, 2008 3:20 PM

I've only got one over-the-top dramatic child -- and that is plenty. Your little holy angel/ Ariel is the cutest little doodlebug -- I totally buy her holiness.

Posted by: Sarah S. at August 12, 2008 5:52 PM