The year was 1983 and there was incredible pressure on every graduating senior girl to enter the town's beauty pageant. I was still smarting from my recent loss in the Miss United Teenager pageant, so I was not excited to try again.
There were lots of reasons to NOT sign up. First and foremost was the fact that I just didn't look that great in a bathing suit. Second was the humiliation factor...I didn't like losing. Third, and probably the most logical, was the fact that I was so nearly engaged to my sweetie. Winning the pageant meant I had to represent our town at the local parades and other functions. It was a year-long commitment and getting married was not acceptable.
But my friends eventually talked me into giving it a try. Immediately we were celebrities! As contestants our pictures were in the local newspaper. We were given lessons on sitting properly, public speaking, and posture. They even had classes on hair and makeup! It was a pretty good deal since it didn't cost anything.
|I know, it's a repeat picture!|
Then we had the talent portion of the show. I don't think I've ever mentioned that I love to sing other than that I had taken some voice lessons at one time. I belted out Billy Joel's "Piano Man," a song I had performed several times in front of large audiences. I actually love singing in public (or at least I did then...I haven't done it for so long, I'd probably be terrified now), so that part was easy.
The last segment was the evening gown competition. Because there were only about 10 of us (not everyone was as easily persuaded as I was), there were no preliminary cuts. Everyone was in until the winners were announced. After walking the stage (again in my prom dress), we were asked silly questions and then it was time to announce the winners. I felt pretty good and with the eternal optimism of youth, I thought I had a chance.
Once again, I was disappointed to be left out of the winners' circle. Just for fun, I pulled out my old journal and this is what I had to say about it:
May 7, 1983 - Saturday
Well, I didn't win Miss Ephraim, but I guess that
was to be expected. The day was busy and kind of
fun. I wouldn't change anything I did, that's what
hurts., when I feel like I did my best, and I still
didn't make the grade. Oh well, another learning
experience I suppose. I guess it was worth it. I got
some pretty flowers and the shoes and swimsuit
Dad bought for me...
Just like a typical teenager, focusing on what's in it for me...But it all worked out OK. On May 23rd I accepted a ring from my sweetie and my life changed drastically. Even a tiara wouldn't have been as sweet as my awesome engagement ring. And I couldn't have worn it nearly as many places...