Category Archives: divorce

Tackling Life Through Film

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Life is gritty,  it is messy  and mistakes happen often.  There are no

‘easy’ paths to take nor do you expect things to always fall into place

in the real world. The film, “Boyhood,” which tackles reality of life in

relationships and many dimensions of everyday families has been

well received. You may have heard that Richard Linklater wrote and

directed this original screenplay.  Instead of using different actors to

portray time passing and people aging, he used the unique process of

gathering all the same people together to make this film, year after

year.  It took twelve years to make, “Boyhood.”

 

The beginning of each school year is carefully documented with

the different locations the family has moved to, along with the

ever changing wide variety of characters in each segment.

 

Two children who share the story’s childhood are played by his

daughter, Lorelei Linklater and newcomer, Ellar Coltrane. The

reoccurring character roles for a period of twelve years. You see

Lorelei acting like Britney Spears in her famous song, “I’m Not

That Innocent.” The adults who portray their parents are played

by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette. This endearing movie just

may possibly win the 87th Academy Award’s “Best Picture of

the Year.”

 

Here are some of the themes displayed in this ground-breaking

film:

Love

Marriage

Children

Divorce

Family

Bullying

Finding your passion

Elementary School dynamics

Moving to other homes/schools

High School dynamics

College education

Photography

Empty Nest

Religion

Music

Art

 

Relationships

Connections

Forgiveness

 

When my good friend, Gary, who writes for a living on the staff

of the “Columbus Dispatch” asked me to let him know what I

thought about the movie, “Boyhood,” I may have responded a

little bit late at night. I wrote him a rather long text about my

feelings about the movie. Overall, I told him, along with my

youngest daughter and my brother, Rich, I would give this a

three * * * rating out of four * * * *.

 

There are very interesting aspects to this movie, one is how

the mother really tries to help her children lead a successful

life, while still making poor relationship/marriage choices.

Oh boy. This is actually my story being played on the Big

Screen.

The first husband ends up the ‘best of the lot.’ There are times

you feel he is really ‘on the ball,’ showing he cares by being very

articulate and expressing how much he wants to know his two

children, son and daughter’s thoughts. He engages in a serious

sexual conversation, which did not embarassess me at all. It

was so reminiscent of both my parents it startled me. This is

quite disconcerting, since we are open-minded and say just

about anything, my brothers and both my parents, when my

Dad was alive. My Mom is still a ‘hoot’ because she is about

the most modern woman I know, except possibly Betty White,

who also is above 80 years old. She just turned 90, right?

 

The sad element of the story is mentioned in my one word

use of “Bullying” in the list of different reoccurring themes in

the movie. Poor Mason, never seems ‘to catch a break.’ His Dad

cares about him, but gets preoccupied with his musical career.

Ethan Hawke does an excellent job singing, having also written

some of the songs they all sing in the movie.  He is used as a

scapegoat by his mother’s second husband and is bullied by her

third husband. He manages to get through several of the moves,

jobs and choices by just ‘sliding,’ playing a kind of  ‘slacker.’ But

underneath the surface, Mason is the central character you are

rooting for throughout the movie. He is a deep thinker, an artist,

with a camera, a daydreamer, and he makes it to college, winning

a silver medal and scholarship.

 

Does this encompass too much revealing information? No, I will

reassure you, it is the slow unwinding of the story, as if it were

a book you were reading chapter by chapter. The summary on

the book jacket (or in this film,  the DVD case) doesn’t tell you

the whole story.

 

Will you like it? I hope so.

You will need to set aside time, take breaks and I feel take time

to digest the story. I had to rewind the film since the changes in

his elementary years are NOT designated, “One year later.” You

have to ‘keep up with the film,’ pay attention to how quickly the

girl develops and seems to be a ‘brat’ until she becomes more

confident in her own ability to be independent.

 

Patricia Arquette is amazing. I felt her world. I felt her needs

and her interests. I felt her ‘weight of the world,’ trying the very

best she could to make wise choices, leaving bad, abusive man

behind. Her mother is well portrayed and the woman that her

first husband gets married to is interesting. Her parents also

come into the story line, making a unique impact on the kids’

lives, too.

 

When the movie opens, the boy Mason is lying in a yard with green

grass under him and a brilliant blue sky above him. The song which

starts this out is Coldplay’s song, “Yellow.” It is really perfect and

sets the tone for the movie viewer. The soundtrack includes many

famous musicians.  I would like to entice you by sharing some of

their names here. As mentioned, original music is introduced in the

movie, too. (Ethan Hawke wrote several songs, one the family all sing.)

