Monday, May 16, 2011

Almost stars

When I was about 11 or so, my childhood best friend, Kathy Jones, and I decided we had such beautiful singing voices, we would become “professional” singers.

And to launch our careers, we’d go on the "Pinky Lee" show.

Pinky Lee sponsored a weekly Saturday morning children’s amateur talent show on television.  It was a "live" broadcast (as most were, in those days) with many very lively children in the audience.

We chose "Paper of Pins" for our singing debut.  The song calls for a boy to sing the first verse, and the girl to answer.

Kathy took the part of the boy, and I was the girl: 
I'll give to you a paper of pins, For that's the way true love begins,
If you will marry me, miss, If you will marry me.

I won't accept your paper of pins, If that's the way true love begins,
And I'll not marry you, sir, And I'll not marry you.

The song goes on with the boy offering his sweetheart many more treasures, none of which impress her, and she continues to deny him.

Until, finally:  

I'll give to you the key to my heart, That we may love and never part,
If you will marry me, miss, If you will marry me.

Yes, I'll accept the key to your heart, That we may love and never part,
And I will marry you, sir, And I will marry you.

After many hours of practicing by ourselves, we thought it might be beneficial to rehearse in front of other people.  So Mr. Jones sat the entire family in chairs around the living room, and Kathy and I proceeded with our duet.

Her younger brothers and sister, less than enthusiastic, squirmed a bit, but it was Kathy's dad, standing in the back of the living room, heckling and making faces, that halted our singing.

“No, no, you mustn’t stop!" said Mr. Jones, emphatically. "There may be children in the audience who heckle or boo, and you must learn to ignore them and carry on.”

And so we started over again with Mr. Jones intermittently heckling as we proudly made our way through the song without giggling or becoming the least bit discouraged.

We never did follow through to perform on the "Pinky Lee" show. But it always impressed me that Kathy’s father would encourage us and take us seriously.

And who knows? We may have actually become stars.