Role: Homemaker on the farm
Who I’d Cast: Chelsea Kane
Theresa was born in Longmont, Colorado, to Jack and Toula Thompson.
Jack was an inventor who created the gravity-fed kitchen mixer and the inversion desk. Toula was a poet who enjoyed weaving. When Jack was in his late thirties, he managed to sell several of his patents, which allowed him and Toula to buy an alpaca farm in Longmont and concentrate on raising their girls.
Theresa was named after her grandmother on her father’s side, but her mother Toula always called her Starlight.
To Starlight, there was nothing better than growing up on the alpaca farm. She made fairy gardens under trees, bottle-fed the crias (baby alpacas), and spent her days wandering in the sunshine and picking flowers.
Her sister Jacqueline was always off playing basketball with the boys who lived down the road, so Starlight spent a lot of time at home with her parents. She liked to make her own clothes with her mom, which made her a target for bullies at school.
It didn’t help that Starlight had a stutter all the way up until the fifth grade. She was picked on mercilessly, and because of her speech problems, she often chose not to talk, which led some of the teachers to believe that she wasn’t very smart.
When Starlight got involved with music, her stutter went away. She wanted to participate in band and chorus, but she ended up choosing to sing. She had a beautiful voice and was cast in all the school musicals, earning lead roles in The Wizard of Oz, Oklahoma!, and Les Misérables.
Starlight always knew she was gay, but she kept her head down and avoided dating altogether until she left Longmont. She had finally managed to make some friends at school, and she was terrified of how they would react if they learned that she was a lesbian.
Starlight knew her parents couldn’t afford to send her to a fancy school, but she had always nurtured dreams of attending Juilliard. She applied in secret and received an invitation for a live audition, but when her father was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, she quietly let her audition date pass.
Instead, she decided to attend Hunter College in New York for elementary education. Her father’s condition went from bad to worse, and he was dead before she graduated high school.
Heartbroken, Starlight left for New York and didn’t look back. She started a new life and really began to flourish. For the first time in her life, she had the courage to start dating and made lots of interesting new friends. One night she went to see a Belligerent Beavers show and fell head-over-heels in love with the lead singer, Katrina.
After their first date, it was clear that the chemistry between Katrina and Starlight was off the charts. Starlight was student-teaching in the city at the time, but as Katrina was fully immersed in her music career, they went their separate ways.
When Starlight’s mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she returned to Longmont to care for her. Jacqueline had already put her life on hold to care for their ailing father, and Starlight knew she had to be there for her mom.
She lived with her mother for nearly two years, during which time Starlight came to peace with the idea that she could best help people by becoming a teacher rather than a singer. Her own teachers had made her childhood hell, and she thought that if she could help even one kid like her, she would feel satisfied in her choice.
After their mother died, Starlight and Jacqueline had some tough decisions to make. Starlight felt as though the alpaca farm was part of her, but her mother had left them with a pile of medical bills, and they couldn’t afford to keep it. Jacqueline was working as a beat cop in Denver, and Starlight had only been teaching part time while she cared for her mother.
Selling her childhood home was the hardest thing Starlight had ever had to do. She desperately wanted to keep a few of the alpacas, but she had just accepted a full-time position in Boulder, and she would have to move to the city. She gave them all to a family friend, packed up her things, and moved away to begin her new life.
Although Starlight had blossomed in New York, she’d accepted a job at Rainbow Mountain Learning Center in Boulder, Colorado so she could remain close to her sister. It turned out to be the best decision she ever made.
Rainbow Mountain was a progressive elementary school where children and teachers sat on the floor together, used music to learn, and practiced life skills like organic gardening. She would often bring her ukulele into the classroom to teach her students, and they loved her for it.
One day, Katrina was dropping off her preschool-age nephew, and Starlight recognized her as the lead singer she’d fallen in love with several years before. New York had been decimated by floods, and Katrina was now living in Boulder with her brother and his family. The two rekindled their romance, and things became serious very quickly.
That summer, Katrina invited Starlight back to her family farm to meet her father, Walt. Walt instantly adored Starlight, and Starlight felt a pang of homesickness that she hadn’t experienced in years. The farm reminded her so much of her childhood home.
The next fall, food shortages in Colorado grew dire. Families began to move away, forcing Rainbow Mountain to close. By that time, Katrina and Starlight were talking about marriage, and Katrina invited Starlight to move to the family farm.
Starlight was heartbroken to see her school close, but part of her yearned for a simple life in the country. She persuaded Jacqueline to move with her, and the two of them returned to their farm roots.