The Recording of History

Beautifully and eloquently stated and apropos for the time!!

The Neighborhood

The new nation was anointed One World, and in celebration to the end of the Chaos revolution, only two pledges they would have to make. One was to protect their secrecy, and the other: One World would always have but one faith. – The Religious Right, Book III Free Will

Natural Mystic by Bob Marley

⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕

Troubled Boy by Aliyah Sidqe Troubled Boy by Aliyah Sidqe

The Recording of History
written & edited by Kendall F. Person

History’s Ghost

I have driven across the United States of America – my country – eight times; from Blaine Washington to Providence Rhode Island. From Key West Florida to San Ysidro California. From Austin Texas to St. Paul Minnesota and all points in between. And while I experienced a flurry of emotions as I drove through or spent time in 42 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, including wonder and fatigue, but only once did my…

View original post 1,074 more words

Advertisements

Crash, Bang, Boom

My kids live somewhere where it snows. A lot.  Salt Lake to be specific.

12316412_10206729232281714_2330437030662339416_n
With her son Kash

I realize, I don’t have bragging rights to how my grand kids turn out, at least not directly, but I can still brag.

Becca is one of those people that was in no big hurry to get a driver’s license. In fact the thought of getting behind the wheel terrified her.  But she now had a child, who had to get to school and a job she had to get to.  She was no longer near a bus line she could use to access places she needed to be.  It became a necessary evil.  But, she did it and did well.  I was a little worried, because they live where it snows and is icy at times. I am mortified to drive in those conditions though I did it for years. The first snow of the season was always the worst.  Then in spring when it begins to thaw in the day but it’s still cold at night, you wake up to ice.  She just turned 25 and has only been driving a couple of years.

A couple of weeks ago, she had a fender bender. If I remember correctly, it was her fault. Her accident came with the first snow. The accident wasn’t too bad, but her car still had to be taken in and repaired before she could drive it again.

1915349_10207186697518059_6557104031416718872_n

It just came home from the shop a few days ago.

Then, yesterday morning, WHAM!

Becca lives with her mom, my daughter, in an apartment downstairs. It is almost like a full house, two bedrooms, kitchen, living room and all that. Pretty neat.

Well, my daughter, who’s bedroom sits on the top floor facing out to the street, heard a CRASH and looks out their window to see Becca’s recently restored car on the sidewalk. BANG!

12715619_10207186697838067_4986545512019939202_n

A teen age girl, on her way to school, went somersaulting down this quiet residential street, throwing Becca’s car to the curb. BOOM!

My son in law went out to the street to check on the driver as Andrea went and woke Becca and told her what had happened.

12717315_10207186697918069_6186677728022734995_n

Well, Becca being the sweetheart that she is, responded with “Is anybody hurt?!” Concerned not for her car, but for the driver. When I heard that, I beamed. She didn’t curse and get upset that her car had been hit just two days after getting it back? No, her only concern was for the driver.

As for the girl?   She’s fine. She “says” she was looking at her GPS, which my daughter disbelieves because she’s pretty certain she knows her way to school. Plus, another clue was that her only panicked concern was for her phone, scrambling about, crying “Where’s my phone?!” The only thing important was her phone. Not worried about the now trashed, brand new Audi. Nope. Just the phone.

No apologies for anything, to anyone, nothing. Just “Where is my phone?

When her parent’s came out. They laughed. I wonder if her parent’s are lawyers?

I am grateful.

My Becca is beautiful, both inside and out. And I AM proud.

1511726_10206897010716070_2787930756021310640_n
You took off 12 inches?

Yes, she’s a phone a holic too! But never while driving. In fact, she’s the biggest back seat driver ever. <smile>

 

Oscar’s So White

Wow! Let me think here.

FullSizeRender (1)
My Oscar. Found it, bought it, it’s mine!