Lady Gaga sings two songs, “LoveGame” and “Telephone.” Bob Dylan’s

song is. “Beyond the Horizon.” The Black Keys, Gotye, Foo Fighters,

Kings of Leon, the Beatles and Mason’s father’s (Ethan Hawke’s)

interpretation of their split up. I would like to see his own rendition

of the way the Beatles’ solo careers should be put into one album.

 

“Crazy” sung by Gnarls Barkley is a fantastic song. Had not heard

this version before. “Deep Blue,” sung by Arcade Fire band, with Ken

Butler and William Butler being part of the group of musicians and

lyricists who wrote the final song played during the credits was

outstanding.

 

I rewound the final song, with some tears going down my face. It is

a touching story, with all the traits of true storytelling genius. The

way Richard Linklater and his whole crew, team and actors worked

together on this made this an impressive movie. I took note even

the first song being called, “Yellow” and the last song, “Deep Blue,”

seemed like they handled the details perfectly.

 

The 87th Academy Awards Ceremony will be on tonight. Neil

Patrick Harris will be the host. If you watch television, you

have seen the ‘hype’ for many of the films. I have seen almost

all of the ones in the best picture, actor and actress categories.

If you wish to see my reviews or summaries, I have written of

“The Theory of Everything,” “The Imitation Game,” “Selma,”

“Big Hero 6,” “Gone Girl” and “Unbroken.”

 

I shall be watching it, along with the pre-show Red Carpet on,

“E!” channel.

 

Will you be watching?

If so, do you have your any favorites?

 

 

 

 

Wipe the Slate Clean

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Do you remember when you were a child in school? Were you ever this young?

Just kidding!

Have things changed since the days you were in ‘grade school?’

Children, in the old days, would be assigned ‘cleaning the blackboard’ on the

classroom’s job or chores chart. That meant to erase the whole board, followed

by the activity of taking the erasers outside and clapping them together. I used

to like this ‘after school’ job. I would see the dust rising from the erasers being

pounded together and be filled with a sense of accomplishment.

I also enjoyed this chore,  since sometimes the teacher would talk to us, along

with let us choose something from her treats jar or a stash she had in one of

her drawers.

When I taught sixth grade, the first year was 1979-1980. The “Board Cleaner,”

was how I wrote this particular chore on a magnet. Each of the children would

rotate this, with other ones such as “Line Leader,” etc.  I would also have a small

bucket, to have the student fill with water. Using an old towel or ‘rag,’ the child

would wipe the remains of the dust off. It was a nice feeling, for me as a teacher,

to see that ‘clean slate,’ at the start of the next day.

Imagine your bad times, past hurts or difficult periods in your life.

Write them down on a blackboard in your head.

List them, one by one, remembering the pains, trials and sadness.

Take your mental ‘eraser’ and carefully, slowly rub each one of these away.

Rub the eraser up and down, or if you prefer, side to side. Make sure that all

you see, at the end of this mental exercise, is a hazy blur of grayish black.

Now, take a dampened rag and get a small stepladder, or if you are back in

time, a child’s wooden stool. Use the wet rag to clean all the remaining chalk’s

powder and blurred images off. If you need to, turn the cloth inside out.

Finish this process mentally, along with your imaginary blackboard.

You now have a ‘clean slate.’

Picture, if you will, the best times of your life.

Make a list of places, faces and beautiful images.

It is possible, I have done this process, in my head, too.

You can ‘re-invent’ yourself.

You may become a renewed person.

Your positive energy can ‘re-charge’ you and make you whole again.

Believe in unlimited possibilities.

 

Somehow, move into the present.

There are no ‘time limits’ or penalties, in this.

There are no ‘school bells’ going off.

There is no need to do anything but leave the board behind you.

Proceed outside.

Breathe in, breathe out.

You are free of the painful past.

How will the story of your life continue from here on out?

 

I have had friends who have asked me,

“How did you bounce back?”

In my case, I had a sense of purpose, to raise my children and make

their lives as positive and happy, as possible. I could not take any

more time on my own dissatisfaction or depression, I would not

dwell on what choices led me to the places I went. I just knew I had

to start over. I chose a town in Central Ohio, a college town, you know

it as Delaware, Ohio.

My parents were in Cleveland, later in Vermilion and my ex-husband

lived in Cincinnati, later in Dayton.

It was a halfway point, between the two cities, letting me able to make it

in either direction, without too many hours on the road.

I chose this place to ‘start over.’

I knew it was my children’s and my ‘new beginning.’

I knew absolutely not one soul here.

I later found some high school friends who had chosen to live here.

One was my children’s high school Biology teacher, another a swimming

and gymnastics instructor, and another followed me here, after her own

divorce.

If you have caused someone else’s heart to break, let it go.

Try not to cause any more heartbreak, try not to crush or break a

child’s spirit.

Any mistakes you have made, learn from them.

