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Tap Dancing Around the Truth

Updated on January 29, 2017

The Truth of the Matter Is.....

I didn't want to entitle this page, The First Time I Lied, because that may give the impression I lie all the time and that's just not true. But before I speak further about this temporary character flaw allow me to say I was in the second grade when this happened. Of course, this fact does not excuse my behavior but nevertheless this is my story.

Growing up in the northern part of Missouri in the early 1960s I was raised to respect my elders, I was expected to clean my plate no matter what. Nobody got a "free ride" in our house. Each of us kids were assigned a few daily chores beginning at a young age. And ALWAYS, we were expected to tell the truth.

Our family of five consisted of dad, mom, my position was the middle child. One brother was one year older and one brother was one year younger than myself; all of us kids born in the month of August. My dad was the sole breadwinner and had recently left his work at the glove factory in town for his first white collar job. We weren't poor, but we were teetering that line between lower middle class and below. We ate a lot of beans but I don't ever remember anyone going hungry.

Now that I've told you a bit of my humble beginnings, I must first talk very briefly about bookends.....well, one bookend in particular.

All pictures this page: My Family Archives

Our Parents Didn't Teach Us to Lie

Our Parents Taught Us to Share

Each August mom baked one birthday cake with 3 candles, one to represent each kid's birthday that month.

How It All Started.....The Year Before

My First Taste of Small-Town, Small-School Fame

I first appeared onstage around 1961, which would have been in the late Fall of my first grade year in school. The elementary music teacher (I'm sorry, I can't remember her name), must have seen something special in me because unlike all the other kids in the class, I did NOT have to audition at all for my part in the Christmas play. All the other kids in the chorus had to sing for their supper, but not me. She singled me out in front of everyone and said, "Pamela, YOU will be a bookend!"

My role as the bookend was a non-speaking, non-singing part and to play this bookend I had to stand perfectly still all by myself off on the side of the stage. I don't want to brag, but I was good at it. No, I take that back... I was GREAT!

The night of the Christmas play I was so nervous, but I did just as instructed and undoubtedly would have stolen the show if anyone could have seen me up there pulling my bookend sentry-duty off in the shadows. However, though I was right on the big X my teacher taped to the floor, the stage lights just missed me. It didn't matter though because I was hooked and made a promise to myself that next year, NO MATTER WHAT, I was going to shine and everyone would clap for me.

It wasn't until several years later during a class in Vacation Bible School that I realized there was no mention of a bookend in the stable when Jesus was born.

— Me

Fast Forward to 1962.....

Time to Fess Up

Here's where it happened....the first time I lied about something.

Late Fall of 1962 and the music teacher tells our class she has planned something glorious this year for the Christmas play and she says one of the parts is VERY, VERY special. (Can you imagine how excited I was by then?)

My hand shot up in the air before the teacher could get the words "tap dancing" out of her mouth. uh oh.....Yes, she said she needed a girl from our class to play a tap dancing Snow Fairy and asked WHO in our class knew how to tap dance?

Two of us raised our hands. Me, the tap-dancing imposter and a pretty little girl named Debbie Ross (whose father just happened to be the boss of my dad in his new job).

Debbie had been taking tap dancing classes for several years already. Her family seemed to always have money for all kinds of lessons. However, forever and still to this day an optimist, I hoped by going first I'd scare the curls right out of Debbie's head once she saw how cleverly I danced. No, I didn't back down. It was way past time for that.

I called that teacher's bluff and right then and there I proved to her and my entire class I didn't know A THING about tap dancing. I stomped my feet, jumped around and huffed and puffed a whole bunch for several minutes until I eventually ran out of steam.

And to my dismay after my epileptic solo, the teacher dared to ask me in front of the class, "are you sure you've taken lessons, Pamela?" and of course, I said, "yes" and I looked her square in the eye all the time knowing I was telling a bald-faced lie.

What would you say if someone wasn't telling the truth?

When someone tells a lie, what do you call it?

See results

Tap Dancing Books and Shoes

Imagine if with my determination and false confidence back in second grade I got my hands on some cool tap dancing shoes and instructions on tap dancing teaching me the steps, what a difference that would have made for me. :)

What I THOUGHT I Looked Like.....

