Returning To The Miss Texas Stage
Wednesday - June 23, 2010
Until a couple of Sundays ago, I was a near basket case over a commitment I’d made for this summer.
“I want you to meet my guest, Eloise,” whispered my friend Barbara. “She’s 101 years old.”
Gasping, I reached out to offer a gentle handshake to Eloise, who instead gripped my hand firmly. “So happy to meet you, Susan.” Apetite blonde, Eloise was wearing a stylish red dress and fashionable layers of jewelry.
One hundred and one? My mind blew a circuit.
It was Eloise’s first time at our church in Kaneohe, and this was the third morning service, which is not traditional. Besides there being a rousing rock band and contemporary praise songs, the usual attendees - as well as the pastor - are routinely clad in jeans and “slip-pahs.” Given a choice of services, Eloise chose this one and effortlessly rocked out right along with the 20-somethings the next row up.
Lively, hip and looking easily a third her age, Eloise unknowingly had just shaken me loose from my fear of what was to come.
Let me explain.
I was Miss Texas 101 years ago - actually only 44 - and this July 2 is the 75th anniversary of the Miss Texas Pageant. Last January, the producers sent out an e-mail invitation to all us “exes” to come to Fort Worth and be a part of the Miss Texas Pageant production. What fun, I thought. I’d only twice been back to a reunion since living in Hawaii for the past 27 years, and this would be a great chance to reconnect.
The e-mail asked if we’d be willing to dance, sing, reprise our old talent number and/or wear our original competition evening gown if we still had it. Without much thought, I said yes to all the above, except singing - I’m not a singer. I’m not a dancer, either, but I figured I could glide around the floor in a simple routine with the other “oldies.” Maybe even those sealed up boxes we moved out of Mother’s house will yield a garment or two from pageant days. Anyway, I was certain I wouldn’t be picked to perform my old talent number - a dramatic presentation of a postwar Scarlett O’Hara vowing “I’ll never go hungry again.”
Four months later, in April, came the second e-mail, which gave the list of the “dancers” and the years they were Miss Texas: Miss Teen Texas 2009, Miss Texas 2009, Rebecca 2008, Molly H. 2007, Cathy 1988, Molly G. 1967, and moi 1966. OMG. Molly and I, both in our sixth decade, are dancing alongside children ... no ... grandchildren. First I laughed out loud, then came the nausea.
The e-mail continues: “The dancers will be performing to Beyonce’s Single Ladies. You will be wearing a black, lacy top, black leggings, funky stiletto heels and funky jewelry.” I’m dead.
I called the producer, Felicia, to politely decline because of an age handicap, but she wouldn’t hear it, saying they have the routine all set, others have dropped out, you can’t back out now, it will be fun, you’ll be great, don’t worry, we need you and Molly 1967 is doing it. “Have you seen Beyonce’s Single Ladies video onYouTube?” I asked Molly.
She was in shock, too. Then I met Eloise, who unknowingly taught me that age doesn’t matter. Seeing her grooving to the music was a reminder that maybe I can inspire the younger ones to believe life isn’t over at 63. Molly and I vowed not to back out.
The e-mail also said “Susan Logan Page will be doing her Scarlett O’Hara Gone With the Wind number - live - to open the show.” Fortunately, the costume my mother sewed in 1966 was preserved nicely in a sealed dry cleaner’s box.
It’s funny how I’m already thinking about the next reunion pageant, the 100th; I’ll only be 88, still a youngster to Eloise. (Beyonce will be 53!)
By the way, Eloise wasn’t at church last Sunday. Barbara said she’d had a busy week taking a course on how to have financial health and wealth for the future.
E-mail this story | Print this page | Comments (0) | Archive | RSS Comments (0) |
Most Recent Comment(s):