Always think that there are more chances in life.

I believe in multiple chances or opportunities to start over!

Another way to handle strife and tough times is an interesting one,

that editorial cartoonist, Marshall Ramsey gives in an article in the

December, 2013 issue of “Prevention” magazine. M. Ramsey’s

suggestion is to look at your life and remember the “terrible twists”

that happened to you. He personally likes to list his own negative

occurrences and then, see them in a positive light.

Here are some examples found in the article called, “True Grit.”

“The way to get through tough times is to start with advanced gratitude.”

M. Ramsey’s list of Life’s negatives matched with happy outcomes:

1.  His first job after college was as a high school janitor.

The job led him to his future wife, the daughter of a fellow janitor.

2.  The recession forced him into part-time work.

Getting laid off gave him the time to start 2 new careers;  in book

illustration and radio.

3.  Melanoma diagnosis.

His cancer diagnosis helped him to decide to organize a series of

races to raise melanoma awareness.

4.  People who did not believe in him.

All those naysayers were just ‘ill winds beneath his wings.’

Great words to live by, quoted from Marshall Ramsey:

“A good analogy is if you’re canoeing downstream and you hit a rock,

it can either sink you or push you in another direction. If you choose

the other direction, it’s a blessing.”

Advanced gratitude is explained in this article as:

“The ability to identify and appreciate the bad events in your life because

of what you’ve gained from them.”

M. Ramsey gives these steps and you may find more details in the article,

if you wish to look up “Prevention” magazine, 12/13.

This process is a three step one, which includes changing your perspective.

First, establish a gratitude ‘baseline.’

Then, retrain your own brain. Tying thoughts of

stressful events in your life may even change your neural pathways.

Reminding yourself that good things come out of difficult times, may

just pull you through the bad times.

Remember the hard stuff.  What have you gained from sorrow, losses or

sadness?

There were studies listed and other experts in different emotional

areas covered, including Dr. Robert Emmons, Dr. Rick Hanson, and

Dr. Richard Tedeschi.  These authorities have done research and written

books on the subject of “Who am I? What kind of future do I want?

What makes sense to do with my time now that this event has stopped

me in my tracks?”

I have heard someone on television talking in my past about how we can

create our own destiny, change the course of time, and I have come up

with many times, the image of a blackboard with writing on it. Lots of

thoughts cluttered on it, sometimes I have made lists on it, but always

I like the satisfaction of wiping the figurative blackboard clean.

Starting today with a clean slate, just fits my notion of a happy beginning!

The Opposite of Fix is to Break

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As a counterpoint essay on a subject opposite of the “fix” post, I thought that it

would be fun to use the word, “broke” and all of its variations. This will follow the

pattern that I used last time, analysis, wordplay and include a popular song, which

has an unusual use of ‘broke’ within its lyrics. Like last time, I would like you to

help me to determine if this detracts from the friendly, caring tone it is trying to

set. I feel the One Direction’s song, “The Story of My Life,” is quite lively and goes

at such a quick pace, that you may not have noticed the words I heard the other

day.

If you watched, “American Idol,” 2014, you may have caught Alex Preston

singing this song. I am not sure, since they edit the song to fit a timed format,

if it included the phrase that concerns me. I will show the passages before this

and let you know by using *s to indicate the phrase which include the word,

“broke inside.”

“The Story of My Life”

The story of my life,

I take her home

I drive all night to keep her warm

And time is frozen

(the story, the story)

The story of my life,

I give her hope

*I spend her love

until she’s broke inside.”*

I found myself pondering this long and hard. It seems that the author loves

and cares for the woman, but then that just feels like hurtful words to say

in amongst the love messages. It seems rather ‘cold’ instead of depicting

‘warm’ feelings.

What do you think? Let me know…

The words, “break, broke, break-up and broken” all have a variety of

definitions. Most have emotions and feelings attached. I allowed myself

to add “Heartbreak” to this post, while listing positive and negative

meanings.  I had several positive reactions to the “fix” post, so hope

you will like some of the brain-storming that my coworkers did between

the first post and this one.

POSITIVE uses of the variations of “Break, etc.”

We all enjoy ‘breaks!’

From school- Summer Vacation!

From work- Vacation!

During school-

Recess,

Gym,

Music,

Art

and

Lunch.

At work in an office- The Water Cooler.

Almost all jobs have Vending Machines for snacks.

Lunch,

Break-time

and

Daily stretches.

Some of us wished we lived where “Siestas” were a daily afternoon event!

Breaking bad habits (always a positive)

Break from Ordinary Routines = Extraordinary Experiences.

Making a “clean break” is good from a bad relationship.

When two people are having some rough patches, they may wish to “take a break.”

