In fourth or fifth grade, our elementary school, which at the time was pretty isolated in the deserts north of Reno, held a talent show. I was always a super shy kid, one of those nerdy kids, with purple glasses and a bad perm, who was perpetually teased, and had no idea how to get around that. But for some reason, I signed up for the talent show. I played the piano, but I didn't think of that as a talent. It was just something I did. I wanted to do something extraordinary for the talent show. So I decided to create a mime act.
I didn't know anything about miming - I'd never done it before - and I don't remember the plot exactly, except that I was camping and at one point I got marshmallows stuck all over my fingers.
I do remember the laughter, and the applause, and the kids who came running up to me for months on the playground to say, "You're the girl who was the mime!"
I'd love to say that I suddenly became one of the most popular kids in school, that I miraculously gained social skills, that life was great after that. I didn't and life stayed pretty much the same. In fact, the attention made me a bit uncomfortable and even more awkward, and eventually, it faded. And I didn't even begin to gain the few social skills I have until the very end of high school.
But for a short time, inside, I felt wonderful. I felt confident. I felt like a success. And even though I probably didn't know his name at the time, and still don't know that much about him, I think I owe some of that to Marcel Marceau, who died yesterday at 84.
Bravo, Mr. Marceau, and thank you.