When I first got wind of the protests about “Oscar’s So White”, I was annoyed. It really irks me that we must or are expected to always bend our work to accommodate everyone’s ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation to tell a story. That’s bull crap!
We are in danger here. What are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of color or anything else? Quality of work? Because isn’t that what the Oscar’s look at?
I pulled up statistics for those of color who have been nominated and won and compared them to Hispanics. Guess what? If Latinos wanted to scream, they would have a right because the numbers are minuscule by comparison.

There has been only one Oscar Best actor win and that was in 1950! and only four nominations; Three supporting actor wins, and one was the same actor twice, Anthony Quinn!; None, Zip, zero for Best female, and two wins for supporting roles, Rita Moreno in West Side Story and Lupita N’yong o for her role as a black woman for Twelve Years a Slave. That’s EVER.

I also looked up the % of population stats. This is how it measures up. The number of whites make up 77+% of the population, blacks are 13+% and Hispanics 17+%. based on the current US census. Now the number of blacks nominated and who’ve won far surpass the Latino numbers even though there are fewer blacks to Latino. Do blacks attend theaters more?

I really don’t know.  When I go to the movies, I seldom see blacks. Actually I see more blacks at the movies here in California than I ever did living in Alabama and there are fewer in number here. So, I’m inclined to wonder. The biggest turn out I ever saw was in Tennessee (I just happened to be there visiting) and it was for a Madea film. Everyday it was packed. So, it depends on where you live, what’s showing(obviously), and how many blacks there are in the area. Based on blacks being 13% of the population, it still doesn’t measure up to the claim I read that more blacks go to the movies. (I looked it up- but I wonder how that’s even measured- is there a button they push when you buy a ticket?)

Tickets Sold by Ethnicity, 2011

Ethnicity TICKETS SOLD PERCENT OF POPULATION
White 58% 65%
Hispanic 22% 16%
Black 11% 12%
Other 9% 7%

Tickets Sold by Ethnicity, 2010

Ethnicity TICKETS SOLD PERCENT OF POPULATION
White 56% 66%
Hispanic 26% 16%
Black 11% 12%
Other 7% 6%

As for the statistics for who makes up the CEO’s of Hollywood, I wonder how accurate those are.  Is there one for Jews? or, are they under “white”?
In which case, those “white” numbers could be skewed in other ways as well, because there are many Latino’s and people of other races who do not look anything but white, or list themselves as anything but white, so how would you really know?

How many actors are mixed?  Many. Halle Berry is half white but is listed as black.

I remember a young person, whose chart I worked up at the health clinic, who I asked for his/her ethnicity. I was not permitted to make that judgement, so I had to ask, but by appearances I thought black. They stated white.
Now take talent. If there were any Black or Latino actors similar to Meryl Streep, who is undeniably one of the most versatile actors out there and if this person was getting the parts she gets, and was still being snubbed, then everyone would have something to complain about. I’ve seen very few ethnic actors that even come close to her caliber, and/or if they’re out there, they aren’t getting the parts.  Is there someone out there that could shine, if given the chance? Probably.

I’ve noticed too, that black or ethnic men have not, in general, had as hard a time as the women, but that’s typical for women period. Which is another Hollywood slight getting attention.
Then I got to thinking about some of the big named black writer/ director/producers who have jumped on the bandwagon of “OSW”, like Spike Lee and Tyler Perry (?). Why aren’t they looking for good quality material for the black population? Most of the films I’ve seen by these creatives are designed or so it seems to widen the gap of race rather than to bridge the gap.  Their films seemed to validate anger, defiance, disrespect and hatred for anyone other than black.

That goes for all the other ethnic writer/producer/directors. What kind of material are you selecting that can optimize the profile of your ethnic group? What kind of stories are you telling?

WE can’t forget who’s funding these films? Ah! There’s the rub.
WHO ARE THE BACKERS? No one can make what can’t be funded. AND, it can’t be justifiably funded if it isn’t marketable.  Is a big name white star going to get more funding to make a good quality feature? Pro-ba-bly. So many things to consider in this equation. So before everyone points fingers at what’s not black enough or what’s too white. Bottom line is what sells?

