The South Bend Tribune
December 30, 2007
Queen strives to restore Miss America's luster
Amanda Petrucelli, Tribune Correspondent
Call me old fashioned, but I liked the days back when I was in Bloomington, when the Miss Indiana was so often a smart, funny and attractive IU coed from SouthBeachHoosier favorite, the Tri-Delt house, which I think happened twice in 4-5 years in the early '80's.
I'd be minding my own business, reading my ids, http://www.idsnews.com/news/index.aspx over breakfast of some eggs and bacon and a bagel on a Monday morning and read that yet another sorority sister of my personable and charming friends Gail Amster and Terri Kearns -the two greatest IU Redsteppers ever!-had persuaded some very discerning Midwestern judges with their impressive talents, abilities and sheer nerve to put themself on the line.
(Even though I wasn't in a fraternity myself, one year, as a personal favor to a Tri-Delt friend of mine, a wonderfully funny, smart and sweet Hoosier-by-choice -like me- named Faith "Gus" Lawler, who was then the Panhel president (head of all the presidents of the IU sororities which composed the Panhellenic Council), because Gus knew I was already giving walking tours of campus to prospective IU students for SAC (and VIP tours for others) due to my knowledge of of IU trivia and facts and "talking points," I agreed to help lead the walking tours of the fraternities as well, though to save my voice, I usually stayed outside near the sidewalk.
While living in Evanston in the mid-80's, one year I went back to Bloomington over Thansgiving to visit my younger sister -and my mom, who was visiting from Miami. It was a really great trip, only one of my best ever, since we hadn't been together since the previous Christmas.
Just as it always seemed that I spent so much of my time in the IMU while going to school there, a few days later, probably the Saturday, I swung by to purchase a couple of IU souvenirs for my apt. up in Evanston, look for some pocket IU basketball schedules over in the Biddle Hotel, plus, leave some notes underneath the office doors of SAB and SAC with my contact info, so that if they heard from anyone I knew who'd left for jobs or grad school, they'd pass it along -and vice versa.
(This was before I knew that Wendy Mulholland, my amazing Alpha Chi and IU cheerleader friend, was living in Evanston like me, and going to Kellogg.)
Anyway, while either in the cafe writing the notes or while watching something on the giant TV in the IU Trophy Room, I ran into a mutual friend of Gus and I who had some good news.
(I don't know what it's like now, but back then, the Trophy Room was one of the most popular places on campus, since the giant TV screen there was where soap operas, news and other TV shows were watched by the hundreds everyday, in between classes, as well as ballgames by those with small TVs on weekends, and seminal events, like finding out that President Reagan had been shot the day we were all psyched to play and beat North Carolina in the 1981 NCAA title game.
Not to date myself, but among the things I watched there were the "Luke & Laura" wedding on General Hospital, the series finale of M.A.S.H., North Carolina State's frentic upset over Houston in the NCAA title game, which featured so much screaming that the walls seemed to be shaking, the Orioles' clinching victory in Game 5 of the 1983 World Series over the Phillies, and many others.
I loved that room which featured old basketball and footballs lining the walls and ceiling with the scores enscribed on them, as well as IU team photos in glass cases.
My personality being what it is, I tended to know just about every inch of that room!)
This mutual friend said that the last she'd heard, Gus had moved out to L.A. after graduation for an upscale retail management program of some sort, possibly with the May Company, which I could totally believe. Someone like Gus would've been absolute catnip to them!
She was charming as could be and clever as a whip!
Though I could be wrong, I seem to think that Gus was also on what can only be called a ridiculously talented Tri-Delt flag football team, a team whose games I often saw up on the Fee Lane fields on many cool nights, who seldom came across an opponent they couldn't handle with ease.
And their lanky but quick, dark-haired QB from roughly about '80-'82, was an absolute High Definition vision of loveliness, running thru flimsy and pointless grabs for her hip flags.
