My mother, and other mothers, bought packages of folded green crepe paper at Fink's Variety Store, then sewed costumes of green crepe paper on the sewing machine. That was quite a challenge, to sew on paper with an old treddle sewing machine. And that paper scratched and rattled when we wore them.
I worried about wearing paper in front of people. What if it should tear! And there I would be on stage, in just my panties! Horrors! Mama had to show me how the crepe paper would stretch, but I was still uneasy about it.
We sat in little chairs in rows on the stage.
The piano was in place on the floor at the side of the stage. I can't remember if my mother was playing that year, or if it was Miss Stella, who also taught piano lessons and played for community events. My mother taught piano and played for many community events, and there was a bit of rivalry between the two ladies. Miss Stella played at the Baptist church and my mother played at the Methodist church.
My friend, Kathryn, sang a solo, our little choral group sang, I may have also had a solo as I remember some of the words, and how scared I was.
"Sure, a little bit of heaven fell from out the sky one day, and it landed in the ocean in a spot not far away. And when the angels found it, sure it looked so peaceful there."
I think that JoNell also sang a solo.
Even at my young age, I could picture men in bowler hats and old fashioned suits, in a bar, heavily decorated in dark wood, in New York, gathering to harmonize and sing of the old country. In this case, it was of a diamond shaped island, covered with green shamrocks, and rocks and leprechauns-all surrounded by a beautiful, sparkling blue ocean. (I saw a lot of movies when I was growing up!) Angels in gossamer gowns with glitter, darted and floated above the emerald island.
Our group of dance students tapped away in our crepe paper costumes. I'm sure that there were poems recited and probably something given about Ireland.
I think we were about 5th grade, maybe younger, in 3rd grade. (Our class got to skip the 4th grade, if our parents would let us, so I know it wasn't 4th grade!)
My little sister had not yet started to school but, for some reason, she was put into the program. She was very blonde, dainty, and cute as a little doll, but she was also not going to do little girl things. And she didn't want to talk much, so everyone thought the thing to do was to get her to be involved in things, with other children. And to insist on frilly dresses, dance lessons, and dolls and such things that the rest of us girls were involved in.
So, my mother made a green crepe paper costume for her, too. And she was to be the big finale of the program. We all made it through, and it came time for my sister to get up and do her dance.
She would not get up out of her chair!
People were urging her to do her routine, but she wouldn't budge. They also tried to get me to make her perform. So, I got up from my place in the row of chairs, and tried to pull her out of her chair. She hung on as I pulled, and the chair moved across the stage. One determined little girl just would not get out of that chair.
I begged, I pleaded, I promised a treat, I threatened, but nothing worked.
We reached the edge of the stage by the footlights, with her still holding on to the chair, and her mouth firmly pressed together. And me pulling with all my strength.
The curtain came down, and, only after everyone started to leave, would my sister get out of the chair. She ran to Mama and went home.
I thought that the teachers who arranged the program, my schoolmates who were in the program, and the people in the audience were all mad at me because I couldn't get my sister to do her part. I felt that they would blame us for ruining the program. But, then, maybe I wouldn't have to get up in front of people at the next program! They would just leave us out of the next ones-I hoped.
My sister probably got more attention that day, than any of the rest of us, without having to do a thing.
After we got home, I fussed about being so embarrassed, and, my sister went about doing her routine that she was supposed to have done on the stage. And then she went on to play with her toy John Deere farm implements and to ride her trike.