I have been extremely fortunate in all the many years I have lived in San Diego to meet and become great friends with so many interesting, creative and fun people. It is that old saying: Friendships make the world go round. I do not really know why, but it seems to me that I always see the uniqueness in these fascinating individuals, which draws me into wanting to know them even more. They stand out boldly and they make you feel included. My world consists of so many people from straight to Gay, to every nationality I can think of, religious beliefs and different cultures, from the young to the old and everyone in between — learning from each other to discovering new worlds and ideas by being kind and compassionate to each other. One such person I know who fits this description is my dear friend Marsha Starr.
Marsha was born in San Diego after her parents moved here from Chicago, Illinois. The cool thing about her Dad was he played for the San Diego Padres. After years of playing baseball here, her parents decided to stay and make San Diego their home. They did not miss the cold Chicago weather. Back in her early years living here, San Diego still had a minimal population, not a lot of traffic or any semblance of a big city. Growing up here was magical and fun, full of excitement for this adventurous young lady. When it became time to go to college, Marsha decided to attend Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri and then off to the University of Arizona. One summer, after coming home to visit from college to spend time with her family, she met her soon-to-be husband. After school, Marsha came home, got married and started a family. With three children, two boys and a girl, her life changed drastically because the marriage did not last. Forging a new life for herself, Marsha jumped into business as a wedding coordinator and a retailer of wedding-related merchandise. Having so much fun with this new adventure she had taken on, Marsha decided to write a book; she actually wrote seven of them all on mystery shopping guides to local wedding services. The extraordinary success of her books earned her the attention of local television and radio stations that wanted interviews with her. Marsha was featured as one of San Diego’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
After 15 years of creating beautiful and memorable weddings for so many couple, Marsha — on a whim and just for fun — decided to take a course in stage hypnosis. From there, a career was born. The request for shows just started rolling in and she became busy performing and entertaining people of all walks of life and ages. Marsha got so good that she was very in-demand, even asked to take her show on the road to cities all around the country. The biggest highlight in her life was the time she performed on Broadway in New York City. Always the type of person who takes her craft very seriously, she began to take more training to better her knowledge in the field of hypnotherapy. After the shows, she found that people were coming up to her with a lot of personal issues they needed help with. So, she found herself doing hypnotherapy during the day and stage shows at night. She loved every moment of it. Marsha told me, “By the way, Big Mike, it is greatly fulfilling to help people overcome their personal challenges and it is a delight to have an evening of fun and laughter with people who are up for a great time!” With the coronavirus pandemic interrupting our daily routines, Marsha is unable to perform her hypnotist comedy shows at this time. Currently she has an online counseling business, doing therapy by Zoom.
I met Marsha at the LGBTQ Center in Hillcrest while our wonderful mutual friend Reverend Jerry Troyer was showcasing and hosting a signing for his book “Coming Out to Ourselves.” Marsha was there taking care of the refreshments while I was taking photos. We hit it off that very evening.
You would think with Marsha’s busy schedule, that she would be exhausted but no, she still finds time to bake. I have had the pleasure of eating several of her delicious sweets over the years, what a treat. Marsha loves children and with her baking skills, she volunteers for an organization called Cake4Kids, a provider of birthday cakes for children experiencing homelessness or in the foster system, who otherwise would not get any cake or be recognized on their birthday. In addition, Marsha just bought a sewing machine. As she puts it, “It is a computerized piece of magic.” This piece of magic has allowed her the opportunity to create more than 500 masks, which she has given away to help people protect themselves and others from COVID-19. Marsha has been a part of the La Mesa Rotary Club, whose mission is to make the world a better place for the less fortunate, both locally as well as internationally. She is very hands-on with many of the projects and has held many positions over the years. One of her favorite projects is helping an orphanage in Baja. Even in our early days knowing each other, she would do shows to raise money for the LGBTQ+ community. Marsha helps the Imperial Court de San Diego every year since I have known her with toys at Christmas, baskets at Easter, food for the Scott Carlson & Dan Ferbal Thanksgiving Dinner (that feeds over 600 people), just to name a few — the list goes on and on. I personally think Marsha is an angel with all she does while giving from her heart. People who receive her generosity may never meet her or her, but she has always been there and will always be that angel who makes a positive and loving difference in the world.
The last several years, Marsha and I have kindly been invited to Reverend Troyer’s home for Thanksgiving dinner. The food is always out of this world — Marsha always brings something extra as well, but the thing I most love is the desserts she brings. We always have so much fun and we laugh a lot and always remember our sweet friend and Jerry’s husband, Jerry Collins, who he lost to cancer a couple of years ago. Always giving thanks for our incredible experiences and adventures on our journey together in life.
I asked Marsha to give me a quote to share with those of you who are reading this, and here is what she said: “The one that moves me the most is from Saint Francis of Assisi: ‘Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. And where there is sadness, joy.’”
If I am under Marsha’s spell because she hypnotizes me then I am in good hands. Thank you, Marsha, for being a person who has and continues to change the world for the better.
If you would like to contact Marsha: www.marshastarr.com or email@example.com