This beautiful girl is the subject of my new book, River of January. Her name was Helen Thompson, and as is evident in the photo, she was a beauty. As a little girl, Helen began dance lessons, specializing in ballet. Her repertoire expanded over time, training professionally in tap, with acrobatic, and gymnastic embellishments.
When she became the breadwinner, following her father’s death, her professional career grew to include performing on three continents with a stint in Hollywood. The stage became her home, and she knew her business. Helen was an artist and her canvas was the beauty expressed under the spotlights. From what I have gathered in my research, she still respected auditions, and took no job for granted.
However, it was off the stage that Helen faced her limits.
Some of her shortcomings were honest, for example she never learned to cook. But many of her limits were imposed by others, especially her mother who wanted to keep her daughter dependent and needy, convincing the girl that she would never succeed at marriage, or any pursuit other than dancing.
If I had been told that I would write a book in three years, I would have answered, “A huh, on my voyage to Mars with Elvis.” But unlike Helen, my family and friends could say nothing but wonderful, supportive things, encouraging me to spread my horizons.
While her support system failed her for selfish agendas, mine has believed in my abilities outside of my career as a history instructor.
Helen was bound by her mother, while my dear one’s have kindly set no boundaries.