Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Blast from the Shore Past

My mom is having electrical work done at her house, so she had to bring everything down from the attic and deposit it in piles and boxes all over the house. She's taking this opportunity to have us kids go through all our old stuff and decided what to chuck and what to keep.

I think she saved everything -- all my tests, school reports, papers, artwork and awards were stored in shirt boxes. And in those two boxes I found shore items note:

Oh, to be a champion. I don't know if I actually placed in the Avalon Campground talent competition, but I sure did embarrass the heck out of myself. Like every other girl alive in 1990, I was obsessed with the Little Mermaid. I dreamed of sitting on a jetty and watching in amazement as my short blond hair grew long and red, and I'd be whisked away into the ocean, grow fins and play with Flounder and Sebastian. In my version of the story, my father Triton would use his king powers make Prince Eric a merman, too, because who would ever give up the opportunity to live under da sea? (I would soon proclaim that I was going to be a marine biologist -- a goal I held onto until my freshman year of college when I joined the student newspaper.) That summer, we made my mom play the Little Mermaid soundtrack tape on drives trip to and from our summer place at the campground, and I knew every note, every pause and every inflection in every song.

When my parents heard about the talent show, they encouraged us to enter. I wanted to do one of the songs from The Little Mermaid, but I was too shy to sing. Even then, at age nine, I'd realized that there was a divide between the cool and not cool kids, even among the campground's summer regulars, and I was on the cusp. I thought singing would be too embarrassing because I tended to get lost in the moment and belt the words. I'd even started pulling back my voice in church because it showed that I cared, which was definitely not cool. So instead of singing, I decided to lip synch a song. For some reason, I went with Urusula's "Poor Unfortunate Souls" instead of "Part Of Your World" or even "Kiss The Girl." One of my parents probably thought that someone else would pick an obvious song, even though they didn't.

I'd forgotten all about this until I went through the family photo albums looking for pictures of me in Cape May. My mom took a few shots of my 'talent' at trying to imitate an imitate an evil old woman's smoker-gravel voice. Let's just say it's not a picture I submitted for publication (and, no, it did not tip me into the cluster of cool kids, though one of them did try to kiss me two summers later). You'll also notice that the 'certificate' is made out to Jennifer Miller. Egads. It looks like the name of a completely different person, like the person my checks are made out to and that young woman my mom yells at when she's annoyed (e.g. "Jennifer Miller! Get over here and sort through your boxes from the attic!")

This is a ribbon from what must have been a Weird Week competition in Ocean City. My parents entered me and my siblings in Superman and Lois Lane look alike contests. They didn't exactly plan out our costumes -- my brothers sported capes that looked suspiciously like beach towels, and my Lois Lane prop was my mom's purse. I had no shot at winning anyway because someone entered the Lois Lane competition in full Supergirl costume and danced an interpretation of Supergirl's life. I'm not sure what year it was, but it might have been around the time I flopped as Ursula. I'm sure it made me feel better. And, yes, I am going to hell for that thought.

Oddly enough, I'm going to be a judge at a Weird Week event in August -- I'll be judging not a look alike competition, but who is the prettiest hermit crab of all in the Miss Crustacean contest. Now THAT would be the time to break out in "Under da Sea."

And this is Emily's reaction to me taking pictures of something other than her. She almost broke my hand earlier today, so I wasn't exactly jazzed about playing ball again. But after a few rounds of frozen peas on my hand and a lot of Advil, I better get back to my gal.

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1 comment:

Trish Ryan said...

Omigosh...that would be the BEST promo video for your book...get a mermaid costume, tune up your voice, and head for the nearest jetty ASAP!