Priests in the Attic

The Official Blog for Elaine A. Small

My Singing Blues

Learning to Sing

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

–Jalal ud Din Rumi


Elaine in uniform--a "nylon sheath."

My Singing Blues

While working at my first job as an x-ray technician in Edmonton, Alberta, I initiated a childhood dream. The city was hot—too darn hot. There was little air-conditioning in those days and my nurse’s uniform soon clung like an airtight nylon sheath; freshly washed and ready-to-wear each morning, it stopped breathing by noon and by night it had to be peeled off like a wet condom. I was twenty-one years old, homesick and bored. I liked my job well enough, but I didn’t like my current boyfriend much. Most of my friends were getting married. In the late fifties, twenty-one was the expected age for girls to settle down—but not me. I wasn’t ready. I still had things to do. Emotionally and financially free, the time felt right; I was finally in a position to get serious about my long-held fantasy.

Singing with the Jimmy King Trio in Winnipeg
Singing with the Jimmy King Trio in Winnipeg:
Lenny Breau on guitar and Dave Shaw on bass.

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