Mrs. Craig had aspirations of forming a local girls’ choral group made up of her daughter Cathie’s elementary school classmates. I was one of a dozen or so between the ages of nine and twelve who were interested.
Cathie played the piano and had the voice of an angel, while none of the rest of us had any musical talent. Mrs. Craig said we had potential. We didn’t know what that meant, but we wanted to please her, so we did our best. Through patience and perseverance and many hours of rehearsal, Mrs. Craig produced a choral group.
She purchased bolts of salmon taffeta and had a local seamstress sew us gowns. The dressmaker allowed for growth, so the garments were somewhat long and the waists a bit saggy. Most of us had trouble keeping the straps from slipping off our shoulders. We were in various stages of maturation and temperament. Our parents wouldn’t permit us to wear lipstick and we weren’t skilled at hair care, but we loved those gowns—our first grown-up clothing. Mrs. Craig told us we were beautiful; therefore, we were. We stood taller and smiled more brightly. For her, we sang as we never knew we could.
Our leader suggested a contest to name our group and offered a prize to the winner. My idea for a name was “The Cinderella Girls,” which Mrs. Craig choose. My prize was a crisp $1.00 bill.
Local civic groups let us perform for them, as did schools and churches. As our “fame” grew, a boy asked to join us. We girls were horrified and said absolutely not. We were “The Cinderella Girls” and wanted to stay just that. Mrs. Craig said we had to let him join. She got him a tuxedo.
With a boy now a part of us, “The Cinderella Girls” was no longer an appropriate title. Mrs. Craig knew we were unhappy about the change. To appease us, she suggested another contest, and, again, there would be a prize. My entry for a new name was “The Cinderella Girls and Prince Charming.” I won another crisp $1.00 bill.
We found that Prince Charming lent a vibrant singing voice to the group as well as a nice balance. We all got along and had fun rehearsing and performing. After a year or so our gowns started to sneak up above our ankles and our bodices became too snug. The straps dug into our shoulders. Prince, with his tuxedo sleeves now above his wrist bones and his socks showing beneath his trouser legs, said he would rather be playing baseball.
And then, too soon, it was over. “The Cinderella Girls and Prince Charming” disbanded, for we were growing up and had other things on our minds. For a shining moment we had experienced the spotlight, and it was good. We moved on and took with us lasting friendships and good memories. In addition, I took two crisp $1.00 bills.
Mercedes Horton, OLLI member and former Cinderella Girl