There was a woman I worked with who hated movies that raked up past social injustices and refused to watch them. For her, it fomented hatred for the white race and made it impossible for her to focus on progress and getting beyond the past. Everyday, she said, she’d pray that God help her be fair to whites and not resent them for their color (or lack of).  She was an educated woman, trying to move on. But it was a day to day struggle. I wonder how many other blacks feel like she does and would love to be inspired to change the way people think of them or they of others?

I too, would like to see stories told that are significant and motivating. Will this change what I think to write? Well, it already has.

I have a feature I’ve been working on with a Latina lead, no blacks. I sent it to my nephew to read while he was in jail. His cell mate was black. They loved the script and the story, but his cell mate, remarked, “she ain’t got no brother in it! Tell her to make Nate black”. I got back his note and laughed. I hadn’t even thought about it, but I really didn’t have one black person in it. Not a baja5good black or a bad black. I really didn’t think about it. To me they were just people. I never said black or white, but I did indicate Hispanic because some of it would be in Spanish. So, I considered changing my heroine to a black lead, partly because of the hoopla being made, but at the same time, I ask why?  I’m sure there are many other writer’s doing the same thing.  Will it move the story forward? Actually, it probably would be an even better choice than having her be Hispanic. But to do so, it would put her male counterpart into the position of your typical black stereotype, which I really wouldn’t want to do. Come to think of it, I was doing the Tyler Perry thing and making the white guy bad. Hmmm. How do you avoid stereotyping anyone?  I also considered having representation of both and/or all three ethnic groups, perhaps one of each. Like Neapolitan.  I can’t decide. Anyway, I’m still working on it.

Have I ever experienced prejudice, yes. I dated a young, from the up side of town in California and as soon as they met me, they made it clear, he was not to ever see me again. Have I ever had a man come on to me thinking that because of my ethnicity, I was probably “one hot little number”. Yes! So what!  I do know what it feels like, but it doesn’t define who I am or who I will be. Change will be slow, but we’ll get there.

Have you ever noticed that when someone opens their mouth, you either like or dislike them, regardless of their color?  If you like them, all is well and good, but if you don’t, it becomes a horse of a different color if you say anything. Let’s change that.

On a final note. Don’t prejudge. I happen to know there’s a lot of people suffering from “white guilt” out there. These are people who hate the history of the past and the injustices done to people of any race. Go easy on them. They are out there. They want change and I know for many, it seems change has been ever so slow. But think about it, the more we initiate change in ourselves, which is the only thing we have control of, then change will come.

If you learn nothing else. Take people one at a time and individually and love your neighbor as yourself. I think hippies had the right idea, way back when, when they said, “Make love, not war”.

 

 

 

Why?

(Just so you know, when I blogged this the spacing went crazy-not me)

The most frequently unanswered question is “Why?” Why do you think that is?  Is it because no one wants to really consider the answer?

I believe it a product of the superficial world we live in. No one wants to take the time to teach or figure out the why.  Yet, as I read the propounding of so many of my fellow bloggers, isn’t that the point of their self expression?

As I consider my own meanderings, I have to say most of it has to do with trying to understand why.  Why do people do the things they do?  Why do they delight in hurting one another?  In hurting the innocent? Do they even know why?  Sadly many don’t. People in general don’t even take themselves serious enough to analyze motive.

Yet, how are we with our children or grandchildren?  It’s okay to say “I don’t know…”, but how much better to follow it with, “but let’s find out.” Just think about it, it means taking “time”, that many people are too busy to do.

My muse today came from my daughter Andy.  I think I need to get her into blogging, but I decided to add my own “Why’s” because even after all these years I still recall how when I asked “Why”, my father responded with, “Children should be seen and not heard”. Sad.

 

I’m stealing the following from my youngest daughter’s Facebook page: Andrea in cockpit

“When I was a kid they taught math in stages. The teacher says there is a rule and to just do it. They promised that you’ll understand it later. And then there’s that one kid who, me, who insists on knowing why.