When two people are in a committed relationship and are raising children, they

may wish to have a “break” which is otherwise known as, “Date Night!”

A “break” during a long movie or play is called “Intermission.”

When you are putting all your money into the Pot, in a game, you may say these

words, “I’m going for Broke!”

“Breaking barriers” is a good way to allow communication and relationships

between cultures, countries or other situations to grow and develop.

“Breaking Bad” was a good and entertaining television show.

“Breaking the Ice” is also good, to allow people to have more fun. One game

that was an “ice breaker,” in the old days, while a teenager, was “Spin the

Bottle.” One my parents ‘approved of,’ was “Twister!”

NEGATIVE uses of the word, “Break, etc.”

Being “broke” (when not playing a game of Monopoly) is a bad thing.

Being ’emotionally broke’ may mean you are empty inside or possibly

unemotional.

“The Break Up” was the title of a not so funny movie with Jennifer Anniston

and Vince Vaughn. (Maybe it was just me!)

Melvin mentioned that one of his favorite Clint Eastwood ‘war themed movies,’

was “Heartbreak Ridge.”

Broken hearts are so sad.

Broken engagements may leave one of the two parties involved, happier. One

much sadder.

Broken objects.

Cars broke down or breaking down.

Broken bones do hurt.

(Sticks and stones may break your bones,

And words DO hurt you, too!)

Marriage Break Up’s:

1. Accidental-

Unplanned, fall out of love, curiosity or boredom

may lead to an affair. Lack of interest with partner.

Situational and sometimes out of anger or a rash

reaction.

2. Intentional-

Separation. One or both parties chooses to leave.

Counseling ‘didn’t work.’ Too many problems, wide

disparity in personalities.

3. Emotional-

Grow apart. Reaching a breaking point. Some habits

that are not mutual, possibly addictions. The statistics

for two people, raising a child with disabilities, chances

of divorce goes from the “norm” of 50% up to 75%.

Stress and depression can be part of this ‘break up.’

When you ‘tame a horse,’ you have to ‘break’ them of

their freedom. I put this under negatives, but can see

it going either way. Depends on the perspective, the

horse or the owner.

I loved the way my coworkers helped me to compile a

list of songs with ‘heart break’ as its core. If you wish to

add some more, please do so in the comments section.

1.  “How Do You Mend a Broken Heart?”

This song was released in 1971, by the Bee Gees. Robin

and Barry Gibb mainly are the ones who wrote the lyrics.

2.  “Heartbreak Hotel”

This song was released on January 27, 1956 by Elvis Presley.

3.  “Heartbreak Hotel”

This song, totally different from Elvis’ in its lyrics and melody,

was released in 1998 by Whitney Houston.

4.  “I Can’t Make You Love Me”

Sung by Bonnie Raitt, more recently by Adele. Written in 1991.

4.  “Heartbreaker”

This was an exciting title for many famous songs!

a. Led Zeppelin, in 1969, English rock band.

b. Pat Benatar in 1979, totally different song.

c. Dionne Warwick in 1982, another song.

d. Mariah Carey in 1999, another song.

e. Justin Bieber in 2013, his own song.

Lastly, when googling this subject, I had no idea it would include

such a diverse group of performers singing the one I knew best,

Pat Benatar’s, which also was sung by Jena Irene, on “American

Idol,” 2014. We cannot go too far on this, it would generate a

whole other post!

5.  “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”

a. First title song, one I did not remember was Dionne Warwick’s

singing this in 1976. This was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

The one that I saw performed in Cincinnati at what was then called,

Riverside Stadium was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. It

was with two ‘youngsters’ born in the same year of 1947:

Elton John and Kiki Dee.

6.  “Cecilia”

Sung by Simon and Garfunkel. This song was on their album in 1970.

An ‘oldie but goodie!’

The first line in the song goes like this, “Cecilia, you’re breaking

my heart. You’re breaking my confidence daily….”

(Notice two uses of the word, ‘breaking.’)

The part where the man gets up to use the bathroom and comes

back to bed, to find someone else taking his place; made us all laugh

hysterically, thinking that we had gotten away with listening to this

rather wild, risqué song! (And our parents had all liked S & G!)

7. “Achy Breaky Heart”

First sung in 1991, by the Marcy Brothers. Don Von Tress wrote this

song, that was later made famous by Billy Ray Cyrus, of course!

What song would you include from the band,

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Single Ladies Unite!

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On June 4, 1948, Marion Richards placed a greeting card and a corsage on

some of her coworker’s desks. Inside each card, she left a special message

and in honor of her choice of words, there is a holiday on June 4th to celebrate!

She had chosen, you see, women who were over thirty years of age and were

unmarried at the time. She wanted them to feel loved and cared for, despite

their status.

