Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Millie: A Recipe

January, 2010

Add three teaspoons of Pippi Longstocking to a pinch of Mary Pickford. Stir in a dollop of Debbie Reynolds until mixed. Once combined, gently fold in scoops of Tina Fey, to taste.

Randomly scatter a handful of freckles. Bake until crisp on the outside and soft in the middle.

I've met children who are ready to skip their childhoods and jump directly into adulthood. These kids are sometimes annoyingly precocious, but not always. They're often simply ready for greater challenges and don't need coaxing or prodding.

The Millie recipe promises good results if you're interested in a girl as absorbent as a dipsomaniac without the obnoxious side effects.

Millie is a third-grader full of pep and curiosity. In Shakespeare Club, her feet dangle above the floor and she tilts her head with a little crease in her forehead as she forms opinions on whatever comes out of my mouth.

It is my foremost goal this year to solve the sound problem in our auditorium. It has become a heartbreaking thing to watch kids trying their best to project little voices, only to be sabotaged by lousy acoustics. Three expert gentlemen have stepped forward to figure this out for me since I am a technical know-nothing. They asked if I could gather a couple of club members to test the microphones. Millie was one of our helpers.

"Here's the thing, kids. These gentlemen are going to try and fix our sound problem. I'm going to have you three go up on the stage and read these words aloud from different spots on the stage."

"Is it because you're getting feedback, Ms. Ryane?" Millie asked.


"Well yes, Millie, that is one of the problems. That speaker above the stage is causing...."

Millie's mom had shown interest our problem and had obviously passed bits of a conversation on to her daughter. Nevertheless, it was Millie's grown-up tone that had me in a double-take and chatting away as if the girl were my peer.

Millie is not precocious, but she's darn ready to handle some serious Shakespearean text. She strikes me as the kind of child that might get bored without a challenge. She's the kind of kid this club is perfect for. Millie's game to jump the high bar even if she is the shortest member of the group.

My job? Easy: just hold that marker nice and steady, give her nod and watch her leap.

I want to be in Shakespeare club because when I grow up I want to be an actor.

What I learned
1.he died on his bithday
2. the plague (Black Death) killed his 2 sisters
3. he had 3 kids
—Millie, 3rd grade

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