Editor’s note: George Ostrom is still on the mend and asked us to run this column from April 17, 1970.
This was the week of the annual Hedges School Talent Show wherein 45 or 50 small members of the bubble gum chewers and tennis shoe wreckers union entertain their parents and other close relatives in an evening devoted to musical harassment.
Our three oldest suffered through, but did survive, the “tryouts” and thus it came to pass there was no way for me to get out of going to this affair.
Iris thinks it is dreadful to the point of pure sin for me to not take great pleasure in watching other people’s kids make their first stomach scratching, nose pickin’ fling at show biz, and her attitude about my attitude does cause some lively discussions. I always lose.
As if I didn’t have enough to worry about with riding hard on our five year old, Iris decided it would be nice if I took four of Clark’s little friends along with me. Iris could afford to be magnanimous because she was helping backstage or something, so I had sole responsibility for maintaining decorum among 6th Avenue East’s tricycle version of Hell’s Angels.
When we got to the auditorium, I strung out the gang on one row of seats with me in the middle. Once we were seated, I growled, “Now the first one of you kids who steps out of line gets a whack between the horns.” None of Clark’s gang said a word. They just grinned, but a little girl in the row ahead of us starting crying and her mother turned around and told me, “You scared her.” I happily apologized. She was the first little kid I’ve been able to scare in years.
The fifth and fourth grade Ostroms did well on their numbers, but something went wrong with our first grader.
She and three other girls were dressed up like Indians and their dance number went all right until that part where they came out on the stage. They didn’t come out far enough for the last girl to clear the wings, so she poked the girl in front of her, who poked the girl in front of her and so on. Then the smallest girl, who probably didn’t like getting poked, quit the herd and began dancing by herself.
When they did the part where everyone goes in a circle, either one girl went the wrong way or only one went the right way and they all ran into each other.
After the show I asked Wendy what happened. She said, “We flubbed it, Daddy, but that’s all right because a lady back there said most kids flub it the first time they’re in a big show like this.”
On the drive home I recalled slugging one of the other little angels in my first grade Christmas play, so I realized that Wendy and “a lady back there” were right, most kids flub their first big show.
Some things are passing me by these days. Even if my life depended on it, I couldn’t tell you right now how much it costs for a penny post card.