No matter how much my teachers swore I didn’t need the WHY, they were wrong. I did.

I changed majors in college to avoid further math because I could not find a professor willing to explain to me WHY.

That semester I found that one teacher. I told him I had changed my major over math issues.

He hung his head low and said, “I wish I could have had you when you first got here.”

I asked him, “Why?”

He said, “Because it matters. The WHY matters. And too many people stop asking. And too many teachers stop teaching. And too many WHY’s go unanswered.”

I understand why teachers taught that way. It’s the same in many things we learn. Baby steps. It’ll all come together.

But some of us, not many, have the ability to see the whole picture and choose to work the puzzle one piece at a time anyway.

Knowing the details doesn’t mean you have to get stuck in them.”

It was interesting to me that her teacher would fail abominably and not answer her question.
I was more fortunate than she, because I remember a girl in my math class saying, she didn’t understand why she needed it and I will never forget his answer.
He said, the world is a composed of math. Everything is a result of some equation. Our bodies are a composition of matter which varies from person to person based on their size and weight.
1/Db = w/Dw + f/Df + p/Dp + m/Dm 
Db = overall body density, w = proportion of water, f = proportion of fat, p = proportion of protein, m = proportion of mineral, Dw = density of water, Df = densityof fat, Dp = density of protein, Dm = density of mineral

Maybe that was a bit too deep, because she responds with...
"Okay, so?", she says.  "I'm just going to get married and have kids. I don't need math."

I looked around as I observed other girls, nodding in agreement. (That many thought that was all there was to life?) 

He smiled patiently and went on and broke it down even moresimply. "You will need to cook, won't you? and clean?"  
housewife workShe says, "Yes."  

"Well, what if you have a recipe for 6 people but there are only three or maybe four of you? Or better yet, a large group of 15 or 20?" 
She shrugs.  
"You will need to know how to divide and subtract and multiply that recipe to feed them."
He let that sink in.

Then he illustrated other ways math is used in day to day wifely duties and ended with, "Math is used in everything" 

My point is, this teacher took the time to get his student back into the game.
 
I will say this about him. Even though there were things I didn't like about this teacher,(he was always promoting his own political agenda's) I did like the fact that he didn't blow her off and cared enough to take the time needed to explain and answer her "Why." 

Answering the "why" doesn't apply always to answering other people's why.  What about your "why"?  
Are you answering or finding your own?

AADA- Acting’s Finest

A few years ago and I won’t name how many years back, but it’s been awhile, I was privileged to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

This was no ordinary school, I mean it’s attendees were such notables as Anne Bancroft, Robert Redford, Paul Rudd, Anne Hathaway, Kirk Douglas, Jessica Chastain and many, many more. See: https://www.aada.edu/alumni/notable-alumni#decade:all/orderby:all/display:panel

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We are here at AADA

 

I was honored to get accepted.  I’ll never forget the day I saw the ad in the paper looking for people to audition for the school.  I was in Grand Junction, Colorado at the time and the auditions were in Denver.  I applied and submitted my photo and they sent back what they wanted to see for the audition. At the time, I was 49 and I really didn’t think I’d be considered. After all, they  want young, fresh, malleable students, right?

For some reason, I didn’t let that deter me. So, I prepared my song and a monologue.

The monologue was from a stage play called “Judge Lynch”. I was this hillbilly redneck woman whose husband had just lynched a black man for a theft while the real thief was a white man hiding in their woodpile.  Very controversial piece and I put on the southern drawl and nature of the woman as I saw her.

The song I would sing was “Another Hundred People” from the stageplay “Company”.

At the time, I was associated with a group that had formed at a local coffee shop located in an old, downtown warehouse building. They were trying to generate traffic by putting on artsy events.

When I first moved to Grand Junction, it was shortly after a bust. A bust being where the town had vacated due to the oil shale companies closing down and everyone pretty much connected with it moving out or walking away from their homes. So there was nothing going on there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Singing Class

Those of us who had lived in bigger cities were hungry for something, anything to put the arts back into our lives.

