Dummies entertain Brundidge RotariansPublished 11:00pm Wednesday, April 3, 2013
During the entire year that she was nine years old, Tammy Chavers walked around with a Popsicle stick clinched between her front teeth.
But rather than getting lockjaw, she developed a talent – ventriloquism.
Chavers, laughing, said that she had nothing better to do in Vernon, Alabama than talk to herself.
“I’d walk around with the Popsicle stick between my teeth and talk,” she said. “Doing that and, with the help of a few books on ventriloquism that my mother bought me, I learned to throw my voice.
“By the time I was 10 years old, I was doing ventriloquist shows. So, I’ve been doing shows for about 30 years now.”
For most of those years, Chavers entertained with ventriloquist dummy Timmy.
She and Timmy developed a close ventriloquist-dummy relationship, so close that Timmy, the little woodenhead, seemed like a real live boy.
Chavers and Timmy had a wonderful time working together but, in 2008, she decided it was time to take Timmy off the road. She added Charlie Chavers to her show.
It might be said that Charlie cost Chavers an arm and a leg.
“I got him from California and he’s a Cadillac,” she said.
Charlie is a slick model with extras – eyebrows that raise and eyes that wink.
“He’s rather difficult to work,” Chavers said. “I have to be thinking all the time about getting his eyes, mouth and eyebrows all working together with the dialogue.”
Charlie, also takes on the persona of a real live boy and, with his winking and eyebrow raising, he finds favor with his audiences.
Years ago, when Tammy and Timmy were together, she realized that through ventriloquism, she could share her strong faith and the message of God’s love in a fun ways.
Ventriloquism became her ministry that includes the Christian ministry, the mentally handicapped, senior citizens, children’s events, civic events and non-profit organizations.
Chavers and Charlie continue that ministry and now there’s a new kid on the block, Scooter J.
“I got Scooter J. from California, too, but he was on sale. I got him at a discount” Chavers said, laughing. “He only cost me $250.”
Chavers is a real estate agent in Montgomery and was showing a house to a family with six children.
“I took Scooter J. out of the car to show the children and they all ran,” she said, laughing. “Scooter J. is different and, at first, children are afraid of him but they learn to really like him.”
Getting to know Scooter J. has taken an effort of Chavers’ part.
“You have to build a relationship with these guys, Charlie and Scooter J.,” she said.
But, it’s Chavers’ relationship with her Lord and Savior and the opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ through her friend, the ventriloquist dummies, that are so important in her life.