8. One Girl. One Journey – Carnival Queen – 1979

There was an announcement in high school that there was going to be a beauty pageant. My friend and I decided that we were going to enter. So we did, and I decided, naturally, that my choice of entertainment would be to sing. So my friend and I got together as often as we could to practice. The night came and my family and I headed into town. The school auditorium was packed. As we got ready, I peeked out and saw everyone. The room was just buzzing. I started to get really nervous.

All I can remember about that night was stepping out onto the stage, and standing in front of the microphone. You could have heard a pin drop. The piano player started playing the piano and I opened my mouth to sing. I was completely off key and then I blanked. I couldn´t remember the lyrics to the song! Horrified, I ran off the stage!

Next thing I knew I was crying and then my brother was there. ¨Carol, get back up there! You were just off key with the piano player. Go back up there and start again. Just listen to the piano and then start singing in the same key´. ¨I can´t John. I just can´t! I can´t get back up there. I´ve made a fool out of myself. Everyone is probably laughing at me¨. ¨No one is laughing at you Carol. They are rooting for you. They want you to get back up there! Go show them you can do it!¨

So back up on stage I went. But the damage was done, and I again started singing on the wrong key, forgot the lyrics and ran off the stage again.

We all drove back home in the station wagon. It was a quiet ride back to Dunchurch. I was so disappointed in myself and embarrassed. Of course I didn´t win. I didn´t even win the Princess title.

But, the thing I remember the most out of that experience was what Dad said. After driving about 10 minutes, Dad quietly said, ¨How do you feel Carolyn?¨ ¨How do you think I feel? Like a fool¨, I replied quietly, sadly looking out the window. ¨Did you do your best?¨ , he asked. ¨Well, I tried my best. If I had practiced with the piano player, maybe I would have sang on the same key. But, it doesn´t matter. Everyone´s going to think I´m a fool. I´m going to be the laughing stock at school. I don´t even wanna go back.¨ And this is what he said to me, ¨It doesn´t matter what anyone else thinks. If you tried your best, that´s all that matters Carolyn. The important thing is that you tried. And WE´RE proud of you.¨

I will never forget that. <3

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