Really Remembering

February 26, 2010 at 6:41 am 4 comments

So we got the CD of Carol King’s Really Rosie from the library today.   I had been singing the alligator alphabet song on it to my daughter, so I wanted her to hear it.  I was kind of giddy when we checked it out, just feeling right back in the groove of my 70’s bellbottom childhood.  This CD and Free to Be… You and Me (which I wrote about in the book Mama, PhD) are probably the two that most define the first ten years of my life in my own memory banks.

I popped Really Rosie in when we got in the car, and was amazed how the words flowed back to me.  As we listened and drove, I was hit with a most vivid memory.  I was in first grade.  Our school was doing the musical of Really Rosie, and I know there was buzz about me getting a good part — I have no idea which, but I remember the vibe.  There was a “teacher’s pet” kind of thing going on from some other kids toward me, and I was feeling uncomfortable.  I did know every word and every inflection of the show, and I probably could’ve gotten a lead part, even at that age.  If I hadn’t thrown the audition.  My first audition.

The memory causes that little stab above the belly button, as I recall the music room, and our beauitful teacher Mrs. Enzmann playing her piano and cueing me.  I remember knowing every word, knowing how to deliver the lines, I had done it in my room a thousand times — but instead acting as if I did not remember.  I remember the quizzical look on Mrs. Enzmann’s face, her black-lashed eyes widening — perhaps I was not such a good actress, acting like I could not act.  I remember shrugging.  I got a part in the alligator alphabet chorus.  And each night at home, after watching most of rehearsal, I recited every line of Rosie’s and everyone’s, and sang every song.

I was six.  And I was afraid of claiming my own success.  There were peers — at six — who did not want me to succeed.  And I let their attitudes keep me from shining.  This is the same year I cried about getting one answer wrong on a worksheet.  I was so filled with a desire to learn, to feel good about myself, to succeed.  But I did not know how to proceed, whether I wanted to be smart or cool, or that I could be both.  I did not know that real friends always cheer you on.

As I drove up the hill to our house today, my daughter humming along with Carole King from the backseat, I wondered how I could help her feel confident in claiming her successes, in being smart and cool, and in not caring about those people who will discourage her.  I wondered why I did not have the courage that day.  I wondered how I could give it to her.

I am looking to our Parenting on Track program for some answers, as Courage is one of the four “crucial C’s” we are working on with our kids.  I am also looking inside of myself.  I will continue, every day, to seek ways to tell and show my kids that they never need to throw the audition for anyone else’s benefit.  And if they do, well, I guess we will learn from it.  I sure did, at least there is a happy ending there.  I never threw another audition, and got to play Lucy in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown by sixth grade.  I was still called teacher’s pet then.  But at least I got to sing the songs on stage instead of in my room.

The most ironic part of this story?  Here are the lyrics to the main song of the show — the show for which I threw my first audition and did not let my light shine — the message King was sending to kids was just the opposite…

I’m really Rosie
And I’m Rosie Real
You better believe me
I’m a great big deal!

BELIEVE ME!

I’m a star from afar
Off the golden coast
Beat the drum! Make that toast!
To Rosie the Most!

BELIEVE ME!

I can sing
Tea for Two and Two for Tea
I can act
To be or not to be
I can tap
Across the Tappan Zee
Hey, can’t you see?
I’m terrific at everything!
No star shines so bright as me–Rosie!

BELIEVE ME!

I’m Really Rosie
I’m Rosie Real
I’m Really Rosie

BELIEVE ME!

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

A Gift A Hopeful Little Word Twist

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. monika mraovic  |  March 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    I find it hard to teach my girls how to be brave, corageous and stand up for themselves just because I never did for myself. But this time around I feel a stong internal push to show them the right way to live life, without being too shy and timid and giving in to peer pressure.

    Reply
  • 2. Jena Strong  |  March 3, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I believe you.

    Reply
  • 3. Vanessa  |  March 6, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Not entirely on topic, but the lyrics to Really Rosie feature prominently in Stephen King’s book Rose Madder, which is about an abused woman escaping from her husband. Every time I see them, I think of that!

    Reply
  • 4. Megan  |  March 11, 2010 at 3:25 am

    Monika, we’re in this together! Thanks, Jena. And, Vanessa, you crack me up. Really Rosie gets pretty dark, too, BTW — we are only listening to a few songs and skipping the others for the under-five set in our house!

    Reply

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