Have You Ever Seen a Blue Poodle?
Jenny Dweir Has!
Soap Opera News Daytimers Magazine, March 1982
by Seli Grooves
Article Provided By Wanda
A young woman opens the dressing room door at the Ryan's Hope studio. "Hi," she says. "I'm Terry Dweir, Jenny's mother. Come on in."
The room is small, barely enough space for a double make up table and two chairs, but somehow there's no sense of clutter. Terry obviously keeps all those essentials - scripts, magazines, hair brushes, etc.- in neat piles. There's even room for a child's school bag crammed full of books and note pads.
"Hello," Jenny Dweir says, looking up from her Bobbsey Twins book. "I love the Bobbsey Twins stories," she said. "The last one was called The Blue Poodle."
Never saw one.
"Never saw one?"
A blue poodle.
"Oh, there really aren't blue poodles. This one ran into a can of blue paint. I love reading," Jenny explains. "Right now I'm reading a social studies book for school, and it has all sorts of stories about America. Tomorrow, we're having a test on General Washington. He was the general while we were fighting the Revolution. Later he became the President."
A thick script lies at the side of the table.
Asked how old she is, she replies. "Not very old. I just turned six and a half."
Does she read her own lines in the script or does her mother read them for her?
"Oh, I can read them," she says. "Look, I'll show you."
The pert and pretty little girl slips off her chair, reaches across the table, and picks up the material. "See, there's my name 'Ryan Fenelli'" she says. "Now what I do when I get a script is..." she runs her finger down the outside of the packet of papers as she speaks...,"I look for my name first, and then see what act I'm in. I turn to that act....See? Then I start reading my lines. After I read them through a couple of times, mommy works with me by pretending to be the people I'll work with in that act."
Does Jenny like Ryan?
"Oh yes, she's nice."
Would Jenny like to have a friend like Ryan?
"Yes, well, she's like a lot of nice little girls I know. She gets excited about Christmas. And she loves her family."
Although it's an incontrovertible fact that Jenny is part of one of the more successful soap operas on the afternoon dial, and although she is very much aware of the fact that she spends a part of her own little girl's life acting, she isn't at all awed by that fact. There's no talk of someday playing the definitive "Juliet" or "Orphelia."
What would Jenny like to do when she grows up?
"A career person, doing a job. Maybe a nurse." She grins, "I like to help people. You know, the book, Charlotte's Web? Well, it's a sad book in some ways. Especially when Charlotte the spider dies. But it's also a nice book because all through her life Charlotte tries to help somebody whenever she can. It's a nice feeling to help people, like Charlotte must have felt. Anyway, that's what I want to be, a nurse."
But what about the acting? "Oh, that's nice too. I like that."
And if Jenny Dweir could have three wishes granted within the next ten minutes, what would they be?
"Ooooooh. Okay. A big castle with a lot of rooms."
"But that's a lot of cleaning," Terry Dweir suggests.
"Sure. But I'd keep it as neat as I could. That helps. Then I would want a baby. A baby girl. I'd name her Allison, because that's my favorite name. And after that I'd like a nice husband. He's going to be handsome and have black hair and blue eyes...."
Does that describe someone Jenny already knows.
"Uh-huh. Scott. He's 7. I love him, and he loves me."
But does he know that someday he'll be Jenny's husband?
"Oh sure...." The look in the little lady's eyes is familiar to all who have been, or have raised, little girls. It means - he may not know it now, but he will!
Is there an adult woman whom Jenny thinks is absolutely super plus, besides mom, that is?
"Cheryl Tiegs?" The question comes from Terry. "She's very nice, but why Cheryl?"
"Because she's pretty and she has a nice job; and even though I'm sure she's a lot older than she looks, she looks pretty young."
And how old does she think Cheryl is?
"Ummmmmm. Forty. I guess. (Editor's Note: Cheryl is not 40!) I once knew somebody who was 40, but she's in Heaven now."
Again, Terry interjects...."Who was that?"
"Great grandma was in her 80's when she died."
"Sure. But before she got to be in her 80's she was 40." You can't argue with that logic.
The time is moving towards that moment when Jenny Dweir, full-time child, part-time schoolgirl, and occasional actress will have to start reading her lines. "I have to study for that test, too," she reminds her mother.
After we bid goodbye to Jenny, and tell her that we'll keep our fingers crossed for that test she's taking, Terry Dweir walks us to the elevator.
"I know it wasn't the kind of interview you usually do," she says. "But while we think it's wonderful that Jenny enjoys acting - and we wouldn't permit it if she didn't enjoy it. We don't want her to think of herself as anything but a little girl who does what most little girls do - and also acts. Other little girls take piano lessons. Some ballet lessons. For Jenny, acting is what she now finds most appealing. But we would never permit any attempt to turn her into something called a star. She's not a star, and we don't want her to think in those terms."
Terry goes on to point out that the most important thing in any child's life is the time during which she or he can spend being a child. "We won't take one single moment of that away from her."
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