My big sister Cris wrote a play when we were very young. All of the kids had parts. My parents set up a stage and seating and all of the neighbors came out to see her play. There were rows of seats. We ran out from the side of the house for our stage queues. What I remember most is how much neighborhood support it got! I know it’s easy to be nostalgic, but in comparison to the places my children have lived, my hometown rocks!
We had summer theater, high school plays with orchestras, and various odd talent shows. We had concert bands and award winning marching bands with majorettes, flag teams and a cheer squad called the “Rockettes”. We had multiple High School and Junior High School choirs, and barbershop! During school hours you could take wood shop, home economics, and fine art. You could choose between college prep with all of the advanced courses like Calculus and Physics, you could go to vocational training to learn job skills, or you could take regular general education; all of which was top notch.
In sixth grade we went to Pioneer Ranch to learn about nature and hunter safety. You could get your hunters license if you chose. You shot a gun or bow and arrow there. You learned what poison ivy looked like, and how to avoid a rattle snake. At the same time, you had the time of your life. It was one of the most fun things because they made it memorable. There were songs, and talent shows and cabins. It was glorious.
If you were part of the marching band you went back to Pioneer Ranch and had a slightly more mature and slightly less mature version, with music and a little more structure and no guns, in High School. It was even more memorable. The talent shows were more creative. We were sworn to secrecy!
I walked away with a love for learning, reading, the arts and the ability to speak in public with very little fear, thanks to all those talent shows. I have a wide variety of interests and amazing memories. I am impressed that in a town so filled with arts, theater and opportunity, our little backyard would find so much support for a first time playwright and her vagabond band of thespians all easily under the age of 10.
Bravo! small town backyard patrons, bravo!
by Vicki L Pugliese