Monday, July 6, 2009

#176 Cyndy Taylor: Miss Lancaster County

If you google Miss Lancaster County, the wonderful Cyndy Taylor's postcard life story is the first hit.

Cyndy Taylor mostly grew up in Lancaster, PA, where her childhood was both wonderful and horrible. Her parents were generally good, smart, and meant well. Cyndy had lots of freedom to run around with her friends. There was enough money to be comfortably middle class. But things went haywire in Cyndy’s later childhood, especially as her father's alcoholism progressed. Once, during a family fight, her father shot a shotgun in the basement and pretended to kill himself. Another time, her father lay down in front of the car to prevent Cyndy and her mother and her brother from leaving him. Her brother screamed at their mother—Drive, drive. After that, her parents separated, and, during that time, Cyndy and her brother would sneak back in the family house late at night after their father passed out; they would take clothes, TVs, all the unopened Christmas presents, and, once, even a recliner. So her best memories from older childhood are of being very active in plays and musicals and spending time immersed in novels. Cyndy was always in the chorus at school. She loved being so good at singing and acting, the magic of transcending her daily life. Another thing that happened in high school: Cyndy’s boyfriend and the guy she was cheating on him with had an affair with each other. So Cyndy left as much of that behind as she could when she went to college—where she was a theater major before switching to social work. In 1980, Cyndy won the title of Miss Lancaster County. She always crushed the talent portion. The period after college was difficult, though, especially when Cyndy had to fix herself, her eating disorders. Being hospitalized didn’t cure her, but it was a catalyst for getting healthy. After she got better, Cyndy was in a singing group that lived on a cruise ship. After that, Cyndy moved to NYC for the musical theater. She loves that time in her life, though she wishes she would have had some kind of large-scale success. She would have liked to see if she really enjoyed it or not. In 1990, she married her first husband, but they divorced in 1994, which was horrible. She felt as if it were her fault, but eventually felt relieved of that guilt once he was happily re-married. During that time, Cyndy started working in college publishing even though she didn't have an English degree (but she was brought up in an editorial environment; her father and brother are both English profs). In 1996, Cyndy married Rick Davis, the drummer in her rock band. He's as different from her as she could imagine, but they have similar core values. For years, they tried to have children, but their girl wasn’t born until Cyndy was in her 40s, and it was a few years after for the boy. They are glad they kept trying. Having their beautiful children is the best thing that ever happened to them. Cyndy is proud to be bringing up her son and daughter to be the cool people that she now feels pretty sure they are going to be.

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