Leigha and the Triplets

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Best Roommate Ever!

In 1994, I did what was either the dumbest thing I have ever done or the smartest thing. I had completed my undergraduate degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology. I did it in 3.5 years. Most people can't even get their degrees in 4 years these days. I decide to pursue my Masters degree in Audiology, not that I had a choice since you had to have the Masters degree to work in my field.

Ever since I was 16, I pretty much made it a yearly even to audition for Ice Capades. I don't think I ever thought I would really go, it was just something I wanted to do with my friends. One of my best friends growing up, Sharon, was not planning on going to college. I went to college, she went to the Ice Capades. Ice Capades started running itself in the ground when Dorothy Hamil took over the show, although I suspect it was headed there anyway. I decided to audition for Holiday on Ice with Sharon. It was bad timing, the Gulf War was just getting started. Put that off. I finished my undergraduate degree like a good girl.

I started my Masters degree in the fall of 1993. It was intensive to say the least. My friend Sharon drove up to see me the next summer. She was telling me about how she was going to go skate with Warner Brothers on Ice. It was a brand new show starting in a few months (Ice Capades had closed, which is why she was home.) I got the bug again. Sigh. I decided that I would call up the producer and sent in my application. The rest is history, my parents' worst nightmare. I decided to take a year off from my Masters (I only had 2 classes and a semester intern left basically) and left college to go skate with Warner Brothers. I had always auditioned but I had always decided to go back to school, until now.
I decided that I should go ahead and take my boards while my schooling was fresh in my mind. We were to rehearse in Simsbury, CT so I signed up to take my exams there. Then things began to get messy. After leaving my apartment in Michigan, telling my professors I was taking a leave of absence, and trying to calm down the irritable parents, the ice show was having problems. It seems that Kenneth Feld, who owns Disney on Ice, Ringling Brothers, Sigfried and Roy, etc. was making problems for Warner Brothers. From what I understand, he basically threatened every arena that we were scheduled to do shows at. If they let Warner Bros. in, then he would take the circus and Disney on Ice out. We kept getting postponed, a week, two weeks, indefinitely.

Some of Sharon's friends, from Ice Capades, were in town with Disney on Ice at the time. She decided she was giving up on Warner Bros. and went to audition with them. She was offered a job not too much later. She left to tour with Aladdin. I, on the other hand, was holding out and getting quite scared to death that I was signed up to take my boards in another state in less than a month. I hit the jack pot though, well, the second best thing. Wayne Seybold offered me a job with Nutcracker on Ice. It happened to be rehearsing at the same place during the time I was to take my exam. The tour I was on starred Oksana Bauil, Victor Petrenko, and Brian Boitano! I was excited, needless to say.

The only problem was that I didn't get the ice show out of my system. We rehearsed for 6 weeks I think, and then we did a city a day tour around the US and Canada. Every morning was like the movie Groundhog Day. We woke up, went to the airport, flew to the next city, dropped off our luggage, went to the arena, ate dinner, skated the show, went back to the hotel, tried to figure out what floor we were on, drank/hung out, went to sleep, repeat cycle. The hotel were quite amusing. Everytime we got on the elevator, someone always forgot what floor we would be on. For example, people ask you what floor you need. You tell them 14, they beep you, there are only 8 floors on this one. Dang, why did they stop taking numbers off of the keys?! When you are in a different hotel nightly, it's hard to remember where the heck you are. It's like shopping at 20 different stores in a day and trying to remember where you parked. Sometimes you just have to start wandering around and trying different places.

When I got back to Chicago, I just picked up my old job of waitressing. I still had meant to return to graduate school in the fall. My friend Sharon was in Rockford, IL, with Disney on Ice. I drove down there to visit. I had a great time! She tried to talk me into auditioning, but I declined. They were going to be going to Milwaukee not too much later, so I got to see her again. I hadn't really planned on auditioning, but she was doing them when I arrived. I said what the heck, I would do it for old times sake. I skated, passed, just like I have many times before. No big deal. I wouldn't go through with it. Then my parents worst fears came true, yet again. I got the call. I was given an offer I couldn't refuse. Disney on Ice called and offered me an overseas job. My tour was going to be doing Southeast Asia and Australia! Now who could seriously turn that down? NOT ME!

Now to back track a bit, since I am already way off the topic I meant to post about. There was a girl on Nutcracker with me, that was very, ummmm, odd! I knew she was from Long Island, NY. She had called me a few times after Nutcracker. When she heard I was going on this tour, she told me that one of the girls she knows was going to be on the same tour. I didn't know what to think at that moment.

