March 20, 1997 Thursday
Tonight is the opening night for Oklahoma! I’m not sure how prepared everyone is. Some lines might be improvised. Even the t-shirts are mis-spelled. Colin, who plays
“Will,” shudders and covers his ears if anyone wishes him luck. Sidney, who will play the lead of “Laurey” tonight and Saturday, is in good spirits. She only wishes Les would come, but he won’t. I believe he really does want to, though. Tonight Hoke and I are going to sell tickets at the door. Because of all this I hope to leave baseball practive over in Brimfield early.
I have told Sidney about my dream last night, but she has said little about it. I don’t think she totally believes I am authentically having these dreams in which her life in constantly being put in peril. I am. So far she’s just had lousy luck.
Since I have begun this journal, I have related many things, and numerous aspects of my life. After all these, I have come to a conclusion. I have told all I can on my own. I require the ones I write about to put their lives in writing. I need the backgrounds and viewpoints of my friends. This journal, after all, isn’t just about me, but everyone around me.
However I know they do not want to write. I had a hard enough time last October getting those very brief lines while on a bus trip. Those are not enough. I want to understand everyone and realize their experiences. I want to know how Sidney got her “perfection complex” (my own words, for lack of a better, more exact phrase). I want Hoke to tell, without a jokey, irritated dodge, how his senior year is going. I want to Les relate to me whatever it is he does. I want Colin to tell me his latest thoughts on the play, and if he had similar experienes playing for the basketball team as I do baseball.
Sure, I hear all about these very things every day anyway, but I want them to put it in writing, if they would be so kind. Some might not realize how fleeting this moment is.
Sidney wrote this to me during Homeroom:
“I have to agree with Hoke because this is dumb. I ‘ve never really felt like anyone cared about what I had to say. Maybe that is why I find it so stange to write down my thoughts and then let you read them. Right now I am a little nervous about the musical. I don’t think the musical will really be all that great, and that will be mostly my fault. I don’t like the fact that Becca Meers and I are both Laurey. I feel I am competing against her, and that she will win. I don’t feel like I am competing against her, and that she will win. I don’t feel deserving of the part of Laurey. I pray that I do a great job, and that people will enjoy my performance. I am excited about track. Out of the four girls running the 4×8 relay, I am in the best shape…
….I used to write in a journal all the time. Now, I write to my sister and brother with e-mail. I gave up writing in my journal and threw it away because they reminded me of my life. Well, now that I’ve remembered that I don’t feel like writing anymore.”
There is a lot to say about Sidney’s letter and her perceptions of herself. First of all, there is no word or phrase to describe the utter shock I got by reading the above letter. I have known just a bit about some things. I knew Sidney was under great pressure. Pressure to take on virtually all she does, and succeed. I was aware of her determination and pride of self that made me give effort. However, I was taken aback by this kind of uncertain, first-or-fail mentality she made so clear in her writing. I know she doesn’t truly believe it is her fault(?) if the play isn’t perfect. Her determination has done so much for her. She is second in her class and has the opportunity to go to Illinos. Her fortitude has made her a force on the cross-country and track teams. Take for example the play, about how you feel you are competing. I believe I might feel the same way, in your position. When I am about to do a children’s story in church (not quite the same, I know) I’m afraid, get nerves, but then I tell myself I have done this countless times and I will be okay. And I am.
How you write about yourself in only human, but I hope this does not fill your days. I have not met anyone else that is as kind, personable, and contienous as you (after all, you put with me, right?). The rest is probably not my business, anyway.
I was saddened that you threw away your old journals. Maybe you felt you had a very good reason, I really don’t know. By the end of the letter I was almost sorry I had had you write at all. I hadn’t want to dig up unpleasant memories if you weren’t completely at terms with them.
* * * * *
If you are reading this and have never met Sidney, her outward personality is nothing like her letter. If I had not watched her write it, I wouldn’t have believed she felt this way. I asked–suggested to her–to write “open and honestly,” and that’s what I got. It was almost to my relief–with all of my own ramblings in this thing, that someone seemingly so together as Sidney has her own fears and apprehensions.
I want to thank her for writing in such an honest manner. I doubt I could be as open with anyone. I wonder if I could so quickly discuss my insecurities. As a final thought, I want Sidney to know she is a beautiful person that I believe will stay true to herself.
* * * * *
Alright, let’s get on with the rest of this journal entry. At baseball when I was in the locker room I opened my bag … and my hat was no where to be found. Needless to say, I felt like a fool. Which is probably a fitting ending to such a different, dense entry.
Hoke and I did sell tickets to the play tonight. Everyone did such a great job–including a stellar performance from Sidney, and of course Colin, and many others–and opening night, at least from my seat, halfway up the far left side of the auditorium, was a success.
At long last this entry is over … almost,
PS– I’d like to add something more, though, about the play. It is an interesting aside to me, that speaks just as much about my ignorance of Oklahoma! as it plays upon today’s words from Sidney. At the end of the first act Sidney, as Laurey, was faced with a choice that felt like a trap, caught between going to the dance with her friend Curley, or Jud. Sidney was then left alone on stage, all of the advise-givers departed. As she now sat in the rocking chair, on far stage right, at the end of “Many A New Day,” the character of Laurey was silent, for what seems to be forever. As I watched, Laurey began to softly cry, and suddenly rush off stage. My immeadite thought, sitting there stunned, was that is was not part of the play, but rather Sindey had forgotten a line. Something like that. It made sense, with the above. Anyway, it took a moment, and the raising the house lights, for me to fully get it was simply the end of the act.