In this slice, I share another story from my elementary years involving my friends, Diane and Colleen. As mentioned in an earlier post, we often found ourselves in ridiculous situations where uncontrollable laughter ensued.
Colleen, one of my friends in elementary school, had a wild imagination. Although we both loved creative writing, my stories were largely realistic fiction, while hers were fantasies, dark and ominous. She was also crafty, reimagining and repurposing materials long before it came in vogue. In fact, her creativity even landed her a guest spot on the show Zoom, a kid-run show on public television back in the early 70’s.
In every situation, Colleen was always the first one to either think “outside the box,” or just add her imagination to every day happenings. For example, her family had an Alaskan malamute, named Sonu. When he howled, Colleen said she imagined little O’s coming out of his mouth. And when a visiting nun, a novice, came to our school to recruit for the vocation, and I asked her about “the calling,” Colleen quickly began whispering, “Laurie… be a nun…”
One time, in the 8th grade, she convinced us to write and produce a play. Her inspiration came from a song she heard in Miss Rosemarie’s School of Dance, from a younger group who practiced before her class time. Here’s a glimpse into some of the lyrics, which I can’t believe I still remember:
We’re cookies on parade
So crisp and freshly made
We are so yummy
In your tummy
We’re cookies on parade
Colleen insisted that we make our puppets out of actual cookies, which sounded like a good idea at the time. I decided to use a Vienna Finger, the thin oval shaped cream filled cookie. With the marionettes from the Sound of Music in mind, I dressed my puppet in a European costume – pale blue and yellow. We stretched out wire hangers to make the body form, glued both sides of the cookie to the hook part for the face, and then added the fabric to make the dresses. We also designed the stage, backdrops and curtains for the puppet theater. Engagement was high as we had ownership over this self-directed project.
We practiced on Saturdays, until we were ready to perform it for the children in our school. We received such outstanding reviews, that the parents asked us to come back to perform it for the PTA. That’s when everything went terribly wrong. We started out okay, until Diane either missed her line, or was using her “Edith Anne” voice from Laugh In. In trying to suppress our chuckling, somebody snorted, and that was it. The contagion spread. Laughter flew through the air attacking everyone in its path. The puppet theater tilted, the backdrop slipped, cookies splattered to the floor – and we were we were unable to finish the performance. There were no encores or standing ovations that night for our little cookie caper… only another humorous memory to mark our adolescence!