Friday, April 21, 2017

Spring Is Here

When I lived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, I lived in this adorable dutch colonial house in a neighborhood called Ardmore across from a city park.  In the Spring, the park was ablaze with color when the Forsythia shrubs that surrounded the small park bloomed.  I would run over and cut armfuls of the shrub and have vases of them all over the house.  It was like this enormous announcement that Spring was finally here. Forsythia, azalea, quince, rose of sharon, red bud, tulip magnolia, camellia and magnolias blooming everywhere.  When I moved into my apartment in Greenwich Village in New York after leaving North Carolina where I had lived for 11 years - I missed the spring so much and access to all of the abundance of flowering shrubs and trees at your fingertips - I ran out and bought a huge vase of Forsythia because I missed it so much.  When we built the house upstate, I wanted to make sure that we would have plenty of the shrub and planted 40 bushes on the east side of the house running the length of the house.  It could go wild there and that is what I wanted.  40 bushes is a lot but it has taken forever to grow.  Unlike North Carolina where it grows like Kudzu, it has really taken it's time.  The worst part is that we are never here when it finally blooms.  We either are in the city or traveling for work or have some reason not to be here.  However, finally, I am here at the house and it bloomed this week.  Armfuls of it.  I filled my first vase and put it in the living room.  It's a good sign that maybe this will be a good summer. Regardless, it brings back memories of so many happy springs in other places and so glad spring is finally here.

A Memory

I was cleaning out a box and found these old crocheted doilies of my Mother's from the 60's that were made by our housekeeper, Alice, in the Philippines in the 60's. It just brought back so many memories of us living overseas. In the heat of the day, my brother and I would sit with Alice under exotic fruit trees in our back yard and I would watch her crochet endlessly for our family and for herself. She did beautiful work and she made table covers and window draperies for our home - I thought all of it was gone. She loved yellow and there is a pic of a dining table cover made in her favorite color where I sit listening to Tennessee Ernie Ford 45 records endlessly driving my parents crazy. I loved the sound of his deep booming voice. Parties in our front yard that my Mom threw under coconut trees and banana palms. Kalesa rides up our street driven by the man who was our gardener. Pig roasting parties thrown by the Officer's club. Trips to the China Sea with my family and our friends the Cassidays for beach weekends. My mother's terrible fear of snakes hiding everywhere. The special language my brother and I created and spoke to each other. I love when objects trigger memories.

With April comes Spring and Sadness

April is always a difficult month for me.  It's the anniversary of my Dad's death in 2013 and also the anniversary of my brother's death in 2005.  I think of the both of them every day of my life.  With my Mom's illness, I feel I am losing my entire family.  No one prepares you for that kind of loss.  It is inevitable to lose your parents.  However,  I looked forward to years with my brother - we were very close and his sense of humor is what I remember most.  I miss our laughter together. I think of him always smiling and laughing and always a prankster.  Being the oldest son, I looked forward to us growing old together with so many great memories to share.  With my mother's illness, it has become increasingly difficult to speak of memories of our life together.  With no vehicle for that remembrance and celebrating of life - those memories will die as well.  I document everything in my journals these days so that I can share these memories with myself or with my nieces when they are ready.  The memories sit there dusty and clouded waiting for their stories to be told.  If they ever will be re-told.

Mom and Lake George

I found these pics of my Mom from the 1950s when she used to go upstate and visit my Aunt in Lake George.  Her older sister married and moved to Lake George and my mother spent so much time up there visiting her and her family.  She grew up in Mamaroneck right on the sound.  My Grandfather's house was right down the street from the harbor.  She lived in Harbor Island Park. I cannot fathom my mother on a lake or in a boat because she has such a fear of water now.   I guess we were all fearless at one time.  I just remember how much of a tomboy she was - how could you not be with 3 sons?  All the summers, that we went camping in Colorado and New Mexico.  All the summers spent at Canyon Lake in Texas - swimming and boating.  Life takes it's toll - losing children, rocky marriages, and a crazy life as a mother and wife with a husband in the Air Force would do it to anyone.  So much traveling and moving around the world and the States and all the drama it created.  I can understand how fear works it's way into your life.  However, this is the way I want to remember her - fearless, joyful and so full of surprise.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Concrete King

My Dad was in the Air Force - so we traveled and moved from house to house while I was growing up. 13 different schools, 3 countries, 4 states. When my Dad finally retired and settled into civilian life - they bought a house in the late 70s and they lived there for 20 years. It is the only house that I can call home even though I didn't live in it very long before I headed off to college.  It was my parent's home.  It is why a home is so important to me. 

We used to call my Dad - the concrete king. He was always landscaping and putting in patios and sidewalks and garden walls. Somewhere in that back yard in a wall is a time capsule that my Dad, brothers and I buried years ago.  Needless to say, he put in his share of concrete in the new house. One day, he gave me this bucket of concrete to do some repairs to our sidewalk in front of our house where there were broken or missing pieces.  I went out in front and fixed the sidewalk and in one of them I signed my initials in the concrete.  Anytime I go visit the old neighborhood, I look to see if my initials are still there. It's nice to think that some things don't change or are more permanent.  The initials are there - along with some debris and the sidewalk needs to be edged and weeded. They are there and somehow that is re-assuring.  It's the same thing in life, sometimes you need to know that the person you were is still there despite the cobwebs and baggage.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Vintage Sprinklers

I get sidetracked very easily.  The latest obsession is vintage water sprinklers.  Can't help it - they are just beautiful.  However, they aren't cheap either.  My search on Ebay and assorted other sights has revealed that this would be a pricey little excursion.  Hmmmm, have to think about this one - it may be a very focused collection.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Flash Dance

Joyful things - I had a conversation with someone the other day who reminded me of how happy I was at one time.   We are both going through some hard times right now.  I just wanted to tell her how grateful I am to her.

Susan Connally, is one of the most influential people in my life.  She had faith in me and recognized my abilities and taught me and encouraged me.  She is thoughtful, generous, patient, caring, smart, and kind.  I just wanted to say thank you.  Thank you for some of the happiest moments learning from you and performing for you.  There were nights that I was just filled with such happiness to be in your studio and going from one class after another and then  to rehearsals and having this un-ending energy and excitement.  I don't think I have found anything that can make me feel that way. I just wanted to write it down and add it to my Joy List.  Thank you, Susan.

This song always reminds me of you.