This day is called, “Old Maid’s Day!!”

Oh my! Let’s see, in that time period my Dad was 16 years old and my

Mom was 20 years old.

Both my parents had aunts that were unmarried, due to choice, situation

or loss of a husband. They lived in separate homes, leading active and

productive lives.

My Great Aunt Marie had lost her husband to death while young. She had

worked until she was 67 years old at Gorton’s Fish Company in Gloucester.

She was one of the ‘highlights’ of my 16th summer in 1972. She had a little

red sports car and would take me to the drive-in movies, pick up young (and

cute) hitch-hikers when we were heading out of town. She would carry on the

liveliest and most interesting conversations. She was a good ‘role model’ for

my future dates by being independent and leading a positive life. I remember

one of her favorite outfits that she wore. She had a bright coral blouse and a

beautiful silk scarf with a floral design that included the color of turquoise.

She showed creativity and good fashion sense, which I liked to think about

as time went by She showed a ‘joi de vivre.” She will always be, in my eyes:

Forever young!

When my Great Aunt Marie was 92, I went to visit her. She still had her

own apartment, liked to walk to Bingo, to McDonald’s and the stores

in Gloucester.  When I woke up early to hear her lilting voice raised in

song, I walked slowly and quietly into the kitchen to find her dancing.

There she was floating on her toes, gracefully pirouetting and spinning.

When that song that says, “I Hope You Dance” came out, I carefully copied

all the words and mailed it to her. We were pen pals, and although she

never remarried, she always professed love for Pete, her husband who

had died. She never expressed regrets for not having children and truly

seemed interested in mine. I kept some of her letters, since they hold

such amazing positive words of encouragement. She was not lonely and

made friends up until she died at age 96! No worries for her being an

“Old Maid!” Not in her vocabulary or sensibility.

My Great Aunt Harriet was also a widow, a little older than my Aunt Marie,

but still would take her easel out Bearskin Neck and paint boats and the

infamous Rockport, Mass. red boathouse, Motif Number 1. She also was one

who would hop on her bicycle and go to the other ‘coves’ or inlets to use

her drawing pad. She was quite lively, intelligent and could get my 16 year

old self intrigued in everything from conservation, sea life, and politics!

Mom used to talk about her “elderly old maiden aunts,” which in reality

were cousins of hers. They were retired school teachers. They were not

related, so there were times, much later in my life, that Mom said one

time,

“I think they may have loved each other, choosing to spend their retirement

days, reading and volunteering at the library in Middletown, Ohio.”

Still later, while watching Sean Penn acting as the gay character with the

same name as the movie, “Milk,” she expressed thoughts that her maiden

aunts “may have been” lesbians adding,

“I guess we will never know for sure, since they never told anyone, that I

knew of, in the family.”

Tomorrow, (June fourth), is “My Day!” It may be “Your Day!”

In this world of crazy reasons to celebrate, rejoice in the feeling of being

‘free to choose whatever you wish to do,’ as long as you don’t go out and

break any laws, I don’t care if you even ‘play hooky from work!’

Many women, in today’s society, choose to remain unmarried well past

their 30’s. There is no ‘time limit’ or restrictions or even suggested age

that one must marry now. When women choose to focus on their careers,

their own paths in life, and possibly having children with no marriage

license. . .

I think, “Whatever works for you!”

If you haven’t found Mr. Right, he may just be around the corner.

(At least you have not settled for Mr. Wrong!)

If you are looking for Ms. Right, she may also be just around the corner.

(I hope you catch her eyes!)

If you are content in your ‘Single-dom,’

May it be a kingdom filled with

Joy, Independence and Tranquility!

Who needs an excuse to celebrate being single?

No one needs one, but it is fun to do so, anyway!

Any excuse for a Party of One!

In case you have forgotten the beautiful and inspirational lyrics of

Lee Ann Womack’s song’s lyrics are written by Mark D. Sanders

and Tia Sillers in 2000.

“I Hope You Dance”

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,

You get your fill to eat, but always keep that hunger.

May you never take one single breath for granted,

God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed.

I hope you still feel small

when you stand beside the Ocean.

Whenever one door closes,

I hope one more opens.

Promise me that you’ll give faith

a fighting chance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,

I hope you dance..

I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,

Never settle for the path of least resistance.

Living might mean taking chances but they’re worth taking.

Loving might be a mistake but it’s worth making.

Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter.

When you come close to selling out– reconsider.

Give the heaven above more than just a passing glance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,

I hope you dance…

I hope you dance.

Time is a wheel in constant motion,

Always rolling us along.

Tell me who wants to look back on

their years and wonder where those

years have gone”

(A couple of repeated stanzas and the “I Hope You Dance” repeats.)

