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Excerpted from Last Dance on the Starlight Pier, © 2022 by Sarah Bird, published by St. Martin’s Press on April 12, 2022. The humidity that day was extreme. Shoes turned velvety green with mildew. Towels hung out to dry came in so damp they had to be cranked through the clothes wringer again. Saltines drooped limp as slices of bologna.But nothing and no one was going to wilt me. Not today. I had already been a lot of things in my young life—vaudeville performer, dance instructor, waitress, dishwasher, pants presnot a cathoser, babysitter. And other things I won’t mention. Mostly, I was always what Mamie, my mother, needed me to be to earn money.Today was the first day of the life that I chose.By some…
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