My chance encounter story…
First, let me say this was a tough challenge! Every time I remembered an encounter, it usually resulted in something negative. I just haven’t had a lot of experiences with people that made me happy after the fact. And although I’m sure there must be more than the one that came to mind the other evening, I really just haven’t found the people who make things better rather than worse.
So, here’s my encounter. I’ll give a little history…
In high school I really didn’t fit in. I knew that I wanted to work in the theater/drama department, and I knew there were jobs for me, I just didn’t really know how to tell the people in charge that I wanted to help. I guess I was lucky my brother pulled me up in front of the drama teacher, during the musical practices, and pleaded my case for me. The end result was that I was introduced to the teacher as the shy younger sister, and from that point on, there was always something for me to do… no matter how small or insignificant the task, I had an assistant job. After the initial small tasks for that musical, and for the spring play that followed, I found my voice, and dug in to several aspects of the background theater jobs.
I started student directing/stage managing and by the time I graduated I had directed/managed 8 shows, with at least one show that I didn’t take credit for, but still worked on in the same way I had the other 8 shows. I became manager of ticket sales for three years, and added the title of usher manager to those duties. I worked in the box office in the afternoons for a few weeks leading up to the musical… and I when I wasn’t in a show, there were a handful that I got small parts for, I was ushering, or in the box office.
So, not long after I dug in, I think it was at the musical my sophomore year, I was helping the ushers after the show, and I had just requested that they thank patrons for seeing the show. So, doing my job as well, I stood at one of the exits to the theater and tried to stamp down my shyness and thank all the smiling people as they left. A woman recognized me… and I had absolutely no idea who she was.
“Sarita… How are you?!”
I smiled, and tried to hide my confusion as I stepped out of the way and answered her question. Asking how she was I kept trying to figure out who she was… and I kept drawing a blank.
She smiled and told me that I probably wouldn’t remember her… that it had been years since I had seen her, and that I was just a little girl. She went on to explain that she had taught 6th grade at my elementary school before they cut that grade. She taught my older sister, and went on to tell me about all the times my mom brought my younger sister and I to the different parties she helped out with. Her fondest memory was the Halloween party my mother and us girls had celebrated with her class. I chatted a few minutes longer with her and she gave me a big hug before telling me how proud she was of me. And then she was gone.
I was floored. I kept smiling, but for someone to remember me… was just amazing. This was a teacher who had seen me… what, a handful of times when I was a little girl. She made my night. She didn’t see me on stage… I wasn’t a soloist, or actor with a bunch of lines… I was just the girl at the back of the theater handing out programs. And the funny thing is that I really think that small conversation we had… made me work harder in the department. I signed on to every show I could… and I always hoped to see her again… and I never did. I’m sure she came to more shows, but I wasn’t just a girl standing at the back of the theater anymore… I was backstage.
I have a hard time seeing teachers and my peers from the schools I went to… but of the few people I would enjoy sitting down with now, she is one. And I didn’t even have her as a teacher! I really wish I could have been in her class when I was younger.
I guess that’s it… Thanks for the challenge Lilibaby… it was fun… You come up with some of the best ideas for this site.