At times, I could practically feel myself faint when I watched her run and outmanuver some befuddled opponents. It was like watching a Roadrunner cartoon, since they could never lay a finger on her, much like Wile E. Coyote's success rate.
What can I say? Smart, good-looking and very athletic! That was/is my type!
Why didn't I ever think to bring my camera with me?!
Wow, I could SO kick myself now, thinking about all those great shots of Gail and Terri at the IU football and basketball games, or Gus up in her office at Panhel, which I could've shot back then to help illustrate how great they were, and such absolute delights to be with.)Back to the Miss Indiana winner, though, if I didn't recognize the name right away, and there was no photo, though there usually was, I'd write it down and make a mental note to compare it to the house photo next time I was over there.
I really loved that house, too! It was just as great inside as on the ouside.
Trust me when I tell you, it wasn't luck that it was chosen by the producers of Breaking Away ( see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078902/ and http://www.bloomingpedia.org/wiki/Breaking_Away ) to serve as the sorority house used in the famous faux Romeo & Juliet scene, when Dave serenades Katherine, was no accident.
It's absolutely gorgeous!
While two Miss Indianas from one sorority in such a short period of time might not be quite as impressive a feat as the number of MLB shortstops that have come out of the town of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, "The Cradle of Shortstops," that's still pretty impressive.
(See Baseball Posse for some interesting background on baseball's hold on Dominican life. http://baseballposse.us/ )Having somebody you actually knew in the national competition or a close friend who had a friend in it, gives you some sort of rooting interest, at least, and always made it easier to watch and overlook the often blah look of the telecast, other than the perennial questions.
Perennial questions? Why yes!
Would Miss Rhode Island be the palest competitor, yet again?
Would Miss New York continue to be represented by some small upstate town or a college town instead of someone from NYC?
Which college would have the most number of contestants, if not UCLA, some community college in Dallas or Missouri?
Who would go onto prominence first as a nationally known, ahem, "news" reporter or sports (sideline) reporter, Miss California or Miss Texas?
The current contestant from Florida, Kylie Jean Williams, is a 24-year old FSU grad from Jasper, east of I-75 up near the Georgia border.
The last pageant of any sort that I ever watched more than ten minutes of was the Miss Teen USA in 1999, where within ten seconds of ever seeing Miss Tennessee, Rachel Boston, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1036340/bio I knew that she had "it," that undefinable star quality that you know when you see it.
I even said it to a friend who had literally shown up a few minutes before.
My friend's exact quote in response to my eureka moment: "Whatever."
Rachel, one of my all-time favorite names, was absolutely awesome in one of my favorite cancelled TV shows of the past 10-15 years, American Dreams, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319930/ playing a wonderfully-written character who was about as realistic as you ever see on TV. I never ever missed that show.
The show's possible cancellation almost got me to the point of signing one of those crazy online petitions I always dismiss with derision whenever I hear about them.
Now I now better.
Rachel just knocked me out in my favorite episode ever -in 2005- of The Closer, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0542955/ a terrific ensemble show I've watched since episode one, and which only gets better and better each season.
No matter how many times I've seen an episode, if there's one on TV at the time, that's what I watch.
Henceforth, anything Rachel Boston is in, I'm watching.Consider for a moment this thoughtful answer to a question posed to her in 1999: http://www.geocities.com/ehhhh_mon/Tennesse99.htm
Describe how you envision yourself in five years.
An honors graduate from Columbia University with a theater background from Julliard, with at least on Broadway play under my belt. I will probably living in a tiny apartment without air conditioning, pursuing my performing arts dream in New York City. By continuing my public speaking, I will be know as the actress who is determined to use talents for the benefit of worthy causes.
The hypothesis is thus proven!: http://alumnae.gps.edu/?page=boston
Apropos of pageants in general, I'll have a post in the future on a most remarkable woman I once knew and spent a fair amount of time with at IU, who not only was a very successful
pageant contestant, but who's continued to do some really amazing things in her community of St. Louis. It's quite a story.