So, this coffee shop put out a casting call for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and I auditioned.  I got the part of Nurse Ratchet and was so excited!  First rehearsal and only two -three people show up. We call the no shows and the next time we got a few more but missing others.  After about the third attempted rehearsal, the play was cancelled. So much for that.

However, we had others showing up who had not made the cut for the play and who kept coming to the Tuesday night meetings and from there we formed an improv group, did poetry readings and such. And through that I met a man name “Bob”.  “Bob” would have been the director of our play, and was no novice to theater and show business. It was he who suggested the song and monologue I would do for my audition.

Now “Bob”, not his real name, was obese. It was quite evident from the start that he was also extremely talented and smart, even if he was a bit brusque at times. Anyone who make a point of letting me know that I was meant for the stage, because as he put it, I didn’t have the boobs for film is brusque. The looks maybe yes, but no boobs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
In Hollywood, actors Work to Live. She was an advance student.

In my opinion, maybe a long time ago that might have been true, but anymore now, no one seems to care. But, I still liked him. I just blew that part off. But that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, I went to his home, which he shared with his mother, to rehearse.  The first time I went,  I look for his mom, he said she was in the kitchen. He then proceeds to lead me down the hall and eventually to his bedroom.

Yes, I said bedroom, but that’s not the interesting part. It was the hallway.

The hallway was predominately filled with pictures of him with stars and performing in all these musicals and stage plays.  This guy had been a genuine Broadway star! It was hard to believe and yet I was fascinated with this man on the wall, compared to the man next to me, who in these pictures was a third if not one fourth the size was now and he was gorgeous. How did this happen?

I couldn’t help myself, I blurted out, “This is you?!”  He says, “Yes” and I say, “Wow!”, as he continues to nonchalantly usher me to his room.(Now you know why I didn’t use his real name) I never asked, “Why?”.

His room was anticlimactic by comparison. It had a small bed and lots of electronic equipment and a keyboard piano, which is where I rehearsed the song with the orchestral background and then recorded the background tape for the audition. This guy had tons of scripts and sheet music piled high everywhere and it made me sad. He may have been brusque, but he knew his stuff and I couldn’t help but admire him. I couldn’t feel sorry because he would never have allowed it and yet… I do wonder where he is now or if he’s even alive.

I still sometimes wonder what it was that happened in his life to bring him to where he was at that juncture. Yet… well, I’ll never know.

For the monologue, I would go up to Aspen to rehearse with another actor, who’d played a bit part in “Forest Gump”, and who it turns out had other things on his mind, so I finished rehearsing on my own from there on out. At least “Bob” was on the up and up.

Never the less, I made the cut and off I went to L.A.  What was nice is I had a choice of locations. New York or London.  I couldn’t really afford to go to either New York nor London, and even though a part of me really wanted to see those places, I chose L.A.

Another reason was because my grandmother had been quite ill and she lived there and I knew I’d have a place to stay with her, plus I’d get extra special time to be with her.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Mimes

It couldn’t have been a better choice.

Every day I’d get home, she’d ask me what I’d learned. She was so proud and protective.

One night I was getting ready to go to a party and she tells me not to take any drinks from anyone, because someone could put something in it. I laughed and asked her how she knew such things and she replied unabashedly, “I watch TV”.  In the meantime, I pooh-poohed it saying, “Abuelita, I am 50 years old, who’s going to want to lace my drink?”

Weeell, I never told her, but she was right. I don’t know how, but I had not even finished half a beer when I felt it.  If it had not been for me spotting a young student, only 14 who was in my class, with a beer in her hand no less, I might have finished that drink. As it was my mommy protective instinct kicked in and I gently imposed myself up on her making sure she didn’t finish the drink in her hand and that she got home safely. After I sobered her up, I called her aunt and uncle to come pick her up. She was a sweetie from England and was really okay with me interfering. However, had I finished my drink, it would have knocked me on my ass.

Ahhhh, “someone” was looking out for the both of us and No, I didn’t tell grandma.

