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. Why not? So we did, and I decided, naturally, that my talent portion would be to sing. My friend decided to sing to, so we got together as often as we could to practice. Unfortunately, because there was alot of time before the contest, we goofed around alot. It wasn´t until the last week or so that we took it seriously and actually practiced our song. 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!

I was crying behind the curtain – embarrassed, mad at myself for not taking it seriously enough, and my crush was out there! How was I ever going to face the whole school again?? Next thing I knew 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, my confidence was shattered, and I again started singing on the wrong key, forgot the lyrics and ran off the stage.

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.

I don´t remember much about that night. But, I do remember one thing. 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.¨ That´s what I remember the most about that night.

I will never forget that. <3

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