BLENHEIM PALACE, 1 NOVEMBER 1997

My Waifs and Me
Left to right:  Our wonderful 15-year-old understudy, Debbie Maguire, had to learn all the waif's routines. Even in practice, it is not unusual for rhythmic gymnasts to injure themselves, so Debbie was our lovely insurance policy. Next to Debbie is Rose Meredith, who turned 13 just in time to qualify to be in the show. On the otherside of me is 14-year-old Yvonne Hill, I'm next, then 13-year-old Aimee Johnson, and at the very end, 10-year-old Hannah Walker. Hannah recently won the under 10 championship, but was too young to be allowed to work in the show. I decided she'd earned her medal when I learned that in rehearsals, she read my lines for her teammates. I've never met a sweeter group of young ladies, more selfless and supportive, in my life. If I look particularly happy, I am!  I've just given the girls their Grumpuss medallions and I'm beginning to realize that the show is over and I can finally relax and enjoy myself. But there is one thing I notice, especially in this photograph. I'm not kneeling on the floor. I'm standing up, full height, and Debbie, Rosy and Aimee can already look me straight in the eye. So, are they growing them taller in Coventry, or am I shrinking?

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