What I imagined I looked like during the audition.

What I REALLY Looked Like....

And..........Debbie got the part.

Please always be kind to children, animals and the elderly. And let me add.....if ever you should feel like tap dancing, I'll be there to clap for you! :) Care to add anything here?

I feel much better now that I've confessed.

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    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      People say ROFL, but really I wanted to roll on the floor laughing. You had a lot of gumption, for sure. I was so shy, I'd be the bookend in every play if it were offered. Unfortunately the teacher made us all say at least a line. I cringed my way through that line as I stumbled over the words keeping my eyes on the floor.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      lol! the videos..hilarious - I like how you told her with a straight face too (that's good acting, she should have seen that skill, lol)

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for the laughs! You have got moxie, that's for sure. Congratulations on your HQ feature today.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      This was good to read and I love your emphasis on kindness to animals, children and the elderly. I couldn't agree more!

    • Pam Irie profile imageAUTHOR

      Pam Irie 

      4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      @David Stone1: Well, kind sir, it was either writing about this or my first tattoo. It was a toss up from the start. haha ;)

    • Pam Irie profile imageAUTHOR

      Pam Irie 

      4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      @Nancy Hardin: Awww Nancy, you are always so kind! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Means a lot!!!

    • Pam Irie profile imageAUTHOR

      Pam Irie 

      4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      @Merrci: Me too! haha Wasn't that dog a cutie? I'm so glad to hear you say it reminded you of childhood. I was hoping to do that very thing with readers and I feel better having admitted to this after 50 odd years. lol

    • Pam Irie profile imageAUTHOR

      Pam Irie 

      4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      @Adventuretravels: How sweet of you! The children who have you for a teacher must feel so blessed when they are in your presence! YAY! "Porky pies" is the cutest term I've ever heard for lying. ha :)

    • Pam Irie profile imageAUTHOR

      Pam Irie 

      4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      @Diana Wenzel: Oh, thank you Diana! I never thought of it that way, about a part not being big enough, but you are so right! ha

    • Pam Irie profile imageAUTHOR

      Pam Irie 

      4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      @Lady Lorelei: The puppy was the closest imitation to my solo audition that I could find. :) As an adult, I like to rationalize the "lessons learned" in childhood as a benefit to those of us who became stronger more durable adults because of those times. Give yourself a big pat on the back now! ;)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Aw, so glad you got that off your chest after so long! Good for you for trying, Pam! ;o)

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 

      4 years ago from New York City

      What a delightful story and well told. Pam, I enjoyed every little minute of it.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Awww bless you, the teacher should have created a part especially for a little girl who wanted so badly to "shine." And I have to say, you "shine" now, in every respect here on Squidoo.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Actually, I thought the dog was a very good dancer! What a sweet and honest lens. I can feel just how you would have felt too, excited, wanting so badly to get the part...You remind us all of our own childhoods with those struggles and thrills. Loved this lens!

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 

      4 years ago from Perth UK

      What a fantastic lens - the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! You were an adorable kid - I would have given you the part of Mary herself! My heart bleeds for you because apart from a special needs teacher I'm also a kids' drama teacher and I break my neck making sure all my kids have things to do that stretch them and give them the chance to both learn new skills and to shine. Your teacher wouldn't pass an inspection these days! As for lies - we call them 'porky pies' here in cockney London! I love tap dancing too.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      4 years ago from Colorado

      It is so wondrous to imagine second grader you. Loved seeing who you were at that age. This story is adorable. I can relate to your deep desire to fill that important part (and to be dazzling). Of course, there was no part big enough to contain your enthusiasm. :-)

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      4 years ago from Canada

      I love the tap dancing puppy video and I also admit to having more than a little envy for my cousin who's parents seemed to have money for all kinds of things that we could not afford. When I saw the beautiful little red accordion that she was currently taking lessons on I was very jealous. In their family they had 2 young children and an older sibling who was basically on her own while we had 6 children at home. They could just logically afford more. Ah the joys of childhood.


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