i really only remember working summers. in junior high i had a full-time babysitting job for several years that went from 7:30 am-5 pm, and then i would go play tennis. the summer after my freshman year in high school, jeff hookham and i took over the summer tennis program for parks and rec…it would be my first of nine summers in this position, and jeff was the first of three different people i would work with (one summer i ran the whole program by myself), the other two being george auffert and robin powers (one of my former tennis students). jeff and i taught 9-12 four days a week and started with about 35 students. george and i really worked to build up the program and by our second year, we had about 90 students and were teaching 8-4 four days a week. by the time robin was teaching with me we had well over 120 students and started at 8 and went to 5, for 4 days a week, and went from the six week program to 8 weeks.
while i was in high school clarinda started a summer community theatre group. i was hired as the accompanist. i can’t remember if the first show was “music man” or “oklahoma”. soon i was also playing for villisca’s summer shows, my first there being “the fantastics”. after a few summers i moved into being both accompanist and vocal director for both towns. this position in clarinda cost me a dear friend. my good friend sara had been the vocal director the previous summer, and balster had called me about two months before we would have started rehearsals for the summer to announce they were to do “sound of music” and would i like to be vocal director. i inquired about sara, and he said they weren’t going to hire her back, whether or not i accepted. i took a few days to decide, and my dad suggested i take it as someone else would get the experience if i didn’t, and sara would understand…except no one told her. she called me one night and was so excited as she had found out SOM was the show, and asked if i was going to play again…and i asked if she had heard from balster and she hadn’t. i ended up telling her i had been asked to VD…and that was the end of our friendship. hard to say if it was worth it…i had a great experience, but if i had to do it all over, i think i’d pass on it. i’d rather be loyal to my friends, even if it cost me the position and future positions…and i’m not sure why i feel this way completely as i’ve had a lot of supposed friends screw me over…but it still felt and feels shitty to think i did this.
villisca would run their show early in the summer and clarinda’s later. a typical day for me would be 8-4 (or 5) at the courts, shower, drive to villisca, give a tennis lesson over there from 6-6:30, and have rehearsal from 7-10. long, long days. clarinda was easier as i had time to eat in between tennis and rehearsal, but, being in town i went out after rehearsal more also. adult cast would go to the indaclar bar…and i didn’t drink. i was for several summers the “designated” walker for the local pharmacist. it was about a nine block walk to his corner, and then another three blocks to my house. some of the shows i remember doing during this period were: fantasticks, oklahoma, music man, wizard of oz, godspell, gypsy, sound of music, annie get your gun, annie, brigadoon, and once upon a mattress. eventually i would quit coming home for the summers and do community theatre in maryville while i worked on my masters, or had the summers off from teaching. it is hard now not being involved in summer shows.