Casey Ann wanted to be an actress from the first time she saw Elizabeth Taylor, Vivian Leigh, and Greta Garbo on the big screen. Every Saturday was spent at the kiddie show with Rin Tin Tin and the Lone Ranger, then she would hide in a little closet in the back of the theater until the adult shows began. Her parents never asked where she was for hours on end. Their motto was, “Children were better when they were invisible.” So, she learned how to be invisible. She secretly put on plays in the woods behind her house and practiced facial expressions in the mirror as often as she could. The day she turned eighteen, she bought a one-way ticket to Hollywood. As soon as she stepped off the Trailways she looked around the bustling terminal and wondered, “What do I go now?” Followed by, “What am I doing here, anyway?” And, “Where will I live?” The questions stunned her for a moment.
She took a deep breath and headed for the café she saw across the street. She still had enough money for a few lunches and one night in a cheap motel room, but she needed to see about getting a job. Everything would fall into place as soon as she signed a contract.
Casey slid onto a stool at the counter and a waitress about her mother’s age came to take her order. She asked for a pop for starters. When the waitress brought her drink, Casey asked, “How do I get to the MGM studio from here?”
The waitress rolled her eyes and nudged another waitress rushing by. “Hey, Jean. Another one.” She turned back to Casey. “I hope you’ve bought a return ticket, dear. This is a tough place to get started. Every day dozens of sweet young things get off those buses, dreaming of fame and fortune. The sharks soon chew them up, spit them out and leave them bleeding.”
Casey gasped. Jean, passing again, saw how shocked Casey looked and stopped. “I was one of them, too,” she told the young girl. But I’ve survived.” She winked, then grabbed several bottles of pop from the cooler.
Casey looked around the busy restaurant, the waitresses run off their feet. Survival, yes, but… she wanted so much more from life than this. Jean leaned toward her and whispered, “I still haven’t lost my dream. Listen, why don’t you call my friend? She works in wardrobe for an independent studio, DreamStudio. Maybe she can help you find a job. Best of luck to you!” And she pressed a scrap of paper with a name and number scribbled on it into Casey’s hand.
Casey studied the number. Should she give it a try? She had no references, no job experience. But she did have a flair for clothes. Everybody said so. She was tall and slender, so she could wear just about anything and pull it off with confidence.
Well, nothing to lose. She pulled her cell out of her purse, pressed in the name and number, and waited. Pulse pounding, she had nearly given up when a breathless voice said, “Yeah? Who’s this?”
Casey said her name, and told her Jean had given her the number. She said, “I need a job. Jean thought you might be willing to help me out.”
There was a long pause. Finally, impatient, the voice on the other end said, “Look, I’m really busy here, but if you can convince me you can be useful, sure. I’ll see what I can do. Here’s the address of the studio. I’ll tell the guy at the gate to expect you, and he’ll direct you to Wardrobe. Are you coming today?”
“Yes! Yes, I’ll be there as soon as I can! Thank you so much!”
Casey got quick directions from Jean, blew her a kiss and ran out the door to catch the bus she needed.
Jean watched Casey go. She looked at another waitress. “Did you see the girl who just left? Tall, slender, hair to die for? Gorgeous eyes. She reminds me of Maureen O’Hara. Hmm. I wonder if she’ll find her John Wayne?”
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