When the student is ready, the teacher will appear
Sixty years ago, I had a strong dancer’s body, but decided I was too old to dance. I left New York and returned to Hollywood, my home. After taking a few ballet classes, I made the profound decision to become an actor. Of course, this meant starting at the beginning and I soon started a lawn mowing business. It flourished for a time but clearly it was time for a new chapter in life. At the end of my rope, I found a teacher/counselor, who could solve the riddle of my ill-wired thinking. Her name was Joel Teutsch. One night she gave a birthday party for her husband, Champion K. Teutsch. Many of their clients, including Orllyene and me, came. She lambasted her husband in front of us for getting a portable telephone(many years before cell phones) that he could carry in his brief case, saying now he would never get away from their burgeoning list of clients. Their job was to assess the patterns of their clients’ lives, and achieve a balance of family life, work life and have fun as well.
During the course of the evening, Joel asked that a record be played and asked to see some of my dancing. My performer days may have been over, but I wasn’t dead either. Tables and chairs were rearranged and I walked onto the newly-created dance floor with a small hat I borrowed, in hand; guests formed a circle around me as I began improvising. A reassurance came over me; my movements flowed easily. In the back of my mind, I realized the farce I had played on myself.
When I returned to Hollywood from New York, where I performed on TV and in a nightclub on Broadway, the desire to dance had disappeared. I looked for an excuse to stop dancing and, being too old, was the answer. Acting then became my goal and I started auditioning for acting jobs.
At one audition, I did pretty well and was asked to remain until the audition was finished. The producer, it turned out was all talk, and the chance came to nothing. Fortunately, I was asked to assist Charles Conrad, a prominent acting coach and friend from New York. Still, I was in a quandary, but I held to the coaching I was receiving to maintain a balance in life. There was now a glimmer of success in my life.
When Orllyene and I married, it was time to put my lawnmowing business behind me. One evening I said, “You know, I think I can dance again.” Orllyene instantly said, “Well, why don’t you try?” I put on my Florsheim’s, rushed downstairs to the parking lot, and started doing some dance moves. I was thirty-two and my muscles were like powerful rubberbands. I was a fire horse responding to the alarm at the firehouse.
Today, Joel and Champion K. Teutsch, PhD are no longer with us, but they lived long enough to know all of our kids, including Tom, who joined Randy and Marla as part of the package deal I got when I hooked Orllyene, the greatest catch of my life. For over 60 years I have honored the Teutsch’s friendship and veracity of their teaching.
It’s going to be better than a good year. It’s going to be a zinger.
Ron Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org