Assignment: Memoir

I have been known to be quite impulsive, especially when struck, out of the blue, with a certain fancy. It’s a vicious cycle of (1) being  so powerfully overcome with the sheer awesomeness of an idea I have, (2) convincing other poor saps to join me on this venture, and (3) the entire thing ending in fiasco. Needless to say, the story I am about to relate was a regular occurrence.

We still had “Reading Class” in the sixth grade, wherein the lot of us would spend 35-40 minutes a day discussing the previous night’s reading, and often reading more in class. On one particular day, our reading assignment was an adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” written as if for the stage. The excitement brimming from my soul was so monstrous, I turned to my friend afterward and begged, “Would you please consider helping me take the entire short story, and transfer it all into script form?” She conceded.

Over the next few days, the two of us plunged in, dragging copies of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes from the protective folds of our too-small school library, turning to the real library for things like What Clothing Did They Wear in the Late 1890s (bustles, mostly), and lastly pleading with our wondrously classy teacher for permission to perform this on the stage in the gym.

She conceded. Why ever, I’ll never know. Anyway, my sixth-grade classmates were all supportive, and we casted everything to my levels of perfection: namely, that Jessica was Helen, Luke was Sherlock, Rob was Watson, Jamie was The Dead Sister, etc. The only problem was that the classmate-to-character ratio was leaning far too far on the classmate side… so we had to improvise. We added a fearless crime-solver who was coming to “be taught the ropes” by Sherlock and Co… and her ditzy friend who collected… string, or something. That’s who I decided to play. Brilliant.

So the day of the play arrived. My friend, my compatriot, the other mastermind behind this entire thing conveniently “had to leave” for a “dentist appointment.” She was always the smarter one.

Unbeknownst to us, our teacher had informed the other elementary classes, so by the time we had everything set up (namely, that there was a mattress pushed to the far right of the stage, several people were in thrift-store bathrobes, and I had blue eyeliner), we were ready to begin. As I glanced out into the (rather small, actually) sea of faces, I saw not one, but TWO of my parents. The shame already started to run in buckets. This was doomed.

We probably did Not Bad, considering that the oldest of us was maybe twelve at the time. But a big piece was left out, which would explain the entire mystery, and my character was just obnoxious and for a few weeks afterwards (okayyy, maybe a couple years) I did my best to forget the entire thing.

Looking back on it now, however, I can’t help but… yeah, appreciate the whole fiasco. I mean, who puts on an entire Adventure of Sherlock Holmes after only practicing for a few recesses, yeah? Oh, that’s right… we did.

(ps. once I find the pictures, they’re ssoooo going on here. It adds to the kitsch of the whole thing. Marvelously.)


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