If this song isn’t energetic enough, check out Martina Mc Bride’s

song, “This One’s for the Girls.” Of course, you can always rely on

the fun song, even sung by the little Chipmunks’ girlfriends can

be silly to dance to: “All the Single Ladies” by Beyoncé Knowles

and others.

A totally different song, a rowdy and controversial song with

anti-violence message and ending domestic abuse is called,

Independence Day,” sung by Martina McBride. This was not

played on radios because of the difficult subject matter of a mother

fighting back against abuse by burning her family’s home down.

The reason I support this song is due to Martina McBride’s being a

dual spokeswoman for the National Domestic Violence Hotline and

the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

“Independence Day” contains a powerful message for those who are

needing an ‘anthem’ to give them ‘backbone’ to get out of abusive

situations. I like it just to shout out the lyrics, “Let freedom ring!”

 

Slurred Speech

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The Dark Side of Comedy

While laughing and coming up with a wide selection of old time shows

that were either variety and/or talk shows, we came upon a somber

moment. My coworkers and I had listed The Jackie Gleason Show, which

included a funny character named, “Crazy Guggenheim.” We had also talked

about how many of the talk show ‘hosts’ or ‘hostesses’ held cigarettes

in their fingers or had a amber colored beverage in their glasses.

Who doesn’t remember Dean Martin, for example, having a drink in

his hand?

By the way, Frank Fontaine portrayed Crazy Guggenheim on both the

Jackie Gleason and Jack Benny shows. He died of 58 years old, about

to donate a check for heart disease studies. His heart attack was

a shock to those who loved him. He knew how to sing well, having

filled a whole album of the songs he sang, while Jackie G. portrayed

his famous alter ego, “Joe the Bartender.” Frank F. was famous for

his slurred speeches, his drunken behavior and his bug-eyed look

and facial expressions.

We thought that it was interesting how times ‘had changed’ and

decided there were “pro’s” and “con’s” to the past.

Let me insert a famous line from the movie, “A Night at the Opera,”

(1935):

“Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and

necking in the parlor.”

This line was spoken by Groucho Marx, in his portrayal of the film’s

character, Otis B. Driftwood.

We know now that famous people are just like us, in many ways.

We also realize that, although there were “Time” and “Newsweek”

magazines trying to bring to the forefront of the population,

the downfalls of alcohol, drugs, gambling and smoking, there were

many disregarding the after effects, side effects and we did not

have such a stigma attached to these ‘bad’ habits. Two of us at my

lunch table on Thursday, became rather sad and quiet. They were

reflecting on recalled deaths of family members due to smoking and

cancer. One of us had experienced abusive, “mean drunks” for parents.

We decided that addictions, such as these, are still not considered

as ‘big of a deal.’ Society, in some ways, continues to ‘brush them

under the table.’

Even the subject of rehabilitation has had its lighter comedic film

moments. People either laugh, due to the antics and situations that

don’t seem real or out of being uncomfortable. It is hard to explain

why we laugh when someone runs into a wall, falls off a roof, or

trips and does a pratfall.

Treatment for the addictions, in the form of actually facing that

these ARE diseases, is important. Still, we felt a little sad

about the fun we had, when young and felt ‘invincible’ and our

lives, for the most part, had been impermeable to the aging

results of sometimes almost impossible challenges.

Slurred speech, in the ways a person sometimes cannot help it,

while in persons who have had a stroke, live with the challenge

of disabilities and speech delays are NOT FUNNY! We would not

laugh, hopefully, when someone has a speech ‘impediment!’

We still felt a little ambiguous, as we thought back upon the

variety of comedy skits that made us roar with uncontrollable

laughter. Melvin admitted to sometimes, while in the armed

forces, being drunk and thinking it was funny when his buddies

and he pulled pranks while drunk. It is considered a serious

offense, and if caught, these days, you could be court-martialed!

Melvin remarked, that in the ‘old war stories’ of the past, often

there would be stories of men ‘letting off steam.’ We also agreed

that the Viet Nam war movies, seemed to include a prevalent use

of drugs.

Who can forget Crazy Guggenheim’s humorous lines, his leaning

into a person, while breathing out his alcoholic breath? Who

cannot forget when there have been famous movies, with drunken

scenes, sometimes with innocent types of sloppy behaviors?

Who can forget the drunken orgies in “Animal House?”

Who has seen and enjoyed some teenaged or college-aged

movies (or personal memories) where it was very funny being

drunk or being around people who were high?

Who did not laugh (if they are above 40 years old) at Cheech

and Chong’s movie, “Up in Smoke?”

Adding, “Arthur,” with Dudley Moore and The Benny Hill Show,

to the mix, we had international connections of drinking in

movies and television shows.

