Stephanie Bass — a 72-year-old divorced grandmother who was diagnosed with ADD as an adult, and worked at jobs like publishing, marketing, credit card redemption, teacher and Trader Joe’s cashier — was well on her way to a new career as a standup comedian (because, why not?) when the pandemic struck.
Comedy clubs were one of COVID’s many casualties. Packing people in a room while other people spoke into a microphone has not been a thing for the past 18 months.
But Stephanie wanted to make people laugh.
Every day, she wrote a message in chalk. She placed the board at the top of her driveway, on Sherwood Drive.
The short road off Compo Hill is not a high traffic area. Yet thanks to social media, Stephanie’s words found an appreciate audience.
One sign read: “If CVS didn’t call me 4 times a day, I’d have no social life.”
Another: “Miss honking at lousy Westport drivers.”
And: “If this is it, sorry I didn’t eat more bacon and ice cream.”
Everyone could relate to “Good News: Moved upstairs to guest room to combat cabin fever. Bad news: My, my iPhone and my charger are never on the same floor.”
As spring gave way to the summer of George Floyd, and then to the presidential election, Stephanie’s chalkboard took on a political edge.
“France called,” she wrote one day. “They want their statue back, and said not to visit.”
She described the days after November 3 — when the result was still in doubt — as “worse than waiting for the results of a pregnancy test.”
Now Stephanie has collected her chalkboard thoughts in a book. “Driveway Showcase: A Comedian’s Year in Lockdown” has just been published.
Like any new author, she’s looking forward to her first book signing. It’s September 26, from noon to 3 p.m. (Books will be available there.)
The location is perfect: Stephanie’s driveway.
Head up Compo Hill, next to Joey’s by the Shore. Take a right on Sherwood Drive. You’ll see it there.
Of course, there will be a sign.
(To order a copy of Driveway Showcase, click here.)