I Was Born on the Stage – Jacki Kellum Memoir

Some of you have heard me tell this story before, but my dad was a carbon copy of Professor Marvel, the guy who told tales and sold snake oil from the back of the gypsy wagon on the Wizard of Oz.

My dad would have been perfectly happy to ride from place to place, pulling his carriage of tricks behind him, and even without his gypsy set-up, he was never far from the stage. My dad could tell a tale to a fence post, and the post would jump up and down. My dad always had a story to share, and I inherited that from him.

This past week, I saw an aberration of a quote that I have often repeated. The words that I saw were: “Every child is an artist until someone tells him he’s not.” I would say that the same is true for performing. Like my dad, I came into this world, pulling rabbits out of hats and making flowers squirt water from my lapel. Any place that two or more have gathered, I was always ready to tell a tale. No one ever told me that I couldn’t be an entertainer; therefore, I never got off the stage.

I grew up in the South, a thousand miles from snowy mountains and snow skiing. Soon after I married, we went North to ski, and I was terrible at skiing. I spent the entire week, lying on my back, buried in a hill of snow. I was even scared of the ski lift. Small children were all over the mountains, whisking here and there, sashaying about like fairies. I think that was the first time that I truly understood that we can master what we learn in early childhood. As we grow older, learning becomes more and more difficult.


Indeed, it is difficult to teach an old dog new tricks, but if you want a dog to put on a show, put him on the stage when he’s a pup.

©Jacki Kellum February 4, 2016

Naked with Black Socks


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