Flossie Pearl Davis was born on a chilly St. Patrick’s Day, in 1960. From that day forward, she would be known as “The Little Pearl.”
She was a late in life child for Leona and Norman Davis. They had prayed for a child since they married in 1938, and she immediately became the light of their lives.
Her name was a throwback to the past, but everyone knew that she was far ahead of her time. She was by no means as polished as her name would suggest, nor would she likely ever be, but what she lacked in shine was replaced with an abundance of pluck.
From the time she first learned to walk, The Little Pearl was a performer. A pillowcase pinned to the shoulders of her shirt, served as a cape worn by a common superhero, or a queen’s crimson velvet mantle. While pretending to be royalty, a paper cigar band imitated a ring, which she would command her subjects to kiss.
Each performance garnered praise from Leona and Norman, who never failed to tell Little Pearl how very special she was. When they asked what she was going to be when she grew up, she would smile and say, “One day, I’m going to be famous.” When they asked what she was going to be famous for, she said, “I don’t know. I just know that one day, I’m going to be famous.”
In school, Little Pearl impressed the teachers with her steadfast desire to be noticed. If plays or talent shows were on the horizon, she was the first to volunteer her skill-sets.
She didn’t know how to dance, but that didn’t stop her from getting on stage, and tripping the light fantastic with every ounce of talent she didn’t have.
Caterwauling might best describe her singing, and even though it fostered a few snickers from other children, the audience gave her thundering applause.
When Pearl told her parents that she wanted to learn to play the piano, they sent her to the uptown studio for lessons. She had it in mind to perform a recital at the next talent show, even though it was less than a month away.
The night of the show, she walked up to the stage, bowed, and then and sat down in front of the grand piano. The number of missed notes far outweighed the correct ones, and despite completely massacring a song, her efforts were praised.
Norman and Leona beamed with pride as they watched. They were never going to see defeat in her eyes, and she was never going to see disappointment in theirs.
In high school, the teacher gave the class an assignment. “You will perform your favorite part of a famous play. It doesn’t matter which play you choose, as long as it’s famous.” That word resonated with Pearl. More than once, the teacher had heard her say, “One day, I’m going to be famous.”
Little Pearl knew right away which play she was going to perform, and couldn’t wait for her turn to stand in front of the class to give her rendition of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
No one had ever butchered Shakespeare quite like Little Pearl. Her soliloquy of “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” got off to a good start with those first five words, but what followed left the teacher wondering if she had read the right play. Still, her enthusiasm and audacious performance captured the teacher’ heart. “Not everyone can memorize that well,” she thought.
A year later, Pearl came home and Leona notice that she seemed to have lost a bit of her spark. “What’s wrong, child?” she asked.
Pearl looked at her and said, “I don’t look like the other girls.”
To be continued_____________