International Writers Magazine:
The moment the campers
under ten talent competition was announced, Dad saw a way to earning a
Put Your Daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington! Isnt
a phrase that resounded around our house, in the year when I reached
My father, at that time, was earning a pittance in a holiday camp,
and very happy to work the long hours, and live, with a wife and
two young children, in a minute, wooden chalet, that wasnt
quite guaranteed against the elements, in exchange for the title
Holiday-Camp Entertainer -a title given to the group of fellows,
who, all for the love of show-business, and the campers, worked
sixteen hours a day, and did everything from singing in the cabaret
to greeting the new campers, dressed up as sardines.
I had already cut my teeth in show-business, having worked in the Punch
and Judy tent twice a day as the official passer-upper of a crocodile
puppet and the choking stick. My Dad, being given the job of Punch and
Judy employed me, paying me in pennies, as I knew the show backwards and
was small enough to squeeze into the tent with him, and my hands tiny
enough to fit into the smaller puppets. Naturally, with this experience
in the world of entertainment, it was fully expected that I would shine
in this campers talent competition.
I was taught a poem, line by line, and told all I had to do was to recite
it, and look cute.
The poem was by John Masefield, and was called Roadways. It was the tale
of an ancient seaman and his longing to see the sea once more before he
died. I could still recite it to this day, it made such an impression
on me. (So, please feel very relieved this is a writing and not a performing
The big day came. My mother had dressed me in pink frills from shoulder
to knee, and had twisted my hair, with the help of my fathers pipe
cleaners, into tight ringletted curls, decorating the top with a pink
bow, twice as wide as I was high. The idea being I would be introduced
to the judges, made up of that weeks campers, as The evenings
I remember being unperturbed as I stood in the wings waiting my turn.
I was eating sweets and drinking Coca-Cola.
Then the moment came- I walked on, the youngest and smallest in the competition.
I still clearly remember the aahing and the cooing
from the audience.
I looked out, but I couldnt see my Mum. And there was a very large
light blinding me.
My mother was a strict Irish catholic, and had told me that if you saw
a White Light it meant that Hell was very near.
She wasnt that far wrong.
The compere of the evening, I now know was one of the campers, but at
the time a stranger, walked up to me and asked me my name. No one had
told me about a strange man asking my name. Id only been told to
recite my poem and Id get a toffee apple.
Panic gripped me. The white light signified Hell, so I thought this man
was devil. I started to cry, and then howl. Then he knelt beside me. I
thought he was praying, so now I knew Hell was beckoning. Then he thrust
what I thought was a toffee apple in front of my mouth, I know now it
was a microphone, but then Id just learned about the garden of Eden,
the devil tempting Adam with an apple. I let out a fearsome, rip- roaring
scream, straight into the microphone, the scream accelerated back on itself
in the mike, vibrating the sound which distorted and intensified into
That was too much for a five year old whod just consumed a lot of
CocaCola. Water shot from my lower region and an enormous puddle surrounded
the ground around me. I ran from the stage humiliated and terrified.
Today, as a performer, I still know the pain of stage-fright, but nothing
in my life has ever felt as scary as the night I missed my first performance.
© Linda Regan October 2007
Linda is the author of Behind
You! by Linda Regan
Daniel Alves review
Life long feuds, unsolved hatreds, and more than enough lies to twist
the plot into a maze. This detective novel boasts all the themes that
darken in the eye of betrayal; sex, money, and murder.
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