Later, I would borrow some of grandpa’s clothes for my hobo dance and perform it for her. She just loved it! She loved for me to sing for her and never tired of listening even when she heard it over and over again. I think she had as much fun as I.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Me, closeup
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
My hobo dance group

Yes, I made the right choice. We got to have some special times together and I even got to take her to get her US citizenship, which she was so proud of finally attaining. She died a couple of months after I left.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Grandma “Abuelita” becoming a US Citizen, what a proud day for both of us!

Looking Mahvelous!

I was just cruising the web and saw an ETonline reel that shows Kate Hudson “flaunting” her amazing abs in a two piece.

Am I jealous? Damn straight! She does look amazing but for Pete’s sake, she’s only frickin’ 35!  I would hope so.  Now if she had her mom Goldie’s body standing next to her with the two of them in great form, now that would be impressive.Golden Globes: Kate Hudson flaunts washboard abs and cleavage in cut ...

Granted not every young woman can look that hot, but that’s part of her job.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the girl!  She’s not only beautiful but sweet as well.

When I lived in Grand Junction, Colorado, I would go up to Aspen from time to time and on occasion visit Snowmass which is where the family had another home. At the time, many years ago, my friend’s daughter managed the gift shop there and the consensus by all the employees was that these kids were great, well behaved and well mannered, a rare complement for show biz kids that generally had a tendency to be spoiled and a bit entitled. That was not the reputation of these kids.   That says a lot for Goldie and Kurt.  My husband says I have a crush on the pair and maybe so. When I hear kids are well behaved I can’t help but praise the parent, having been a parent and knowing how difficult a task it is to “raise them right”.

It also wasn’t uncommon too for the family to be in Grand Junction either, Kurt liked to hunt and would come in for hunting supplies at the sporting goods store I worked at.  I also believe with every bone in my body that at one of our street fair events and before she became famous, young Kate joined me and my mother in law for a group dance at a Cinco de Mayo street event. (My mother in law is awesome fun and with her, kids generally gravitated to us) The only reason I suspected it was her, was because she looked like a young Goldie. That was a very long time ago now, but I thought her sweet and effervescent.

One of the things I want to reiterate is this is NOT a Kate slam, at least it’s not meant to be.  It’s just a comment of the hoopla the media has made over her amazing abs.  Well, at age 35 and up to age 50+ Goldie had amazing abs. However, like me, now that she’s older than dirt (and she and I are the same age, so I can say that), maintaining them has not been easy.

This pic was taken in 2000. Age 54- 55 ->

I have learned that after 50, it became a major struggle to maintain the middle part of my body, period, but alas, I’m not alone. I’ve noticed that Goldie, Sigourney, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, Meryl among others are in the same boat.

Thank goodness!

Please understand, they are NOT fat. Theirs is just not the hourglass figures they once were.  Oh well, as if that was the end of the world.  They do what they can and well, it’s just a part of life. Judging by the pictures I’ve seen, they still look fit and I applaud them for aging gracefully and confidently, while dressing optimally and still looking amazingly beautiful.

And I will say this, if they haven’t been under the knife, kudos to them because that fake, tight smile does nothing to enhance their looks and it is my hope Kurt doesn’t ever go the way of Redford and Kenny Rogers among others who have lost their sexiness trying to keep that young look. The last time I saw Kurt he was still looking amazing.

Diane Keaton is another one of those actors that looks every bit as gorgeous now as she did when she was young.  Has she had work done? Last I heard, not.  Diane Keaton 3

So, when the media makes a big deal about a young starlets abs, weeeeell. Take heart.  See her in 20 years. (If we’re all still around)  Sorry Kate.  ;>)

 

 

 

(*I hope these pictures are in public domain since I was able to “copy” I’m guessing yes, if not I’m in deep doodoo.)

Music to Calm the Savage Beast

I was just listening to the musical pieces on a blog called Monday Music Medicine Show, okay, so I’m a day late, but it doesn’t change what I’m about to say.

