When my father insisted that I recite some lines, I just sat there mumbling because I didn't want to stand in front of him and say them. I felt weird. It might have had something to do with the fact that I remember him reading while I was supposed to be reciting. I don't blame him, I wouldn't have wanted to listen to a kid stumble through a play that he didn't want to be in. My parents had promised my teacher that I would have all my lines memorized by the time of the first rehearsal, which was sometime soon after my brothers' spring breaks. My brothers' were coming back from boarding school in Massachusetts and we were taking another driving vacation along the western coast of Turkey.
The site of my torment.
We were stomping around Ephesus when my father had an epiphany. We had just reached the ampitheater at the end of a long column lined avenue that had been the main drag, if memory serves. My dad figured that this would be a great place for my to exercise both my lines and my lungs. I was not thrilled with this idea. My family all marched about halfway up the rows of seats and then I started saying my lines. My family said that they couldn't hear me. I tried raising my voice. They said they couldn't hear me. This went on until my brother's were laughing at me and continuing to say that they couldn't hear me, even after mom and dad said that I was doing fine. I was not exactly furious at this point, but I was pretty steamed. It was especially maddening because my dad can make himself be heard over hurricane force winds without yelling. I suggested that everyone go sit up on the top row of seats and I would try again. This put them about 100 yards away from me on the stage. As soon as they sat down, I took off running back to the car as fast as I could. I got almost all the way to the ruined library at the end of the road, about a mile, before my older brothers caught up with me and dragged me back.
My unreached refuge.
I then sat there sulking on the stage while my brothers stood in the wings. I tried to escape through the structure, but it was dark inside the remaining walls and I didn't get too far before my brothers apprehended me. I was never able to get away at any of the other ampitheaters in which I was forced to recite my lines. Leaving my lines in the car didn't work either, my father just made me march back and get them. My brother's were too smart to let me get away with anything twice. When I made a mistake, my parents would make me start over. When I wasn't projecting enough, I had to start over. We went through this in Troy, Ephesus, Pergamon and other ruins lost beyond the pain of memory.
After this ordeal, reciting my lines in the kitchen didn't seem so bad. I only had to compete with the radio and microwave in the morning. As I recall, my performance as a grouchy old farmer was well regarded. I just acted like my dad.