Dogged Persistence Makes Shining Stars
You might say Huey was “star struck.” He kept begging our teacher, Mr. Merritt, for a part in our junior class play. There were three strikes against that decision. First Huey had a strange lost puppy look about him, second his voice was squeaky, and thirdly his foggy memory would not allow him to memorize lines.
Kind Mr. Merritt told him, “Huey, twice the show goes on back stage. So I am going to make you our Property Man. You’ll move chairs around and take care of all the things like books, guns, and dishes that the actors need during the play.”
Huey carried himself like a bright and shining start.
The night of the production one of the actors left her hat, which had nothing to do with the plot, back stage somewhere. Huey, eager and unthinking, took aim and threw the headpiece from the wings-to the great surprise of the actors (and the audience) it landed squarely on the villain’s head.
When it was time for the production of our senior class play Huey had been forgiven so he retained the position of the Prop Man. Mr. Merritt gave him a delicate task to perform. Act two featured a line of nuns walking in a pairs in an autumn garden. A basketful of leaves, positioned above the stage, was to be tipped and the red and orange leaves would fall gracefully on the moving figures. We knew the audience would tear-up at such a beautiful scene.
Huey was to ease the rope down when Mr. Merritt gave the signal, but he froze up at the critical moment and when Mr. Merritt hissed, “Now, Huey, now!” poor jittery Huey yanked the rope bringing down a glob of leaves and the basket, which clattered noisily at the feet of the “nuns” who were center stage on their way out.
The year after that our town celebrated with a huge Apple Festival by putting on a Saturday night production enacting the history of our little city. Since history said our village flourished because it was a railroad town the amateur authors decided to have a train featured in act one. Huey became the Prop Man once again.
The train was an illusion, of course, created by a totally dark stage and unseen characters known only to the audience by their voices. Off stage the sound of an approaching train would accompany Huey carrying in his outstretched arms, a heavy, rotating spotlight. He was to start at the back of the stage and move slowly toward the audience. At practice it was sensational.
At the performance, well, it seemed Huey’s feet got tangled and although he tried valiantly the train approached lower and lower- until it hit the imaginary tracks. After that, Huey left town and we didn’t hear anything about him until a couple of years later when the local paper reported that he was performing out west somewhere.
You see, Huey landed a job where his looks didn’t matter and his foggy memory wasn’t a problem. His squeaky voice and dogged persistence led him into the perfect medium-RADIO!
Mary Elizabeth Mruzik