Ladd Wendelin, KS

Senior Writer

With over 20 years’ experience as a professional writer, Ladd has received recognition for his short stories, play scripts, and news articles. A two-time Kansas Press Association award-winning reporter, when not freelance writing, Ladd teaches high school English in his hometown of Oberlin, Kansas, where he also served as Mayor for four years. No matter what the occasion or audience, Ladd has the uncanny ability to use the right mix of words to bring any story to life, but most importantly – your story!

As a StoryTerrace writer, Ladd interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know him better by reading his autobiographical anecdote below.

Hot Pants

My love affair with the theater began with a silky pair of Victoria’s Secret boxer shorts.

My father was a tall, conservative man who would never deign to put on any kind of sensuous undergarment designed for men, so when I was given the role of Sir Evelyn Oakleigh in Cole Porter’s musical Anything Goes, they quickly found a practical use when I wore them in a scene opposite the female lead, Reno Sweeney, played by an Senior named Julia, in front of an auditorium full of people. I was only a freshmen in high school, in my first onstage role ever and although I was the lowest of the low on the totem pole of seniority, it was not to be the last time the role also required a splash of courage.

I remember the gasps when the lights came up on the scene, even though I also had a white t-shirt on, and I can also recall being teased, particularly by some of the older boys at school about the scene after the show had closed, but it was too late now. Such was the typical Kansas sensibility. All eyes were on me. It was showtime.

“You don’t understand,” said Julia as Reno Sweeney, hovering next to me while I pretended to shave into an aluminum foil mirror on top of a bureau. “I mean you do things to me.”

“Do things to you?” I replied in my affected British accent I’d cobbled together thanks to my deep love for The Beatles’ music.

“I mean you send me.” Her delivery grew breathless, lusty with each line.

“Send you to where?”

“One look at you,” Reno said. “And I get hot pants.”

Hot pants. Can you imagine the effect this scene might have on someone with a more fragile constitution? Luckily, I was a total ham, ready to sacrifice myself on the theater altar for the thrill of a few cheap laughs.

“”Hot pants” means you’re crazy about me?” My accent, which began with the distinguished lilt of Paul McCartney soon rose to the timbre of a mischievous John Lennon.

It was an experience that taught me the importance of having courage, even blind fearlessness, in those moments for the sake of art. Over the course of my high school years, I earned a reputation for being the only guy who had to kiss a girl onstage, and coincidentally it was always with the same girl.

This kind of fortitude, in the face of embarrassment, came naturally as long as I could bask in the glow of the stage lights, even in hot pants.

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