Most of the time, it is quite advantageous to be enrolled in an all-girls’ school when you’re 7-years-old. There was, however, one time during the second grade at St. Mildred’s Lightborne School for Girls when boys were sorely missed: the Christmas Pageant. The second graders were always cast in the leading roles. And, since there were no boys to play the boy roles, girls had to do it. We second graders didn’t get to audition– everything was just decided for us and then announced by the homeroom teacher, Mrs. McBurney. She must have known that had she held proper auditions, she would have had 22 girls auditioning for Mary.
In truth, most of the other roles weren’t dreaded so much. The angel Gabriel was a pretty enviable part because it came with a very attractive costume. This was also true of the wise men. Being a shepherd was less desirable but if you had a good props mistress, you’d be flanked with stuffed sheep that would detract from your costume, which, let’s face it, was pretty much guaranteed to be a ratty bathrobe.
In fact, the only role that was truly dreaded was the role of Joseph. The girl who played Joseph had to wear a fake beard and hold a cane. Nothing was less feminine than Joseph.