There’s no denying that music can calm the spirit as well as agitate it. But this blog today is about all the ways it calmed mine.

When my sister and I were caring for mother, who had Alzheimer’s, the emotional merry go round we were frequently on, would at times prove to be too much. There was many a time we wanted to shout! “Stop this merry go round, I have to get off!!” And it was those times when music saved us.

My sister loves her Christian music and I love it all.  But, the CD’s I listened to the most were ones I could sing to. If I could just belt them out, it gave me the most phenomenal release. The more dynamic they were the better. Aria’s are wonderful for that.

Now, mind you, I didn’t listen to country.  No, no, no. Sorry folks, when you’re down and out, you don’t listen to country, that’s all there’s to it. With country music, you lose the house, the car, the dog, you lose it all and the only way to get it back is to play the songs backward. Period.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was fortunate at that time to have had a 45 minute drive to work, not to mention scenic country roads, so it gave me plenty of time to chill before getting to work and reinforce myself before returning home. I had the night shift.  One of my favorite (one of two) discs I played frequently were of  Il Divo.  Yup!  Il Divo.

There would be days I’d cry all the way to work singing at the top of my lungs, The Power of Love, Adagio, Hallelujah, La Promesa, All by Myself, I Believe in You and Amazing Grace. Their songs were in Spanish, Italian, German, French and of course English and I can sing them all.  If I needed extra cheering up, I’d listen to “Mama Mia!”.

When Susan Boyle came on the scene, I had to get her Cd. Listening not only to the words on her CD and knowing her story made it that more inspirational because that was how I felt. That was how we felt at the time. It was her too that inspired me to write again, and for my sister to draw.  I’m sure many other women our age were inspired and revitalized to go for their dream, just from watching her. Can you not see this wallflower, taking care of her mother, all alone, living vicariously through music? I did, because that was my story.

As a child, I lost myself in music all the time.  Interestingly, Daddy was the one who introduced me to music and sounds from all over the world.

I remember the first time I heard Ima Sumac, a Peruvian singer often rumored to be an Inca Princess, and who was famous for her 4.5 octave vocal range. Many attributed it to her having lived in the Andes and having well developed lungs because of the altitude. Neither here nor there. The fact remains though that when I listened to her music and learned her songs, I was lost in the Andes and it was me that was the Inca Princess. It was I who lived with the Jivaro tribes and yes, they were headhunters, but my head was exempt.

Then there was Miyoshi Umeki, an Arthur Godfrey find. A sweet, beautiful Asian girl. Her albums included many American favorites, but also songs from Rogers and Hammerstein musicals such as Flower Drum Song and Sayonnara. It is no wonder that musicals in general became my next love.

I remember always singing. If I was singing, I was entertaining my parents and if I was doing that, they were happy. Singing and music made my life joyous. I remember mom telling me once, that she liked how I was always happy. What can I say? I’m a half full kinda lady.

In times past and even now, I’ve been known to make long cross country trips driving. These started shortly after I lost my airline privileges.  And not always because I wanted to, but when money got tight, it was how it had to be. Nope, nope, nope. Roll that one back. Yes, and No. The truth is I’m too cheap. After having worked for the airlines and only paying tax fees or surcharges which were minimal, you kinda gulp big time to pay what the average person pays to fly from one place to another. Once I lost those privileges, I couldn’t see paying full fare. So, if it’s not an emergency and I have time, I drive.

But driving can be fun and I would use it as an educational experience and what better way to see and get to know this wonderful country of ours? So, after the divorce I started on these adventures with my girls. Bottom line it was fun too.  When it was just me and my two girls we often took trips cross country and on those trips, time went by far more quickly singing. To date, the only states I’ve not been to by car are, Alaska, Oregon, North and South Dakota, Michigan and the upper northeastern states of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.  I just have to see Vermont. So, I still have to get to 10 of the remaining states. Hmmmm

When I’m by myself, in a car, I listen to books on tape and sing. It was always my thought too that singing was a safeguard against falling asleep at the wheel.  I mean, how can you be singing and fall asleep? Well, you can. I’m proof of it.