I have seen Doris Day, Sandra Dee, Humphrey Bogard, Elizabeth

Taylor, Richard Burton and other classic actors and actresses

who have done scenes where they portrayed alcoholics. Some

were quite dramatic and serious roles with “mean” and “sloppy”

drunken roles as their focus. Yet, some were fun ‘romp’ movies

where the drunks were silly.

A lot of comedies include either drugs, alcohol or addictions,

going over the top in their portrayals.

There are also famous movies with the dark and angry side of

the picture:

“Days of Wine and Roses” and “Leaving Las Vegas” come to mind.

We have moved forward in some ways, then stepped back, too.

After all, we still have three “Hangover” movies…

I still will watch comedy sketches with the Saturday Night

Live crew, some who are great at making me laugh, acting

silly while stumbling around and falling down drunk.

A Dip into Serendipity

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A journey that once had begun, had gotten swept

under the table. The story had included exciting

beginnings and abrupt endings. It could have been

a nice, safe trip along smooth railroad tracks in

a predictable direction. Instead it had been quite

dramatic.

The way it all began was discussed, along with

where it had become derailed. It seemed suddenly

urgent to get the passengers united to head into

the future, reconnecting ties that had been torn

and broken.

Seemingly impossible reasons, years ago, to ever

be healed, were forgotten and forgiven.

Ice cream was delicious at Graeter’s in Upper

Arlington, Ohio last night. The ice cream place

is a franchise started in Bexley, Ohio, in 1870.

The relationship had started in 1980, between four

close friends, two couples who were into natural

foods, a Lancaster co-op and a business together.

From friendship, sharing stories, then traveling

a long and winding path that took both couples in

different directions.

From the traditional beginning, which had led

into separated, fractured lives, arose a child.

It was an unplanned and unexpected event. It

would leave a lasting, hurtful impact on all,

from 1985 until 2014.

The strange story would include heartbreak and

some moments of crying. The redemption, found on

3/21/14, would heal most of the wounds.

Who would have thought the woman with the ‘white

picket fence’ background would have held such a

wild story behind her outwardly quiet demeanor?

The serendipity was the ties that brought someone

from a far distance, of St. Louis, Missouri, back

to Ohio. The trip originally had nothing to do

with the woman nor her golden child.

A letter, sent out like a beacon, had been mailed

over cyber-space. Previously sent, hand written

letters, over the years, had been met with

silence.

No answers.

A coincidental trip to a gravesite in Cincinnati,

was fortuitous for the people to be reconnected.

Death had been over a few years ago, it was in

the memory of that loved one, the journey had

been made back to Ohio.

Tears of happiness flowed. Sweet memories of a

happier time embraced the four people sitting

across from each other.

Stories of the past, including similar family

histories of international immigration; one

generation ago for the father and two generations

for the mother. Unknowingly, both parties had

heritage from Germany. This shared lineage filled

the minds of the people with wonder. Over twenty

or more years ago, they had not asked each other

such questions.

Other kindred moments, included a love of music,

one for an accordion, another for a clarinet.

Two hands that reached out, were held, showed

dryness of skin, smallness in size and arthritic

joints. Family physical traits passed down.

Personality traits, such as independent streaks,

with some admission on both parties, of being

rather self-centered between child and father

were exchanged.

Faded, tarnished memories of the Lancaster days

were renewed and explained. They lost their

rusty feel and became polished, smoothed over.

Time truly heals all wounds.

The ties are now beginning and reaching out.

They are beautifully becoming braided into a

circular wreath where the child now knows of

another family. Intertwining, growing and

letting go of the hurt and regret.

The family was a gift well received.

The failed attempts to have connections had been

shared with the child, over the years. The way it

disappointed her, had recently come to light.

The other family is filled with aunts, uncles and

cousins who long to know the estranged member.

I indulged in my favorite choice of butter pecan

ice cream, covered with Graeter’s ‘homemade’ recipe

sauce of butterscotch, real whipped cream and a

cherry on top.

The symbolism of a cherry on top was the real,

relieved feelings, bubbling to my soul’s surface.

My family member had a simple scoop of butter

toffee chip, while the father ate chocolate chip.

The fourth person had an ice cream cone with a

cup of freshly brewed coffee.

He was the observer, the in-law, who would be the

recorder of the tale to regale the Missouri folks

back home. He had captured all parties in photos,

sent via telephone, as soon as taken.

The observer was warm and welcoming and through

his part as the ‘new’ uncle, he introduced one

of the first cousins into our conversation.

A girl named Brianna, age 12, who will be part

of my child’s life forever.

One of many new connections…

The wise, well humored observer asked if this

would be included in the title of my next post

on my blog: Serendipity.

