In the great state of Texas there is a tradition. It has been going on far longer than I've been around, that's for sure. It's called The George Washington's Birthday Celebration, and it takes place in my hometown--Laredo. For over 100 years, Laredoans have celebrated ol' George's birth with parties, parades, and a climactic debutante pageant (of which I was a part in 2007). For me though, this year is a little different. My mother, Betty Ann Bunn Moreno, will be portraying Martha Washington in the 2011 debutante ball, and I cannot wait to witness her experience in the months to come.
My mom is a beautiful woman, with the most generous heart I have ever come into contact with. When she laughs it's like watching a little girl laugh. Her nose is adorable, her blonde hair is voluminous, often in a Brigitte Bardot-style up-do, and her eyes glisten with a natural love of life. I am often told she is very much like her mother, who had the same generous heart and abundant love for others. Therefore it is only natural that my mother should continue the legacy of portraying Martha Washington, the way her mother did in 1968. Natural...and wonderful.
I was not able to see my mother the day she was officially elected as the coming year's Martha. I was doing a show here in New York that day. She called me and was crying tears of joy, and a bit of sadness that I couldn't be there. It was hard for me not to cry in response. I was, and still am, so incredibly happy for her. The thing is, no one deserves this like my mother does. I know she's always wanted it, and has postponed running for the position due to the fact that me and my brothers were a part of the pageant at different times, and she couldn't really concentrate on herself. Now that my younger brother is set to attend college in the fall though, there is no better time for her to take on the responsibility and honor that portraying Martha will be. She is so excited. She came to visit me this week to see a play I was in and I've never seen her look more gorgeous. She absolutely radiated joy. All she could talk about were all of the things she had to do, people she had to see, parties she was going to attend. It was so wonderful to see her so happy.
Portraying Martha Washington in the George Washington's Birthday Celebration in Laredo, Texas is a fete, an accomplishment. My mother, elected by her peers, will represent the community. In the coming months she will travel to Washington D.C. for a ceremony I'm still not completely clear on, she will speak at several functions in our home-town, and she will attend parties and luncheons and help organize charities. She will be an important piece of the whole shebang. But, most importantly, she will be herself, and smile, and laugh. She will make us all proud. Betty Ann is an amazing woman. Her love of life, gratitude, and generosity is contagious. This year, from her first honorary luncheon to the day she stands on stage, everyone will be lucky to get a chance to know that.
me being presented in '07