Thursday, April 13, 2017


(takes a Dumbo figurine out of the bin)
My first “real job” was working at Disney. That was a right
of passage in Central Florida. Virginity? Forget it. If you
hadn’t worked at Disney by the time you were 21,
you were a freak. I ran the “Small World” ride-- yes,
the jokes, ha-ha--I LIVED IT. That was me helping you
onto your boat. I know-- the music-- it’s in your heads
right now. To survive, we had to blot it out like Vietnam.
Go ahead. Sing it with me...
(gently coaxing them to sing)
“It’s a Small World after all, it’s a small world
after all, it’s a small world after all, it’s a small, small world--”
Stop! After so many seconds, its copyright infringement,
and they can sue us. And they will.
The Mouse will sue.
She reacts to thunder outside.
(she crosses to door, peeks out)
Summer afternoon in Central Florida you can count on it,
but this early… It’s odd… Neighbor said there was a
tornado warning… or “watch”, whichever…
(covers her watch/let’s them guess, then confirms)
No umbrella… I’ll hurry.
As she continues, Mary pulls out a stuffed orca whale.
From Disney, I moved to Sea World.
That’s when Scott and I got
together. Scott’s my man.
We were both theatre majors in college--
Yes, I was once a star! “But that’s not
the real world,” my Mom said.
So now, in the real world-- in this case-- Sea World--
Scott is the ski show announcer
and I’m working the whale show.
My job was to add “dramatic influence” by yelling “Shamu can
longer go to Ocean University!”
It wasn’t Shakespeare.
So, Scott and I say, “Enough of this”. We want to be big time,
professional actors so we naturally move to...
(encourages audience to fill in the blank,
probably will get “New York”, then says)
“Alexandria, Virginia.”
As she task on, Mary quickly illustrates the east Coast, putting an “X” atop and “X” atop an “X”
about where NYC would be, then makes dash marks up from Florida, stops and draws a circle
where Washington D.C. would be and writes it in.
New York City scared me too much, so
I convinced Scott we would start by becoming big time professional
actors in Wash-ing-ton, D.C....
$500 to our name...can’t afford anything...
end up in an air-condition-less one-room cottage in a sort of
transient motel complex in Alexandria, Virginia.
(draws arrow to and sketches Pizza Hut building)
Working at Pizza Hut. All of a sudden Sea World
ain’t looking so bad. I mean those were... lean years.
Lot of macaroni and cheese and rice a roni. I think
I auditioned for something once. After a while,
we figure, “Hey, we can work at Pizza Hut in Florida”.
And so we do. Move back to Florida.
And work at Pizza Hut.
Don’t get depressed. We weren’t.
(thunder is heard)
Oops! I forgot I’m hurrying.
(takes out a poster)
“Believe in Your Dreams.”
(starts to pin it up, turns back)
No, I don’t think it’s corny.
So, Scott marries me--
(waves little “cheering” flag)
Yea! I start substitute teaching. Yea!
Scott gets a steady job outside
the realm of food service! Yea!
I miss my period!...
(the little flag stops waving/beat)
We aren’t planning on that. Not at all. I remember a friend
asking, “Well, what were you planning on, Mary?”
I don’t know. Living our lives out like Peter Pan and
Wendy in Neverland... Florida can do that to you.
Make you want to sway in a hammock instead
of go after something...
Scott and I decide to buy a house. “A house?” my Mom asks.
“Yes, ma’am, we have a child we can’t afford, we’re gonna
buy a house we can’t afford to go with it! A little starter house
in Deltona.
(as Mom)
(as herself)
“Deltona, Mom. In the sticks”.
Scott and I started in downtown Orlando and had
been rapidly moving further and further away from
civilization. In the “Greater Orlando area”,
the sticks become the suburbs overnight,
so if you want to be boondock dwellers, you
have to be nomadic. So that’s how we ended up here,
in Deltona, the semi-sticks, the suburbs-to-be, in a
house we couldn’t afford, me working part time
as a tutor for Lightning Mike.
Mike leaves Florida. His Mom can’t take it anymore,
everyday driving by that field... that fence...
The principle at Deltona High calls me into his office...
(“goes there”)
He’s going to “let me go” or worse... send me back to the
sub pool for regular ed. Regular Ed, which cost me my
gall bladder and made my hair start to fall out...
“Good Morning, Mr. Galen.”
(makes terrified face, “walks into office”;
then, as Department Chair)
“Sit down, Ms. Tilford”.
(she does)
Ms. Tilford, I’m afraid you don’t have sufficient training.”
(beat/Mary adds a forced smile to her terrified face)
“Oh, please, God, just shoot me!”
(as Department Chair)
“So we’re going to send you to get some.”
(as herself, not registering his meaning)
“I saw a ‘hiring’ sign at the Winn Dixie.”
(as Dept. Chair)
“We’d like to offer you a full time position, Ms. Tilford.”
I’m thinking: “Oh, my God! I don’t believe it!
I’m a high school teacher”!
(then, a sort of “what in the name of Hell” realization)
“Oh, my God. I don’t believe it. I’m a high school teacher.”

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