I hope you're okay if I just go back to last Tuesday the 12th and take you quickly through the happenings from then on. Neat? Good.
Last Tuesday Carbo picked me up curbside at what would be an incredibly reasonable hour in comparison to the mornings that would be approaching (reminiscent of Miss America reality show "off-days" bahahaha). We shot off to St Therese of Lisieux in Brooklyn so I could do an RJR presentation. When we pulled up to the school two boys were waiting outside to escort me in. I was automatically sold. This group of students was super attentive, but even cooler, I got a performance of a song they had been preparing to present at a Memorial Day event. Not included in this blog, but in the next, I will complete a slideshow of absurd faces I make while speaking. Whenever someone takes photos of me during my presentations I look like a circus freak. Now I get why my 11th grade AP English teacher told me he was thoroughly entertained while sitting across from me in a classroom setting.
After my gig in Brooklyn I went to LaGuardia and headed off to Atlanta to see Faith. Oh. And the Miss NY dentist sponsor. That was my last blog. If you want to see how that went please see below. Important sidenote regardless if you read the blog below ... I will not be put back into headgear. And for that, I am beyond grateful. PS: Faith and her family are out of control. So much fun to be around. And so is the food.
My flight track record as Miss New York is extremely poor. And Thursday only strengthened this assertion. After a tricky game of "is she going to make it? NO!", "is she going to make it? BARELY!", and "is she going to make it? YES!" about 5x over I did indeed make it back just in time to head off to prison.
Before Miss America I went to Arthur Kill Prison on Staten Island and met with an all male HIV-Support group, as well as a couple of prisoners who were in the alternative lifestyle support group, and just talked. It's certainly right at the top of my all-time favorite gigs. Every year the prison has a Volunteer Recognition Dinner, and this year they asked me to be their keynote speaker. Jim Smith, the ED of Miss Staten Island, who lovingly refers to me as "cuz", is a counselor at the prison. In the middle of the awards presentation I heard a strained "Leigh-Taylor!" with a waving arm and an open door. Jim was calling me over to see someone ... It was one of the HIV prisoners! I trekked through the grass in my heels and through the fence gave him a fist pound and asked how he was. He had been in the hospital, but he said that ended up being convenient because he got to watch me at Miss America. He told me he was so proud and said that he could tell when he first met me that my inner beauty, my heart, was the most attractive thing about me. Wow. That is why I am Miss New York. Those raw moments. I have the tingles just thinking about it! It was special to be able to share that evening with Paul and Linda both.
FF to Sunday and I headed up to Watertown where I stayed with former Miss NY Jessica Lynch Renzi and her whole crew. Including two swoon-worthy little boys; Eugene and Timmy. A-DORABLE. After some dishing I headed off to bed so I could be at my first school on Monday morning at 7:30 am!
I would tell you about all the schools and tv spot but let me just give you some numbers. I went to 7 schools. One tv spot. 36 hours. Insanity. But awesome! Thank you to my host Nancy who took me out and about every day! Taking pictures, showing me around all of Watertown (and Sackets Harbor!! gor-geous), fetching children, and grabbing my cough drops during my final coughing fit!
And thank goodness for beautiful weather on my drive home. Windows down, baller music, and an iced coffee. Perfection.
Finally, today I went to a preschool in Newark to read to a group of students. I had such a blast. The teachers told me to keep my crown in my box until the end of my time there and then we could all take a look at it. So, I told them if they paid close attention to the readings they could look at the surprise in my box. Umm. Bad move. When I got it out they were BUMMED. They thought it was candy. Remember how I was talking about the constant humbling moments? Case and point people.
I mean honestly, could they be any cuter?
Until next time ...