Performing in Public

May 27, 2020

I have no sense of pitch, and was always told to just mouth the words in a group setting. My sister and I took piano lessons, but we didn’t have a piano, so we had to go to my grandmother’s house to practice on an upright, and she didn’t know what we were doing. So we would just play a few tunes and go off and eat some more food, because they had the pretzels and potato chips in big, big containers, because my grandfather’s tailor shop was next to the pretzel factory. So that was what we did with learning.

I don’t remember any recitals. My sister did have a recital and she said, this is her quote, that she was so bad that nobody came to hear her the next year and that she went alone on her bicycle, which is really tragic, when you think back to what that does to a child.

I don’t remember having to go to a recital. I did do a lot of performance. I was looking through a photo album recently, and even in day camp, I was dressed up like Little Bo Peep doing some little skit. I had a starring role in the senior play. I was not in a glee club or a chorus, and that’s where I diverge with the best friend that I told you about, because she was very musical to this day, and she was always in musical productions and rehearsals and so forth. So that was at the time where we couldn’t do everything the same.

I did a lot of public speaking, at my organization, but in the beginning, when I was on Long Island, and one of the chapters of the organization, I had become very shy in the intervening years when I was a stay at-home mother. So all of the vice presidents from all the chapters were sent to C.W. Post to have a course in public speaking with the professor, and he had us write a speech, and he took the notes away from us and then had us give the speech.

Well, it happened that we were involved in juvenile justice at that time, and a group of us had gone up to Goshen maximum security for boys, and I had, being the nurse, had interviewed the nurse. So my speech was 10 o’clock. Do you know where your children are? And I did a whole talk about the boys. If they were allowed to go home, they went without a paper that told who they were, or about having the medication, taking it with them and coming back. Totally thrown out, just expected to come back at a given time. And I was passionate about that because I had witnessed it and could really talk about it.

So let’s see, I talked, I mentioned last time about the trip to South Africa, and I can talk about that for about a whole year. Was interviewed by press in other cities, which was not expected when I went to that city to do something, so that was sort of off the cuff. And then I think the most outstanding one was testifying before a subcommittee of the House and Congress on the Family Medical Leave Act, which would have been unpaid and still is unpaid leave.

And I wore the red suit for power, and the men that I was speaking to were not too interested, so I did a little coughing and then one of them rushed over to make sure I had some water, and then they paid a little more attention. And the bill finally passed after we worked on it about eight years, and the irony of it is, when my daughter in law needed time, she had to take the unpaid leave first, as she’s a teacher, before any of her other time off chipped in. So, you know, watch out what you’re working for and what you wish for. We still need paid leave.