by Thelma Jacqueline Straw
The setting was idyllic. Outdoors near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Mountains, clouds, pure clean fragrant air, open cabins, good food, great atmosphere, terrific comrades, wonderful teachers!
The Perry-Mansfield School of the Dance and Theatre, the gold star of Dance-Drama summer training.
We were taught by stars - Daniel Nagrin, Helen Tamiris, Harriette Anne Gray, the best in the field.
We ate, drank, talked dance and theater 25 hours a day!
We bonded. Made instant best friends.
When the session was over, I joined in the drive east with my friend Ginny, who was to become a world celebrity at PBS, as series producer of the famous Adams Chronicles, who would also receive the highest TV honors worldwide for this work.
Ginny also shared her car with two fellow students.
Larry, a handsome, young blond god, a charmer who saught a great future on Broadway. He brought a friend, a nice but quiet young fellow, not terribly gifted, who'd spent the summer sweeping the floors of the theater and filling in for the more handsome, talented actors.
We all felt kind of sorry for him. But he was on his way to the bright lights too. Maybe he'd get to sweep the great floors on Broadway, while Larry shone on stage.
We shared motel quarters, ladies on one side, gents on the other.
All very modest and proper.
At Omaha we parted ways, the others headed for New York, I to my home on a Tennessee mountain, back to teach college prep students modern dance.
Ginny and I were sure we'd soon see Larry's name in huge lights.
Time passed . . .
A few years later, I saw an ad for a hot new film. Everyone was raving about it, coast to coast! And its leading man.
It was called THE GRADUATE.
His picture looked familiar. My companion from the trip east.
He'd said his name was Dusty.
As they say, the rest is history.
Can you ever tell a book by its cover?
P.S. Larry WHO?