Kim was out in life and seemed so glamorous moving into her life, getting married, traveling the world; while Elizabeth was really popular with her own set of friends and going off to college. Still, at home money was very tight and many of my activities were paid for by David; but, more than the money he doted on me (much like a father would his only daughter), was the belief he had in me and the encouragement to go after my dreams. For the most part, I remember being extremely awkward from my pre-teen years through most of my teen years (an ugly duckling), but he was the one who gave me confidence. Being such a talent on the piano, he would often work with me on my audition pieces and my vocals. Plus, being so popular with everyone at church, it didn’t hurt that I was his sister; it gave me the chance to hide in his shadow and the “leg up” I needed when meeting people.
Through him I found my voice, my musical voice and my opinion. It is true that our mother taught us to be independent thinkers, but it was my conversations with my brother, his ‘ear’ in what I had to say and my concerns/fears, which truly made the difference. I can recall a time where there was this boy in high school (I know… it’s all about a boy). He was your typical football player with the svelte body, curly dark hair, dreamy brown eyes; but with a wonderful personality. He just so happened to have taken a drama class and I (being the drama geek that I was) happened to be in the same class. We became friends and, quite honestly, had it not been for this class, Ken Mestas would never had known the existence of Ann MacGregor.
It was time for the Homecoming Dance, he indicated that he hadn’t asked anyone and I really wanted to go with him. I remember talking with David about it. David assured me the worst thing he could say would be no. ”But” he continued, “and I swear to you Ann, he will never forget you. More than likely, he will always wonder ‘what if?’” So, I did it, I called Ken. I asked the question (very awkwardly, I might add). And I heard those awful two letters placed together (‘n’ ‘o’)… He said that he just accepted an invitation and was going with another girl. He did soften it by saying that if he only knew (blah, blah, blah…). Which was sort of nice in a pitying sort of way.
I was embarrassed, but devastated? no… and life went on; my brother was right. And come to find out a couple of years later, he would be right about something else as well. It was winter quarter, I was walking out of the book store in the Jr. College; students were everywhere. Out of the crowd I heard “Ann! Ann, over hear!” It was Ken, about twenty feet across the quad. We stopped and talked for a while, moved on and I didn’t see him again.
Later that year, now the beginning of summer, I had taken up an apartment with a friend of mine. We had no phone and my car was on the fritz. I had been going round and round with a friend who was fixing my Datsun and this was about to be ’round twenty-two’; so with the closest phone in a bar clear around the block (next to the Stop n Go), I walked in to make yet another call to check on my dear car Gwendoline (I named my cars…I’m a girl, what can I say?). I walked into this bar to go to the payphone that was straight in the back. As I was making my way back I hear a familiar voice. ”Ann? Ann, is that you?” After coming in from the bright sun, all I could see was pitch black; but once my eyes adjusted, who should I see? Ken!
This time, he invited me to sit with him, he bought me a drink, we talked a bit longer. He drove me home and asked me to a party at his house… And all I could think was “right on David! (chalk one up for brotherly advice)”
David gave hope to this ‘ugly duckling’ of a baby sister. I know that wasn’t how he saw me, but that’s how I felt. While growing up, he took me everywhere. I went on the first ride in his first car. Often times he would take me on his dates; I don’t know, I think his girlfriends took pity on me; that or I was really that adorable in a awkwardy teenager way.
The love I have for myself, most of it, is due to him. His belief in me and his attention, his interest in what I had to say and to sing shaped me into the woman I am today. My interest in acting was nurtured even more by his desire to make films. He taught me so much, I just wish he knew the talent and love that he has given.
I love you dear brother. You gave me my voice and showed me the beauty I had within (and out of) myself.