May. 10, 2022

I WILL NEVER FORGET---WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN.

  I’ve spent a difficult weekend--with no idea how to handle my complicated medical situation.  Under stress, I easily return to the root of my lifelong dilemma---to the suffocating EVIL I endured for too-much of my life. 

I've decided to share a VERY-EMOTIONAL excerpt from My Book--an unresolved excerpt that will haunt me-- until I die. This incident took place shortly after I returned home from The 1958 Miss America Pageant:

"I picked up an already-opened envelope postmarked New York and removed a two-page telegram. One week before the Miss America Pageant, I’d appeared as a guest on several television shows in New York City-- including the Ed Sullivan Show and the Today Show.

Television and I were old friends. As a senior in high school I had been chosen by the local ABC affiliate, KATV, to host a weekly television show called Coca Cola’s Search for Talent. Not only did I host the show every Saturday night but served as the show’s featured performer.

Slowly I read the telegram aloud. The Director of the Today Show congratulated me on being a pageant finalist and praised my recent Today Show interview/appearance.  And then---it was time for the surprise: “NBC invites you to audition for the Today Show’s First Female Hostess Position. NBC-New York City will cover your travel expenses including a round trip airline ticket, limousine and driver,  and all hotel accommodations.” When I finished reading the telegram my father jumped up--to  hug me. “Baby, I’m so happy for you; it’s the opportunity of a lifetime! You can work in television while you study music.”

My mother interrupted. “She most certainly can’t! Only whores and prostitutes accept offers from strangers in a place like New York City. You both are stupid, there is no audition! It’s just some ‘big shot’ dangling a phony offer in front of a small-town ‘wannabe’ to get her in bed! I have the last word in this house and she’s not going anywhere!”

 I begged and pleaded, “Please, let me go; this is my big chance!  Please, Mother-- if I don’t try, I’ll never know if I could have made it.” I looked at my father. His eyes were focused on the floor-- his strong shoulders drooped in defeat. As usual, our side lost.

One year or more after the telegram incident, The Today Show interrupted its regular programming to make a landmark announcement. I watched a smiling Dave Garroway--The Today's Show's Top Host-- - introduce the show’s First Female Television Hostess-- Barbara Walters.

Decades later, sifting through a very old box of personal papers and photos, I pulled out a tissue-thin telegram. Carefully unfolding the yellowed paper, I re- read the long-ago invitation from the Today Show.

A few seconds later I heard the scream.  One scream followed another as the little girl in me yelled, screamed, and cursed my mother. As the last scream faded, I placed the telegram in the waste basket.

Unfortunately--I have more-than-enough reminders of what might have been--THANKS to my "Mother."