When I was eleven years old my life consisted of biking around my neighborhood, writing plays for my brothers and sisters, and performing those plays under my mother’s clothesline. I was chubby with crooked front teeth and a pixie hair cut. Life was grand in every way.
Until one day…
The girls in my class at school were given pink invitations to take home to our mothers. We were so excited to be inviting our mothers to a tea party! I wore my best dress, anklets, and patent leather shoes. I loved the tea party with mints and cookies. But then we watched a film that changed our lives, “What is happening to my body?”
I slunk down into my chair as I watched all the changes about to occur and no way to stop it, something like a train wreck.
Growing up in my era we were groomed for the happily ever after which meant marring the man of our dreams and having children. This happily ever after was re-enforced by the rules of the Baptist church where we attended: 1. Always sit six inches apart from boys. 2. Do not swim with boys or their little spermettes will find you in the water. 3. Never smoke, drink, touch or have --- (we weren’t allowed to say the word) with boys.
This original piece, The Baptist Girl’s Guide to Sex, Love, and Happiness, explores these growing up issues in a humorous way while weaving back and forth between my women’s potluck group conversations and my own once-upon-a-time fairy tale.
This past year I have personally set out finding the happily ever after. Do folks still believe in it? What about me? What about you?
Writing of the script fell upon hard times as my pieces began to unravel onto the cutting room floor. Some stories were brought back to life. Others were swept out the back door along with the day’s footprints.
As with all storytelling performances, I needed an audience to bring the show alive! I was able to share the story at Diva Fest in Indianapolis in the early spring. It was a great beginning for me and led to lots of discussions. With much more work, I was able to perform the show on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina to visitors and locals alike. I have since shared it with other Indiana audiences at house concerts.
At the beginning of this adventure I felt my story would be enjoyed most of all by middle aged women. I was wrong. My audiences have been diverse, with men and women of all ages. The youngest was 15. She came up to me immediately after the show with tears in her eyes, “I really appreciate my mom after your story,” she said to me. “My mom is so honest with me.”
The oldest member of the audience so far was an 85 year old woman who sat in the back because she thought she might have to leave! She stayed and enjoyed the entire show. And all you men out there, the largest laughs have come from you, so don’t be shy!
Carolyn Powers wrote on Facebook, “Had a sneak preview of Lou Ann Homan's Indy Fringe show last night at our home. What a fantastic storyteller! Her story brought laughter, wonder, tears and joy. If you can drive to Indy to the fringe, be there. You will not be disappointed!”
It is with deep appreciation that I thank IndyFringe and Storytelling Arts of Indiana. These two organizations have created this venue for me to tell my story. Now it is your turn. Come on out, and then tell your own ‘growing up story’ with friends and family. Those of you attending, please make your presence known so that I may thank you for coming as well.
See you at the IndyFringe 2013!