On May 17, 1973 (my parent's 7th wedding anniversary), I performed for my very first time in front of an audience in a dance recital held at South Side High School.
I don't remember being nervous. I do remember loving all of the fun costumes that I got to wear. The stage seemed enormous - I've never been back to South Side since so I don't know if I was comparing it to the stage at Indian Village Elementary (and that was small in comparison) or if South Side's was really humungous!
That's me - girl on the end (all the way to the far right). You'll notice that what I'm doing seems to be just a tad bit different from the other two girls. My grandma swears up and down (even to this day) that I was doing the routine perfectly and the other two girls were missing their moves. Dontcha just love grandma's?!
In this picture, I am almost in the middle (count four over from the right). I seem to be doing pretty much was everyone else is but NOTICE the swinging arms and the amount of space between me and each girl beside me :). Is it my imagination OR are those other girls lookin' at me?! Was I doing something special or were they watching a freak show in motion? I guess we will never know....
I am not in this picture.
Nor in this one.
But you see, these four pictures, along with the program, are the only physical/tangible things I have left from my Marlene's Dance Studio days.
My red hair bow, my red tutu, and the red/white striped outfit, and my tap shoes you see in the first and second picture - I packed those very carefully into a box that I kept with me at almost all times. When we had to pick up and move to yet another house or another school in the later years, it was part of the stuff that I kept close to me - like my identity box.
Whenever I felt lost or insignificant or sad - I would look at the stuff in my box and be reminded that I was someone who mattered and despite what was going on around me, everything would get better. That was the hope that I needed to hold on to in order to get through that day or night or week or month.
When I was 17, my box disappeared forever and as silly as it may sound, it's something that still makes me sad. It's just "stuff" - I know...the symbolism of its existence though - reinforced so many things for me and without it, well...I'm not even sure what to say. It may be the reason why I started this blog about a year ago. Maybe this is my new identity box...