If you’ve read previous blogs, you know I have a habit of going back and forth in time. The Kiddie Time Traveler am I!! And, here I go again . . . .
As someone who has had the extreme good fortune to actually keep doing this coaching/wrangling thing for a living for more than a few years – - -
Well, it kinda makes me feel like Auntie Mame, ya know???
Nurture a child, teach a child, love a child . . . . then watch them go on their way. Or you leave them, because the film is over, or the series , or . . . whatever.
It’s kind of devastating. Heart breaking, actually.
Hundred of babies and children come to mind.
But one – - - one in particular – - – comes to heart.
At this particular moment – one particular child.
It’s not that I haven’t loved others . . . I have. With all my soul. AND I’ll be telling you about them, too.
it’s just that THIS one . . . .She was my first.
And, well, in addition to spending highly formative years of her life with her on the first seven years of 7Th HEAVEN . . . Well,
. . . . . she’s Mack.
Mackenzie Rosman entered my life starting at barely age six . . . . .and she left my life – never.
Do I see her all the time? Do we communicate often? No.
Will she forever be the first daughter I never had?
Does it make my day – hell my WEEK, when she calls, or drops me a line or an IM saying she loves me and misses me?
YES. Oh, YES.
See her through my eyes . . . .that first episode together.
we’re on location on the front steps of the “CAMDEN HOUSE” or The Alta House as we called it. (that’s the street it was on in Santa Monica)
The cutest damn little munchkin you’ve ever seen . . . Shirley Temple curls. Great big HUGE eyes. Little Buddha belly, WICKED sense of humor, more mischief in that little body than in any 10 kids I worked with prior to her. (Maybe after, as well!) Cute little sailor blouse, if I remember correctly, cute little shoes and socks . . .
And . . .
OH CRAP. She’s wearing a short skirt.
on the steps . . . .
With the camera level with her little face which is in pretty close proximity to her lap.
“Psst, Dawn” . . . . comes a summons from Video Village, and director Duwayne Dunham (to whom I’ll forever be grateful – he brought me on to 7th Heaven for his episode – and I didn’t leave for 7 years!) ANYway . . .
Another “PSSSSSST, Dawn”. A little more forceful this time.
Me: “yeah, Duwayne?””
Duwayne: “Ummm . . . . Mack’s skirt . . . she . . . . can you get her to sit , um, . . well, a little more lady-like?
Small pause. LOUD silence.
Me: “OH. Uh…. Sure.”
I trot back to the steps, where Mack is squiggling on and off of her mark like a jumping bean. Lord that child had energy!!! How to get a little girl to “sit properly” without making her aware of those kinds of things? She’s only six, for Heaven’s sake, and shouldn’t EVEN be worrying about stuff like that.
I get an idea, and much to our camera operator -Ronnie High’s – relief, I go in and gently help her sit more ‘lady like” so that “we can see your pretty skirt better, Mack!” (!?)
And I keep doing this. For about two hours. No kidding . . . . sitting like a lady is just not something that a little kid remembers to do: for them, there’s no logic to it, it’s not fun to remember all that stuff, and it isn’t comfortable to be seated so stiffly. And as I said, in a perfect world, young kids shouldn’t need to think about all that. (tho I seem to remember 9 year old David Gallagher singing something about seeing London and seeing France . . . sigh.)
Ronnie spent half that shooting day with a red face, little desperate whispered “Dawn”s escaping from him regularly, to signal that I needed to step in again.
Thus, I spent most of the day whispering – “Mack, Honey, show your pretty skirt …”
As I write this, I’m sitting in a jury assembly room in Van Nuys, CA at lunch break , approximately 15 years later– remembering and hooting out loud.
Boy – that would make the attorneys use their “pass” card if I was sitting in voir dire right now!!! More on the jury duty another time . .
Thus began my first episode on the show . . . .I was to go on to do 150 episodes. I have the celebratory champaign glasses from the 100th and 150th episodes to prove it! I had no idea what a wild ride the next years would be. I wouldn’t change it for the world . . . . though there WERE days I wasn’t so sure of that.
As I said – I was blessed to stay with 7TH HEAVEN for seven years . . . seven seasons of a hit show . . . . seven actual years of straight employment – practically a miracle in my business . . . . . but more importantly – seven years with my Mack!!
Next time – I’ll tell you more about our relationship - and what SHE taught ME.
Comforting Mack and her co-stars on a very long shoot day.
PS Typical for me – though I wrote this a few weeks ago, I’m just posting now. It’s that back and forth in time thing . . . I gotta get a handle on that!