One time a few years ago, my son’s newborn ended up in ICU.  It was his first child and only a couple of days old. I knew how much that child meant to those kids way before he arrived and it broke my heart that something could be wrong. When I heard, I just packed up a few things and left straight from work. When I was young, it was no problem driving for long hours without sleep. But, I’m not young anymore and I was already tired from a long day at work and having gotten up at six and now it’s a 12 hour drive ahead… you get the picture. I couldn’t fly into this little bodunk Texas town any quicker, not to mention the cost was horrendous and even more so last minute. I had no choice. I figured I could get there by about 6 in the morning.

At the time, I was rehearsing for our church’s Easter program and we had to have all these songs memorized. Perfect. Great opportunity. Easy -peazy. I would sing my way to Lubbock.  Not so.

At about 8 pm it started raining. Not always hard, but constant. By one a.m., I’m almost through Mississippi. Then it happened.

In the middle of “Welcome the King” I started to lose control.  I had just serviced my car and thought, oh no, they didn’t put something back together right. Something is wrong with the car, so I slowed down, listening and hearing nothing. After awhile I kept going but also thinking I’d get off at the next exit. I was sure there’d be a dealer in town that could check it in the morning. Plus, I knew I was tired but no way thought that was what was going on. So, I kept singing to stay awake.  The next thing I knew I was swerving all over the road. I panicked and the next thing I knew I was out of control. It was all I could do to keep the car upright, but I spun out and at one point on two wheels finally ending up in the far side of the highway median. Only I really didn’t know where I’d landed.  By now I was wide awake and there was a big semi truck heading straight for me.

Because my car had been completely covered in mud and grass from the heavily saturated divide, I couldn’t see a thing. Even though I only vaguely saw it’s lights, I knew he couldn’t stop safely in time or swerve away from me without causing greater havoc, so I awaited my fate.  There was just the haze of oncoming lights headed straight for me, so when he passed, I thought he must have changed lanes.  Right after that another semi came and I knew this would be the one, but he too went by. So, I tentatively opened the door and found I was on a curve in the road. My car was facing the curve just right to give the illusion I was in their path. What a relief!

Did my life pass before me? No. For a split second I felt sorry for the trucker and hoped he’d be okay and that no one else would get hurt. The only other thought I had was, “This is it”.  I was surprised later at how accepting I was about dying and I knew if he had hit me, I would for sure have died.  Thoughts that came after were different.

It wasn’t until later, quickly later that the full ramification of that night, had it gone differently hit me. I cried thinking of my poor son at his son’s side in ICU, losing his mom. He would have been devastated, making it the worst day of his life. But, gratefully, God had other plans. His son is now a healthy, beautiful 3 year old and I got to be there to help them get through a rough time and later hold him. Two years later we would welcome his little sister and I would get to love on them both.

Could I be right enough with God, that I was okay with meeting him already? Yes, I did wonder that. Or, was it the theme of our program and the songs I’d been singing that put me in such an accepting state?  I don’t know.

These days my life is relatively quiet.  I don’t generally listen to anything when I’m creating.  Part of it is, it might take away from the mood I have started out on.  For example, if my heroin’s child has been kidnapped and she has to go deep into cartel country, what puts you in the mood for that?  If a child is being attacked by zombies, where do I get that tune ?  The only one that could be set to music perhaps is, when my heroins husband disappears in “The Andes”, well then I just turn on Ima Sumac or there’s “The Chocolate Marble Gooey Butter Caramel Cake” Not much could squelch the mood for that one. So, no it’s pretty quiet right now. When I get back on those last two, it will be different.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mississippi State Police

BTW: The Mississippi police and Sheriff were amazing.  They stayed with me til I got towed out and didn’t give me a ticket. They just chatted with me, made sure my car could run, told me where the nearest car wash was and where to find the nearest hotel. Last of all, they wished me well and hoped little Hunter would be okay.