I was not sure, at that moment, if I would indulge

in another post. Sharing this may be too much.

I mentioned that I had written a “Carry On” post,

earlier in the week. After much reflection last

night, I chose to share this story here.

Albeit in a bare bones, no details’ way.

Pieces of the puzzle fell into place.

The ‘once upon a time’ heavy weight was removed,

thrown out the window, for good.

By myself, I drove up the road on 315, a curving

tree-darkened route that led to my adopted home

of Delaware.

I had fled from another small town, almost 28

years ago.

The last remnants of the weight, the ‘chips on my

shoulder’ were lifted.

Its breadth and depth, unable to fully explain

to others who had known me.

All I know this was no longer needed to be held

on to. The baggage had no necessary purpose or

reason to be kept anymore.

There still is a chance for this ‘white picket

fence’ woman with the ‘solid core’ and deep roots,

to have her happy ending. Her child could now

proceed with new ties that bind.

Not the way she had visualized from her childhood,

but still a fantastic way to close the book.

Carry On

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Isn’t it marvelous when a burden is lifted from your

shoulders? When you know that everything is finally

going to be all right. I have three grown children who

when they are ‘down’ or have worries, I feel some of

that empathetic worry, myself.

On my way to work, I heard the band, Kansas, singing a

song straight to my heart. It was such an appropriate

song for this first day of freedom from worry for one

of my loved ones! This progressive rock band’s single,

an oldie but goodie, begins like this:

“Carry on, my wayward son,

There’ll be peace when you are done.

Lay your weary head to rest,

Don’t you cry no more.”

(Written by Kerry Livgren, 1976.)

One of my children no longer has to feel like there

isn’t closure in a personal situation. I am so happy that

I will be walking around, sighing in relief, possibly this

could have been noticeable to others, had they been working

in my area today.

I wanted to write a poem expressing this wondrous feeling

of joy and weightlessness, floating around the atmosphere…

but I just couldn’t write poetry today.

Instead I thought of a list, one that would have life’s

irritations and burdens included. Where you, as readers,

may choose one that really had an impact on your life.

A time when it was very challenging to put one foot

before the other one, making moving forward an almost

impossible task.

Here are a few feelings you may relate to, have had

experiences with and have made it through to “the

other side.”

Unfinished business.

Disappointments.

Life’s Abrupt Changes.

Long-Distant Move.

Major Transition.

Debilitating Illness or Disease.

Unresolved Issues.

Disaster.

Death of Loved One(s.)

Death of Friend(s).

Death of a Beloved Pet.

A Series of Uncontrollable Events.

Divorce.

Fire.

Break up/ heart break.

Piles of bills and debt.

Suicide Attempt.

Anorexia/Bulimia.

Alcoholism.

Addiction.

Troubles.

In my family member’s case, something had been left

opened for years, festering, lasting longer than it

deserved to. It had a ‘hold’ on my loved one, who was

dwelling on it and not really enjoying life as much as

they should have been. Closure was reached last night!

Hurray! Yippee!

The more recent American indie band, Fun, put out a great

lively song called, “Carry On,” (2012). The lyrics were

written by a combination of the band members and producer.

Nate Reuss, Andrew Dost, Jack Antonoff and Jeff Bhosker.

Another song with the name of “Carry On,” performed by

the legendary band of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, was

written in 1991,by Stephen Stills. It is meaningfully

written about relationships.

Although the Disney movie, “Frozen,” won for the song,

“Let It Go,” I chose this song because my grandkids love

to belt it out, both boys and girls alike! It gets very

grand at one point, where you need to raise your voice!

This can be very exhilarating and liberating. This helps

to remove any cobwebs that are caught in your mind. It

could raise your spirits considerably. The power in the

words of this song, can alleviate some of your pain and

heartache.

I think the act of singing, while driving down the road,

particularly, can make you feel ‘free’ of sadness.

“Let It Go,” was written by the husband and wife team of

Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, sung by Idina

Menzel. There also is a Demi Lovato cover of the same

song.

In conclusion, music lifts our spirits. Other things

can be chosen depending on your individual tastes and

interests to help release the ‘angst.’

Some very serious problems can not be handled simply by

engaging in walks in parks. That is something for me that

helps me unwind and think. I like to see nature and its

wonder, and sometimes it relieves my temporary depression

by knowing I am but a small part of a greater world.

Meditation can remove the rocks in the way on your journey

through life. Seeking counseling can help you to have a

neutral party to listen, absorb your pains and anger, then

help by gently guiding you to a safer, saner existence.

When was the time you felt heavy in spirit, dragged down so

low it was hard to be motivated to do daily chore? Do you

mind sharing it? If not, please share techniques that helped

you and this will encourage someone, maybe even today, to

be able to…

“Carry on.”