Living Abroad

April 7, 2020

Let’s see, a story? I could relate to Carmen’s story about living in a foreign country because I lived in a place that when I first got there I’m like, “Oh my God, what have I done?” I once lived in Chupacamagua, Chile, in the middle of a desert, 10,000 feet above sea level. And I’m like, “Oh my God, I love green and water, and all I see is one huge brown mountain with nothing on it after the other, after the other. The only thing on these brown mountains is gravel.” And it ended up being the most wonderful experience of my life. It was just really wonderful.. It was incredibly satisfying to be totally accepted and just to do whatever I wanted to do. I was totally loved, totally cared for, and I was happy. It was not easy. It was really a crazy life up there in the mining camp, but it was wonderful.

And where I had always said, “Okay God, as long as I get what I want for a mate, I don’t care if it only lasts for a year as long as I get what I want.” Well, I got what I wanted, and I danced all night. I knew what it was like to dance all night and your feet don’t touch the floor. And I wasn’t really into ballroom dancing but he was, so I would stand on his feet and he would ballroom dance and I would stand on his feet he would dance me around the dance floor. But anyway, it was a wonderful experience and the thing that always makes me smile is the squirrels. I love squirrels and we have plenty of them running around Penn South, and I just love them. I also love children. I have just always lived in the present moment. I don’t hunger for the past, I don’t worry about the future, I just live now.

It’s very hard to do, but I do it. When I was a child, I knew I had been born at the wrong place. I was born and raised in the segregated South in a small town in South Carolina. And when I was three years old, somebody asked me, “What are you going to do when you grow up, little girl?”

And I’m like, “Oh, I’m going to teach Negroes.”

And they’re: “What? Where the hell did she get that idea from?”

So when I was 10 years old, I didn’t talk to anybody about what I was thinking. But when I was 10, I said, “I’m leaving here when I’m 18.” And I always wanted to be in New York. I wanted to be where was culture, museums, theater, opera. I just always wanted to be where there was culture. So when I was 10, I said to myself, “I’m leaving here when I’m 18.” But when I was 11 I said, “You’re going to get a college degree and then you’re leaving here and you’re going head to New York.” And that’s just what I did. I got my college degree and three weeks later, I got on a Greyhound bus and came to New York state, not New York City. I started out in the summer stock theater in Long Island, a very famous one at the time.