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Healing execution…

by | Jan 16, 2021 | execute, Healing, The Partridge Family

Something that gets executed along with music is dancing.  And generally speaking, that involves someone of the opposite sex, which somewhere in Junior High start to appear – different – but in a better way.  And whether it is right or wrong, again it typically falls to the boys (particularly in the early ‘70s) to initiate heading onto the dance floor.  And there is a lot of Healing needed for sure from those early executions – which is how they feel;-)  The awkward approach, the even more vulnerable and awkward discussion, and the hated result – either way 😉  Success – you actually have to DANCE… which is why I was out on the dance floor, mostly in white, with platform shoes… and a burr haircut…

… I have no idea who I was dancing with… but the song was Roll Over Beethoven by a “new” group, the Electric Light Orchestra.  We had moved back to Texas by this point, leaving behind the memories of the Mouse costume I thought.  I was in dance lessons and being really small, I was light on my feet – naturally 😉  I had a decent Twist mastered, and with that soundtrack, I was giving it my best.  In fact, the floor had cleared a bit so that suddenly I was by myself really tearing it up.  And unlike the Mouse, there is a photo of this… because my Dad who had brought me, captured this with his camera … and a huge bright flash…

Any man my age was a teenage boy when The Partridge Family was live immediately locked in on the keyboard player.  Susan Dey grew up outside of New York city in the town that Dick Van Dyke’s program (that Danny’s Dad wrote for…) was supposedly set in – New Rochelle.  Her mother passed when she was only 8, leaving her to navigate the upper Westchester community without much support.  She graduated from high school at 15, and was modeling when suddenly she was cast as Laurie Partridge, one of the main roles.  She had no acting experience, not even in school.  But she thrust herself into it, and learned from those around her, particularly Shirley Jones.

Knowing that the TV camera adds 15 pounds to anyone, and wanting to look slim, she was a typical starlet who dieted way too much, supposedly having orange fingers from just eating carrots.  Danny Bonaduce is credited with helping her realize this was not healthy when she turned up in a bathing suit, and his glance was not complimentary.  She has talked about it later in life as pivotal for helping her realize that the pressures of being treated as an adult when really still a child .  She would work in movies and smaller parts through the remainder of the ’70s and early ‘80s, and continue to battle other challenges of stardom, particularly alcohol.

Again, a chance occurrence brought another role of a lifetime to her.  At a school picnic with her kids, she ran into a person who talked about a new legal drama he was thinking about, and would she be interested in getting back into network TV.  It was tailor-made for her, again, and she was a major piece of L.A. Law, and won the 1988 Golden Globe award for her portrayal of Grace Owen.

…the flash froze the crowd, highlighting my all-white outfit and shoes. Everyone turned … to see Dad with his own Crew Cut and his camera.  His intent was to capture the moment, which of course instantly vaporized.  It was so bright I actually couldn’t see … but I eventually made it back to the side of the room.  It was awkward and I know that his intent was admirable, but his execution: not as helpful.

Ironically the darkroom that picture was developed in provided me with many hours of fun… and also a connection to something that helped me navigate these complex Junior High days.  Taking pictures of the cheerleader tryouts got me into that circle, and actually noticed by the “Susan Dey” of our school.  She came up with a nickname for me… you guessed it – “Mouse”.  At our recent high school reunion, she took a chance at Healing, and came up and apologized for calling me that.  I said it was actually something I cherished – it actually helped me “fit in” in a weird way… and that I really appreciated her vulnerability in even noticing that 40 years later…

…. and she shared that she never felt like she fit in either.  I was literally stunned – if she didn’t, then who did?  As we continued to talk, and Heal those old tense times, I realized that we all were simply trying to “execute” getting through that time.  None of us got through it unscathed, and now years later, we realize that we all were dancing to music that was timeless – finding our way from children to adults.

Each of us have these stories of missed or messed up opportunities… and compared to most, particularly The Partridge Family kids, mine are very, very minor. It is interesting to open up and retell these stories, and to mine them for lessons for me that I hope also speak to you.  Healing requires a perspective that comes from distance, and also the common elements in all our stories.  How can you provide the opening for those around you to reflect on their own path of execution

… and how it can now accelerate your team?  If you need a resource on the value of this to performance, Brene Brown’s books and Ted Talks on Vulnerability are fantastic. These stories often hide hidden talents that can really bring teams together.  Susan eventually made it through all of her own ups and downs and now is mostly out of the public eye, but again, we are happy to have songs that speak to us even now… and something we can all try more of. It can be scary I know, but an execution that Heals … together…  I Can Feel Your Heartbeat, and you didn’t even say a word…

 

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