40 years….a play and a look later…us

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This January 17th brings a milestone into my life.  I will be married to my Dan for forty years.  I keep trying to write our story. There is a story there that needs to be told, but I go away from it and I come back.  I write other things, but I find my own story keeps getting in the way.  I have a feeling that until I find a way to tell our story, I won’t be able to tell another.  I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’ve promised my Dan I will.

“I’m not sure what our story is about. What is our story?” I asked.

” That’s easy.  It’s the story of two kids from the wrong side of the tracks who make it…in life.” he responds and I hear the surprise in his voice at his own hesitation.

“See,’ I said, ‘Not as easy as it sounds. Do I tell it like fiction and make us characters or tell it like a memoir…I keep trying, but I haven’t figured it out yet.”

But, I will…I will because it’s a great story about perseverance, faith, and a love that grows!

I find it ironic that over 40 years ago my interests were acting and productions and now my interests are acting and productions.  A lot has happened between our high school production of The Man Who Came to Dinner and my writing about Outlander, some good, some bad, but such is life.  I met my husband when, as a student director, I cast him  in our school play.  I would tease him for years about how I type cast him as the “dumb jock” and about his one big line “What’s the matter mother?” which he delivered with a modicum of feeling.

I’d also cast the homecoming queen to play the movie star. Did I tell you I tended to type cast?  Well, things were going swimmingly and I was especially excited about the pharaoh I’d just finished painting on the front of a sarcophagus the shop class built for us, when we got some bad news.  It was one week before opening night and the homecoming queen had dropped out of the play!  Resisting the urge to hit who ever had just uttered, “The show must go on’, I ran through my list of possible solutions.  I really couldn’t see a viable option other than having someone on stage with script in hand reading the part!

“You know what you have to do.”, my best friend and stage director said, “You know everybody’s lines.  You have to play the movie star.  We can find you a couple of prom dresses somewhere.”

I’m sure that my mouth was hanging open and just about the time I had the presence of mind to snap it shut and then retort with a “oh hell no”, I realized she was right.  I was going to have to play the part of the movie star.  Let me explain, I was a director for a reason, the old ” those that can’t… teach” thing comes to mind. I loved the creativity of producing a play and I had a knack for directing other’s performances, but found my self to get a bit stage-struck when I had to perform.  I would play bit parts when needed, but avoided anything where I had to speak more than a few lines. This role was not a bit part and the character was supposed to be …a movie star.  Did I mentioned I liked to type cast? Yeah,..well….so not going to happen this time. There was going to have to be a major transformation.

I remember dress rehearsal like it was yesterday. Everyone was waiting in the wings while the costume and makeup crew were adding their last touches to my ensemble.  They weren’t allowing me to see myself until they were done. Excited to have found a royal blue sequined halter gown and some silver strappy sandals in my size, they placed some costume diamonds around my neck and decided that my hair needed to be pulled up. It seemed to me they had been arguing forever about how many pins they needed to keep the french twist in place.  After they placed a dozen in my hair, they turned me around to face the mirror propped against the back wall of the stage.  I don’t know if you have ever had a Cinderella moment, but I’m pretty sure this one qualified for me. I didn’t recognize myself.  I have since learned for an actress that might not be a bad thing.  There was a girl who looked like a movie star in the mirror and I found myself suddenly standing different and felt a surge of confidence. Maybe, I could do this!  My confidence increased as I took the corner into the wings and my fellow actors saw me. I’m not exactly sure how to explain what happened next except to say that within the space of few seconds, I saw looks of surprise, admiration, lasciviousness, and finally, a look of concern that has changed my life forever.

It was as if everyone had just seen me for the first time.  I had gone from wall flower to rose in the time it took to don a form-fitting gown. Suddenly, every guy in the room wanted to stand next to me. I was flattered, but it just didn’t feel right.  Yesterday, these guys didn’t know I existed! Uncomfortable with all this attention, I was frantically looking for something to focus on that didn’t look like a teenage boy leering down the front of my dress.  Standing across from me was my type cast jock with a look of concern on his face.  Our eyes locked and I saw him, really saw …him. I didn’t see the super jock, but the Sir Galahad underneath.  I found myself walking across the wings to stand next to this boy who I knew I could trust.  We haven’t been apart since.

There is a lot more to our story and I will find a way to write it, but today I find myself thinking of that shared moment when we saw each other and of all the other moments that moment made possible.. I am proud to be the wife of such a deep down decent man. Forty years have come and gone, but everyday I feel like I learn something new about him. Forty years later, he is still my Sir Galahad.

 

 

 

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26 thoughts on “40 years….a play and a look later…us

  1. G. Whitman

    Well you started the story now didn’t you? It’s’lovely. We all have our stories, unique to us, each story just as loving and heart stopping as the next. Write your story if for nothing else to say you did. I’ll look forward to more.

  2. Karen Ladd

    I’m literally crying as I read about you recognizing your Sir Galahad. Beautiful little tidbit of your story. I look forward to reading more! I, too, am married 35 years to a man I’ve never doubted in any way. Cheers to long lasting love!

  3. Barbara L, Randall

    Happy 40 th Anniversary Beth. You have a story to tell, even if the public doesn’t read it ( at first). Remenber Diana wrote Outlander with the thought that no one was ever to see it.
    My thought only: your writing is lovely, and I along with others thoroughly enjoying it. Why not a time travel, where your mind travels to the ’70’s and then back to present day. Oh dear I have never done any thing easy, but do like add intrigue . Steve & I have been married 46 yrs in Aug. but began our life together at 13 in High School. It’s been the same for us in 56 yrs total. One and only forever.
    Our motto” when it works don’t change it”
    Happy Healthy New Year also.
    Barb

  4. Oh, Beth! I absolutely adore this story. Happy Anniversary!

    I am truly glad that you continue to write and that each post is better than the next. I am happy to be a part of your journey. ❤️

  5. Rebecca

    Wow, Beth, you brought me on to that stage with you, first as a fellow wall flower who blossomed late, very late, and secondly I felt your tenuous transformation and the need to seek the shadowed shelter of a person who felt your nervousness and wanted to cover you. I teared up reading this, and you definitely need to continue this story because you left me with a bit of a cliff hanger! The Ugly Duckling/Sir Galahad story needs to be told for the modern times.

  6. Peigi

    This reflects the ‘why’ behind your terrific writing: You see behind and beyond the obvious to what is real and true. We should all look behind the surface to find the authentic. How wonderful that you found a mate who does too ! Thanks again!

  7. susannequine

    Fabulous story, Beth. It’s funny, when we first fell in love, I wanted to tell everyone about it, and how it happened. Now it’s difficult to say why I love the man I live with. His bad habits are known to me, and he knows mine; we share a past full of a few triumphs and many disappointments. But although the love we have now is complex, and feels very, very different, there’s a part of it that’s still that amazed, brash, uncertain, magical first love.
    Tell your tale, Beth, please.
    (Y’all do not look old enough to have been married 40 years!)

  8. Susan Steyl

    Wow. That is a fabulous beginning! I want to hear more. I am so happy for you and your love of 40 years.
    Thank you for your eloquence. Always insightful to read your words.

  9. Well, you’ve started writing the story, then! I’m doing the same and the only tips I have are live in the moment and write when it comes – making time for each as needed. I look forward to reading more.

  10. Doing a search for any Outlander emails that I missed or want to see again, I found this. What a wonderfully talented writer you are! I was right there with you and teared up when you moved to stand by Dan. The ability to draw the reader in like that is a gift.

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