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15 April 2009
"Did you wash those dishes clean and polish the silverware, Charita?"
I've been trying to get that line right since 1960.
It's the first line of our senior class play, "Tish" and I was to deliver it. I never felt comfortable reciting the line and I'm still not comfortable with the emphasis on the word "clean" that our director, Robert Bell, stressed.
Somewhere, behind the cupboard that holds my printer, supply of paper, and other junk is the script for the play, which fell off of the bookshelf above it many years ago. However, the cupboard is not able to be moved without emptying half the furniture out of the office, so I can't refer to it.
Why am I suddenly talking about "Tish"? Well, because I received a package of photos from my friend Helene (pictured at left, in the title role) today. Helene and I have reconnected on Facebook after all these years. She had come across these pictures of our play and thought I might like to have them.
The package has brought up a bunch of memories of the time around that play.
We were a very small Catholic girls' high school (total enrollment 200 students; our class graduated 60). There was not a big emphasis on acting. There were no drama classes (though we were big on music).
The school presented one play a year, and it was performed only by the seniors. They brought in Mr. Bell each year to direct, and they recruited boys from the nearby Sacred Heart High School to play the male roles.
I remember that the play was a mystery and that I had the romantic lead (if you can believe that). I ran a motel somewhere in the west (why is it that when you think of "the west" you think of Arizona or New Mexico or Colorado when we live in California, which is even farther west?)
The girl in the middle is (I assume the former) Rose DeLuna. I don't remember what her role was, but Joe Twyman (who died recently) was the sheriff. That's me over on the right under the sign which you can't read but which says "Possum Stew." I was thin and not that difficult to look at in those days.
A crime is committed at the motel and Tish, the Miss Marple-like character is hot on the trail of the perpetrator.
I guess the bad guy was the tall guy, Joe Padilla (I believe I recently saw his obituary, though he is not shown as deceased on the alumni roles). But I don't remember what crime he committed. The guy on the right is Randy Jones, who was recruited from a ...gasp!!!... public (non-catholic) school when we couldn't find enough boys at Sacred Heart to handle all three of the male roles! Randy was actually studying acting and hoping for a career in show biz (you can see him as an extra in three scenes of the movie Experiment in Terror).
I was obviously the warm, caring type who was willing to listen and offer advice.
I believe this is the moment of denoument, when all is revealed. Obviously Judy Brady and Rose Lewis were shocked, I tell you...shocked!
(I don't know what Judy is doing now, but Rose is a plastic surgeon in San Francisco.)
Being part of this play was really a great experinece, my only time on stage in any sort of entertainment capacity. My friends Joyce and Anne worked behind the scenes and we had a real "group" that formed as a result of the friendships we formed during that time.
Randy and I dated until I went to Berkeley to go to school. Then I kind of dumped him. But I don't think he minded because he was always more interested in his male friend anyway.
I've always been very happy that our kids had such great theatre opportunities here in Davis. They were involved with performing since grammar school and some of the productions were pretty sophisticated.
We didn't have "sophistication" back at St. Vincent's. "Tish" was probably a play that made the high school drama circuit. Here in Davis they were doing Shakespeare, Thornton Wilder, and well known musicals (like Bye Bye Birdie).
But at least I had my moment in the spotlight -- my hour and a half
of fame, as it were. And I'm really glad that Helene found these photos and passed
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Can you tell Randy & I were dating in real life by the end of the play?
MILES TO NOWHERE: 104 miles