Thank God for that. Not many people know that my professional stage debut was playing Belle, Scrooge’s fiancee in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol just after I graduated from college.  I was a 22 year old English (and Latin?) teacher for 7th and 8th grade boys at St. Sebastian C.D.S. who had no talent and no interest in humiliating myself on stage in front of a church full of junior high and high school boys, their families, and my new colleagues, but I did have two breasts and they were scarce at the all boys school. Nobody asked the two nuns on faculty to play the romantic partner of the 7th grade boy my English teacher comrade, Carter Harrison, had cast as young Scrooge.  That job fell to me. Excellent idea.  And the poor kid was in my English class, too.

I think of Bill Moore every year at this time and hope he doesn’t think of me. Nothing untoward happened, of course, but sitting on the bench on stage with him, pretending (not very convincingly you can be sure) that we were in love yet unable to come to terms because of Ebeneezer’s caution was so awkward that we didn’t realize just how hilarious it would seem every Christmas since.

Bill played his part admirably; I was merely horrible, but at least seeming stricken sort of went with the part.  I did stay at the school long enough to teach Bill–a good, smart kid– a couple times more, and I’m fairly sure that by the time he was a sophomore selective amnesia had worked its magic and it was as if we had never been made to hold hands and gaze into each other’s shoes in front of an audience of snide and snickering boys. Lord of the Flies got it about right.

A Christmas Carol is a more moving and powerful and lovely book than many people realize who have only seen botched versions of it on TV (or on stage). (I am fond of The Muppet Christmas Carol with Michael Caine.) I do apologize to the audiences we packed in.  It’s possible that my one scene ruined A Christmas Carol for them forever.  I can only hope that the Ghost of Christmas Past gives me a pass on this one.

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