I received an envelope from my mother the other day. Inside it was a newspaper clipping, the obituaries. Attached was a note that read:
“Remember your ballet days? I hope the memories are good ones. Your parents and family thought (think) you were (are) the greatest! Love, Mom”
My ballet teacher had died at the age of 83. And my memories of ballet…
1. For the past 20+ years, I had her name wrong. But I was close.
2. I think I was in kindergarten at the time.
3. I thought my teacher was old, fat and mean. I couldn’t figure out how she could be a ballet teacher.
4. She used to kick me if I did something wrong. In retrospect, she was probably kicking my feet into the correct position, because she was too old, fat and mean to correct me any other way.
5. My classes were in a bomb shelter in the basement of an armory. Or sometimes in the kitchen.
6. Our recital was “Sleeping Beauty.” There were no boys in ballet, so a girl had to be the prince.
7. I was one of the littlest girls, so we just had small “chorus” kinds of parts.
8. My mom accidentally bumped my ear a little with the curling iron while doing my hair for the recital.
9. I was assigned a blue tutu, which made me really mad. I wanted a pink one, but in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t get a yellow one.
10. There was a girl who got a pink tutu, but she wore black tights with it. I couldn’t understand how her mom could have such poor fashion sense. (I assumed her mom picked out her tights.)
11. Most of the girls were older, and the other little girls went to different schools, so I didn’t know them before ballet class. One of the girls in my class ended up being my physics lab partner for a semester in high school.
12. During one of the performances, I got into a fight with another little girl and missed my cue. I went in late, but I don’t think it looked wrong; it just wasn’t symmetrical. The girl I got into a fight with ended up being in all the same A.P. classes with me throughout junior high and high school, was always the other soprano in choir and madrigals, and we hung out together for two weeks in France. We were (are) both probably too precocious and bratty for our own good.
13. One of the recitals was the same evening as all of the Christmas specials I wanted to watch, which made me really made. I quit after that performance. Cannot handle being denied Charlie Brown.
14. After that performance, my mom took me to McDonald’s for a celebratory hot chocolate. This was before they were required by law to post temperature warnings on the drinks. I burned my mouth so badly that my tongue turned white and I couldn’t taste for weeks. I’m quite sure my mom felt very bad for me.
15. My ballet teacher died at age 83.
I don’t think I will show my mom this blog entry. I didn’t classify these memories as “good”, just filed them away under “something I did once”, along with day camp, crochet and tennis. (I think I lasted longer in jazz dance.)