I Never Saw Another Butterfly (Title from a play by Celeste Raspante)

It was 1979. I was in theatre classes at the school because those were the people who didn’t mind if I crawled under my desk when things got too intense.

They were going to have a school play and, it being little Bohemia and so many with first or second generation memories of the holocaust on one side or the other, (mostly the white side), the teacher decided a play about the holocaust would be a great idea!

I was happy. She chose a play where the type of first leading lady was not defined!!! I had a chance!

Always second. Always background but now???? Maybe now a chance!
I practiced every line and memorized it all so that I could read it like a pro!
I had the leading lady down pat!

I went for the reading and was standing in line waiting and before I even had a chance another girl got it.

I went to the teacher.

“Why didn’t you give me a chance to read for the part?”

“Hon the part calls for someone who looks like a little child.”

“The part calls for a teenager and nothing more. I am a teenager. We are all teenagers.”

“Well I wanted someone delicate looking and small.”

“I only weigh 110 pounds!”

“Yes but you are TALL! But you have the right colouring and I can’t get anyone to play the part of the Nazi’s.”

Oh great! I looked like a Nazi!

“Hon you could really help me if you played the Nazi mom?”

My heart plummeted and I agreed to help her. I had a bit part. Two lines.

When I came onstage I was so angry I over played them and the audience died laughing. For WEEKS afterwards I walked down the halls and people said,

“Heil HITLER!” And slammed their heels together and saluted.

Meanwhile my sister got popular for doing back flips in a mini skirt.

Yeah I was doomed to be the cheesy joke lady for the rest of my life.

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