Fast forward to Disney on Ice. I arrive in Rome, GA. for rehearsals. I am going to be rooming with 3 other girls (I only had one roommate on Nutcracker.) I decided to quad to save money, since we don't get our full salary during rehearsals. I have never done well with roommates. I start with them, then want my own place. I HATE having roommates. I find out that I am rooming with the girl that was a friend of the one I skated with before. Sigh. Here we go again. How many weeks would I be cooped up with her? Linda answered the door, and I knew it was her based on that obvious New York accent. After the pleasantries, and both of us kind of staring at each other oddly, I finally asked the all-important question, "How good of friends were you with #####?" Her response made me laugh. She felt the same way about the person. Everything was perfect from there on out! We ended up being great friends, and managed to survive the other two oddities that we were rooming with.

On tour, you sign up to have a different roommate every country/city. Linda and I decided we would just stick together since neither of us cared for roommates. We had a blast. Sometime I will have to scan some of our pictures from tour so I can post them. Linda and I decided to return for a second tour. If I couldn't pass up Southeast Asia (Hong Kong, Philippines, and Singapore) and Australia, do you really think I could pass up what I got offered next?! It was Europe! We toured England, Ireland, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Spain, Poland, and ended in Prague. We roomed the entire time!

That was the last year we toured together. She ended up getting off of the road and I stayed on for another European tour. In addition to the previous countries, I was going to get to go to Egypt, France, and Denmark! When I got off the road and married Noe, Linda was one of my bridesmaids (a no-brainer!) I will continue on with my tour life another time, and spare you the rest for now.

Linda came to visit me on Thanksgiving Day, 2004. I was pregnant at the time. I think I was about 9 weeks along when she was here. She kept treating me like I was a fragile peice of glass. Didn't want to overtire me, etc. I told her that this wasn't the first time I was pregnant and I was carrying heavy trays over my head the day before giving birth to Leigha. She kept telling me how big my tummy was already (hmmm didn't know how to take that one.) I kept telling her that was just my post-skating fat. Boy, she must have known something was up. A few days after she left I found out I was pregnant with triplets! No wonder I was so tired.

Linda and her new boyfriend came to visit when the boys were about 6 months old His name was Tim and he worked for the New York Islanders. She called me a month or so ago to tell me that she was coming out here again with him. We were going to spend a day together while she was here. Plans changed, that's for sure. On Friday night, December 1, I got a call from a semi-drunk Linda. She was getting married! Sometime after they arrived, Tim proposed to her. They were going to be getting married Saturday night, Decemeber 2, at the Graceland Chapel. Elvis would be walking her down the aisle. Nothing Linda does shocks me these days. Unfortunately, she was getting married at 11 p.m. Hmmm...that would be great if I didn't have 3 20 month olds and a 5 year old at home with me. I don't have babysitters, just my Aunt and Uncle. My aunt has been taking on a bunch of day shifts since Noe's schedule is messed up for two weeks. I couldn't ask her to do this for me. Linda totally understood. We were just going to meet up on Sunday.

My aunt called to ask me something and I told her about Linda getting married. She offered to come over, but I told her I was waiting to hear back from my neice. Unfortunately, April's company Christmas party was that night. My aunt called back later to see if April was coming over. I told her she wasn't able to and that Linda understood. She wasn't going to let me miss that. My aunt, being the angel that she is, told me she would be right over. I decided to surprise Linda, even though she had told me before to ride in the limo with them. I left her thinking I couldn't make it. I arrived at the chapel before them. The rest was priceless.

I had brought my camera, I love to take pictures at weddings. As soon as they walked into the chapel, I began snapping away. Linda gave that kind of shy giggle as she kind of smiled.

Then I heard her say that she was going to go to the restroom. It was at that point that I realized she didn't have a clue as to who I was. I even made a comment to Tim, that I didn't think that Linda knew who I was. His reply was, "That's ok, she doesn't need to know about us." He then turned and kept talking to the man about the certificate. Then I realized, HE had no clue who I was. I was laughing at this point. I went over to the bathroom area. As soon as she opened the door I started snapping more pictures. More nervous giggles.

The suspense was killing me. I couldn't take it anymore. While still holding my camera up to my face, taking pictures, I decided to ummm, give her the finger (sorry Mom). Her laugh changed a bit and she said, "Hi, my name is Linda" and extended her hand to shake mine. I dropped the camera from my face and said, "Hi, MY name is Cathy!" Oh my gosh, her expression was priceless (where was the camera when I needed it?!)

I wasn't allowed to take pictures during the ceremony, but I was able to sneak a few in! Elivs was getting in the mood. He was going to be walking Linda down the aisle. He also sang to them and then pretended to do part of the ceremony after the real one.

Tim had bought Elvis sunglasses and all, but not to fret, he didn't wear them during the ceremony. We did get Elvis to come back and pose with the couple for a picture. I stood behind the photographer and snuck one in myself. I just don't like following rules!

Even though it was freezing outside, I got them to pose for a few pictures outside, with sunglasses on and off. They were definitely a happy couple!

And they are living...happily ever after.

1 comment:

micheles said...

What a great story and what a great friend!!! I am so happy you were able to be there. I just LOVE that they got married by ELVIS. I love it. It's perfect.

So have you ever thought of getting your Masters for audiology and give up you love of teaching?