As you can see, I was holding a "script." At first I thought it would be enough to make a list of topics and use them as guidelines as I spoke, but then I was informed that they expected my performance to be of a certain time. Eeks! I had never really timed a talk before. Even as a teacher I'd just keep on going until the bell rang.
So, I sat down, right here at the trusty computer and began to write. Or more accurately, since I wanted to "entertain" and not give an "oral history" lecture, Baile Rochel took over the keyboard. I read it outloud, trying to guess how long and when the laughs would come, to see how long it took. That first draft of my very early years in Israel seemed long enough, time-wise, so I didn't continue the saga.
I edited it a few times on the computer and then got it printed. And then I highlighted it and as you can see in the photo below.
Then every time I read it more little tweaks and edits were made. The final performance was a version of what I had written. There's no way I could have memorized a ten plus minute speech.
A friend in the audience had told me to signal her every time I wanted laughter. I opened with an original joke, which got some laughs, thank Gd. I had forgotten to signal her, since I had been so nervous. When I realized that people were laughing spontaneously, I was so relieved. No secret signals were necessary!
I'll end with that joke, which I hadn't written down:
"I should have arranged to have a wheelchair waiting at home for me, considering all of the 'break a leg' blessings I had received."