My Life Has Been A Chorus Line
The following, is my life depicted in word and video clips of one of my favorite movies, “A Chorus Line.” You need to watch the videos in sequence with the writing to understand. Unfortunately, the source of some of the videos is going to say that embedding is not allowed and it will redirect you to watch the video on You Tube directly, but all you have to do is click on the screen and you are taken directly there. I had to forfeit a smoother transition to keep the original cast, which I feel is imperative to my story. I hope you enjoy the journey, I have!
Having reached my sixtieth year, I’ve been doing some reflecting. Just what have I done with all of these years I’ve been blessed to live? Oh sure, I’ve been married, had children and now grandchildren and those are very important aspects of my life. I have worked, boy have I worked! And it is on this most personal level of achievement, not based upon being someone’s Mom or wife, that I speak.
What did I do? Well, first off I’d like to say I tried … tried so very very hard, but long before I knew of the term, hears the beat of a different drummer, I knew I was out of step somehow.
It was true, I often did not perceive things as others seemed to. My peers seemed to have the key, while I, didn’t even know where the lock was located. I was out on my own by the age of sixteen and took various types of employment to support myself. I was a waitress/cook/cashier at a busy truck stop. Part of my “job description” when things were slow was to play pool with the truckers. This was one of my first realizations that things that happen in your life, as insignificant as they may seem, can benefit you or someone you come into contact with at a later time. My high-school sweetheart and later husband, was an excellent pool player. As a matter of fact, he kept us eating and provided a roof over our young heads by hustling pool nights and as a house painter by day. He had taught me all I needed to know to drag in some hefty tips at that truck stop, enough that I was able to bankroll a larger apartment and begin looking for another job.
But, what could a sixteen year old, without a diploma, possibly do? I read the want ads and found little but then I decided to engage my tried and true method of survival … people watching. I started going around town, observing people in their different professions. I noted how they dressed, how they spoke and what their jobs seemed to entail.
Then, one day it hit me …
I had realized the similarities in my job as a waitress to those as a sales person in a fine clothing store. It was all about pleasing the customer, meeting a need. From listening, I also knew that in addition to the hourly wage, the sales people could also earn bonuses. The only thing I was lacking, besides a diploma, was a suitable wardrobe. I immediately took the remaining money from my tips and headed for the local thrift store where I purchased three basic, but classic outfits, a few accessories and two pair of used shoes. It never entered my head that I would not get the job, only that I needed the wardrobe. Growing up poor, I had all of the training I needed to make-do and, once again, what seemed like a negative turned out to be another important learning experience.
Now all I had to do was show the store owner why he needed me. That was easy. I entered the store on the pretext of buying a new Spring wardrobe and soon had not one, but two sales girls vying for my business and their prospective bonuses. Instead of them selling to me however, I would take notice of another customer and starting with a compliment, I would suggest how stunning they would look in a certain dress or better yet an entire outfit. It was all about showing them how the overpriced merchandise enhanced the qualities they already possessed, not about the purchase. I saw the owner taking notice and after three or four of these helpful fellow customer pretenses, I approached him.
I told him I was new to the area and had found his shop to be one, of possibly two, which carried suitable clothing for young people. I knew, from my older sister, how to give people what they wanted, whether they knew they wanted it or not. Become indispensable. Give them what they want, whatever that happened to be.
CAUTION VERY ADULT LANGUAGE AND CONTENT _ WARNING
Of course I got the job. I lied like a trooper about my former employers and made up a name of the school from which I had supposedly graduated, but it was my attitude, and my performance he was after. I made money for the shop and for myself and I gained more experience that would behoove me later in life, such as how people who didn’t have to worry about money spoke, how they carried themselves and how they got what they wanted.
With each position I held and as my years advanced, I learned and I adapted. I got the test study book for the GED, studied at home and passed with ease. It just so happened that the tests were given at the local Community College. When I received my GED certificate there was a cover letter, inviting me to look into classes at the college. Me? College? Well, why not … I hadn’t done anything grand with my life at that point other than having two children, one divorce and one relationship that need to go into the dumpster. At twenty-four I started college with very few people of my age and a mass of eighteen and nineteen year-old kids. I worked part-time in the school cafeteria, was raising my two children alone by that time, finished the two year degree in eighteen months and graduated with a grade point average of 3.60. It was during that time that I was introduced to the Broadway musical, “A Chorus Line” and while I never was able to see it on, or even off Broadway, I did find that it came out as a movie. All of these years later, whether I see a clip or hear a tune, I am reminded of that sixteen year old girl shooting pool with truckers. Her relationships were horrendous, she didn’t go on to get her four year degree, or more, as she wished but she was able to provide for her two children and herself and all in all I can say, yes … I am proud of who she became.