Soaked, but not forgotten, each foot was paid “Wet Pay” for standing in snow for hours.
The thought fondly came to me as I looked out the window now and saw snow on our roof, flurries blowing in the wind. I remembered the April Fool’s Blizzard of ’97 when a Nor’easter blasted through New England dumping nearly 3 feet of heavy snow. Not many took it seriously because of the April 1st date, but if you lived through it, that storm became definitely one to remember!
Especially for me. I had been cast as an extra in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film Amistad (DreamWorks SKG), a true story of mutiny and justice in 1839. Filming had just moved from nearby New Haven, Connecticut to Newport, Rhode Island and I was excited to be a part of an epic film starring Djimon Hounsou, Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman & Matthew McConaughey.
As I packed my car to leave, the snow just started to move in. My Dad said, “What on Earth would make you drive in this blizzard? I cannot understand this entertainment industry pull.” In the words of Ethel Merman, “There’s no people like show people,” honestly, there’s just no explaining us. My father knew I was a determined free spirit, just like him, and when I had a desire, nothing was going to stop me from doing it.
My parents never stopped us from pursuing anything. My travels around the globe on a ship, climbing the Great Wall of China or the pyramids of Egypt, soaking in the romantic history of the Taj Mahal, flying off to Europe a week after graduation for my 1st job, or saying “yes” to my beloved after 4 days in his presence. So really, how’s a blizzard going to stop me??
It didn’t. I hopped in my car and set off for Rhode Island. The 2.5 hour trip took nearly 7 hours.
A little slide off the interstate didn’t deter me; 3 cute officers pushed me back on the highway, later requesting an autographed Miss Connecticut photo each (it was on my licence plate).
I had 5 hours sleep and reported for wardrobe at 4:30am. Excited and ready to go, after hair & makeup, I found myself standing in snow for hours…with joy! Even the newspaper photo caption under my picture says, “Undaunted.” Yup.
Changing the face of Newport (above) (above right) The photo from the Miss America parade that got me the job with Amistad
Interestingly, the entire earlier part of the movie’s outdoor scenes that had been filmed in previous weeks did so with NO snow. So the outdoor snowy scene that took days to film had to be edited out. But the memories are incredible as are the people I met throughout the experience.
The Bright SpotTM – Remember, if there’s something you really want to do, nothing can stop you. And just imagine the amazing people you’ll meet!