My name is Leslie Nuss and I'm a singer-songwriter/artist who lives in Valparaiso, IN. This is my blog, this is my story.
Let's start at the beginning. I was born in Illinois, near Chicago to two people who met in Madison, WI. My father, Neal Nuss, was from a farming community about 45 minutes west of Sioux Falls, SD and my mother, Ethel Long was "Pennsylvania Dutch and born in Hershey, Chocolate Town, USA.
My mother told me that they had met at a dance on the U of Wi/Madison Campus while both were pursing graduate degrees. Apparently, my mom went there looking for a Lebanese guy and ended up meeting my father. When she told me this, I had the feeling she wished she had met up with the Lebanese guy, or at least he must have been very handsome, because she would sort of look up with a faraway look.
In any case, the story isn't 100% clear because they both never finished, and it wasn't until I was well into adulthood that I found out that they had run off to Iowa to get married because my mother was pregnant with twins. I always wondered why there were no wedding pictures to see, but just chalked it up to my parent's eccentricities.
Then, my brother Steve was born but his twin (a boy) was not alive. My parents did tell me that they were told the twin was "5 months" but it wasn't until after my mother died that a college friend of hers told me my mother had been in a car accident when she was 5 months pregnant. Anyway, my father had asked if he could see this dead child but was told it had already been "taken to the lab," which bothered me. No closure.
Years ago The Atlantic published a story about twins in the womb and if one dies, how the other one can experience a life-long grief, which I've thought about. Being in the dark, touching something that pokes you back and then all of a sudden it stops poking. Having my own children really hit these things home for me, as did reading the Holotropic Mind.by Stanislav Grof. A woman I had worked with at Ariat, who designed shoes introduced me to that book. It's all about the "watery wonderful world" and the stages of birth. Primal Screams and all that.
Anyway, then I was born 5 years later. "A Girl!" Very excited on my mom's side since her sister/only sibling didn't have children and my Grandma Long's sister, my Great Aunt Ethel had never married and relished the idea of making girly things. I cannot even imagine my life without my Great Aunt. To me, she was the most beautiful person and I adored her. She was generous and happy to see me, and sent me presents and made me dresses and liked my drawings. Even my Aunt Esther, my mother's sister, said once, "She's your true supporter."
When i lived in New York I used to take the NJ Transit or the bus to my Aunt Esther's and then we'd drive on the Turnpike to see her in "HUD Housing" as they called it. Auntie (pronounced "Annie") would be waiting for us. She was always happy to see us and we'd stay overnight in her little 1 bedroom apartment on the 8th floor.
I loved Hershey, where the streetlights are shaped like Hershey's Kisses, alternating wrapped and unwrapped and the town smelled like Chocolate. Later, when I lived in Chicago, I read about how people there who lived by a Chocolate Factory were trying to sue because of the smell, but to me, a town that smelled of chocolate was heavenly. It really was a Willy Wonka town, with a monorail that went from downtown to Hershey Park, the amusement center. How cool was that? When we were little, we'd visit on vacation and would get to go.
I got to see the shows-which is something I really really loved. Last night, watching the live performance of Jesus Christ Superstar, I remembered how much I loved musicals. For someone who likes to sing, being in a broadway show is a great way to get to sing in front of a live audience and make a living. (I'm always wondering why I didn't choose this or that career.)
The shows in the park were so great. They would put on a short version of a musical--Cabaret?
ok need to stop for now. xo