"Oh my gosh," a camper exclaimed. "Miss Emily, Miss Emily! My foot! It's bigger than my hand!" I loved teaching four to eight year old theatre campers for that reason. "Yeah, Riley," I replied, "it sure is." She examined her hand, which was resting peacefully on her foot until this discovery. Placing her fully extended hand on the bottom of her flip flop, she tilted her head to the left, and then to the right, trying to take in this mind-blowing, life-changing observation. She pulled her sister's hair and said, "Maive, look at this for a minute."
Riley was absolutely mezmorized by the simple fact that her foot, was indeed, larger than her tiny little hand. Maive, being three years younger, didn't seem as fazed by this little known fact. She continued chewing her Goldfish and sipping her sister's canteen of juice every once in a while. However, Reily's gram crackers lay forgotten by the Arts and Crafts table, as she found different ways to place the palm of her hand against the heel of her foot. Soon, she decided that things might change if she adjusted the way she sat. So, the next time I turned around, Riley was on her back, her feet bent backwards next to her ears (a position I'm not sure any human with the correct amount of bones and joints can accomplish safely), gently resting on top of her hands.
"Miss Emily," she demanded, sitting upright. "Why has no one informed me about the size of my feet? " I explained that everyone, basically, had hands that were a bit smaller than their feet. She did not accept this readily at all. "No," she said, "I think that I must have been born with a disease of 'Rather-us Large-mon-ious Toes-eys Syndrome', and when the doctor told my mommy that I was going to be born that way, her and daddy cried and begged him to say that it wasn't really true and that he was making it up but he said it was the truth and it was real. And then I was born and they decided they would never tell me that I was doomed to live the rest of my life with gianormous feet and itty bitty hands! And now that I've discovered it, they're going to send me off into a spaceship! With lots of other people who have big feet! And then I won't be able to play the Great Bear in our show! And then what will we do, Miss Emily? Can you call the aliens and write me a note saying I can't go on the spaceship with the other big feet people until after camp is over? Please?"
I said we could write it right now, if she wanted to. She went to get me a crayon and some pink construction paper to write her excuse letter to explain her absence to the aliens. As I watched her re-tell this story to poor, unsuspecting Maive, I thought to myself:
"Well, we are at theatre camp."
In ten years, we'll see her on Broadway, playing some sort of dying and dramatic swan, I'm sure.