Saturday, August 22, 2009


If you were to wake me out of a dead sleep and demand that I share a happy memory from high school RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE, the odds are good that whatever I would come up with would have something to do with my association with Shoestring Theatre. Not that I don't have other pleasant memories from high school; I'm sure I do. But the ones from the plays I was involved in with this community theater are the most numerous and bubble to the surface most easily.

I got my start at Shoestring in the fall of my sophomore year of high school, when I auditioned for The King and I and was initially cast as one of the King's children. The director quickly realized that she had an abundance of teen-age girls among the children but not a lot of young women to play the members of the King's harem, so before we knew it, we were transformed into wives.

Makeup for most of The King and I cast was a colossal pain in the butt. Each night, my parents helped me cover my fair skin in pancake makeup. To force my jaw-length hair into the requisite bun, we slimed it thoroughly with KY jelly, slicked it up and into a bun form, and then bent it to our will with an abundance of bobby pins and hairspray. And then we spraypainted the whole mess jet black. Night after night.

I can remember washing my hair in the garden hose outside the theater before taking off for a post-show cast party or trip to IHOP. I also remember the agony of sitting on my knees on-stage for what seemed like hours, waiting for the wives' time to join in on "Getting to Know You." I wouldn't have traded one single minute of it, however, spraypainted hair and all.

The other day, my mom sent me a link to a newspaper article about Journey's End, the amazing animal shelter that the director, Florence Thuot, has been running at her home for over 30 years. The article begins:
GLENWOOD -- Fire got sick and a choice had to be made.

The former champion and dressage horse got an impaction, and Florence Thuot, the founder and owner of Journey's End Sanctuary, had two options -- pay the mortgage or treat Fire.

She treated Fire -- after all, that's what the shelter is known for, providing lifetime care for a menagerie of animals that have been abused, neglected or have some other special needs.

The weeklong treatment cost $1,500, and Fire is once again a healthy 25-year-old. However, Thuot is now two months behind on the mortgage -- one of the shelter's many financial needs with 56 dogs, 240 cats, four horses, three sheep, two pigs, both of whom are on daily medications, and an assortment of chickens and roosters to care for.
Go read the whole article and while you're at it, watch the video as well:

I hate, hate, HATE asking people for money, but it just kills me to think of Mrs. Thuot sacrificing so much on behalf of the animals and being in such dire financial straits. Tonight I'm temporarily getting over my distaste for fundraising in order to help spread awareness of this situation. Please give a little and pass this story on to others who might also feel inclined to help.

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