Felicity, like a boss.

by Sarah Singleton in


Today, upon returning home from an out-of-town visit, I was unusually delighted to find my mail. Among some boring bills and such, shining like a beacon of light, was my favorite catalog of all time. I nearly jumped for joy. The holiday American Girl doll catalogue.

Heartwarming styles made to match. What a beautiful thought! It's nearly Christmas already. 

Sadly, my doll-crazed pre-adolescent years just missed the American Girl doll collection. I did, however, have quite the famous real-life American doll in my life. 

From ages 8 - 18, I worked for the historic Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. I participated in various programs, all the while learning the ins and outs of life as a colonial American girl. One of my favorite programs was at Whetherburns tavern,  where I sat in a room sewing, and spoke one-on-one with visitors. I was a no-named tavern owner's daughter. For the majority of my working hours though, I was Mary Geddy, daughter James Geddy Sr., founder of the Geddy Silversmith Shop.

Throughout the years, I assumed different characters, always saying very little, and minding the manners of my age. I learned the various houses' stories, and the skills befitting a pre-Revolutionary American young lady. I was dutiful and quiet. I could sew. My clothes grew more beautiful and customized as my years advanced. But, it's not like I could cook or anything. 

One very special program was fourth-wall, and took place on Christmas Day. My grandmother Marjorie Virginia Cook, may she rest in peace, walked me across the icy Duke of Gloucester (DOG) Street to "clock in"... fifteen minutes ahead of time, mind you. The parlor room of the Geddy house was candlelit, with a harpsichord spinet anchoring the scene. My supervisor, a William & Mary graduate student, stood at the helm of the project. Her work with the foundation inspired a movie during this time. The filming solidified my stature as a terrible actress and rendered my performance cutting-room floor footage. The final straw was the director furiously throwing his beret on the floor. 

Alright, Sarah. You did what we like to call a seventies eye roll, there. Let's try it again, shall we?

But my eye roll was improvised, which was where he misunderstood me. And what's more, it elicited positive feedback from by boss. Standing in the background of the filming, coaxing me, was my dear Michele. According to mister director, I was supposed to quietly signal to my brother to tend to his lessons and that was IT. No eye roll. As an experienced older sister, however, I knew better, and surely Michelle and I could change his mind. It gave the scene something special! So, I persistently ignored the director’s repeated attempts to censor my acting. His hollywood temper had enough after three takes. Somehow, this scene never made it to the final film. Strange, huh? 

As I flip through the pages of this beautiful catalogue, I am reminded of my first boss ever, Michele. A gentle teacher and kind spirit, with scarlet hair, bright green eyes, and a warm smile. A learned and all-around beautiful person, she was the inspiration, and in fact the epitome of Felicity Merriman

That's me, in my favorite CW dress, maybe around 1991. It is the only gown that was designed just for me. I wore it in a program at the governor's palace, and to a few other places as well.