Category Archives: Simon and Garfunkle

100 Pieces of Paul Simon’s Life

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Celebrating 50 years of performing, writing and contributing to our

mental psyche, Paul Simon recently spent three hours, 180 minutes,

to help elaborate for a new exhibit at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall

of Fame. There will be a small piece of this exhibit shown at the

Cuyahoga Community College (CCC), sponsored by the R and R Hall.

Paul Simon was inaugurated into the R & R Hall of Fame when he

was part of the duo of Simon and Garfunkel, then later he was doubly

awarded, as a solo artist of majestic proportions.

The curator/archivist, Karen Herman said Paul Simon was very

generous with his time, completely answering the interview questions

expanding on them and allowing the entire tape to be included in the

new exhibit.

What will you see there?

Here are several of the 100 new items that interested me and captured

my imagination:

1. A 1957 hand written letter from Art Garfunkel to Paul Simon, while

he was away at summer camp. Who out there knew they were friends

from such a young age? There is a postmarked envelope and personal

letter with messages in Art’s young handwriting to his friend. This life-

long friendship was ‘news’ to me. I knew they collaborated and sang

together as Simon and Garfunkel, but did not know they both attended

prep school and were close through all these years.

2. The first guitar that Paul ever owned. This is an acoustical guitar

made by “Stadium.”

3. The lyrics written in his own hand of his best-selling song, “The Boxer.”

The CCC has many other parts of the special exhibit about the writing of

this famous song. There was an interesting ‘tid bit’ that when Paul was

writing the song, he inserted the vocal bridge of, “Lie-la-lie” originally

and fully intending to substitute using words, adding them later. Once

he completed the passage, it ‘stuck,’ remaining in the song.  Paul left

the song as is, after practicing with Art and going ahead with recording

the bridge within the song. (I am wondering, is this how we got that

‘riff’ or ‘bridge’ in the song, Mrs. Robinson, that goes “Coo, coo, ka chu?”)

4. Photographs abound in the exhibit. Personal ones, like his sweet but

serious face as a toddler in 1943.

5. Did you know Paul had enrolled as a DRAMA student (not Music!)

at the Queen’s College in New York City, NY? I studied this photograph

of Paul’s college sophomore year, picturing him as a dramatic actor,

seeing him as one who may have made Robert DeNiro or Dustin Hoffman

envious.

6. I have more than 3 two-sided 45 records, including Sound of Silence,

Only Living Boy in New York, Cecilia, Bridge over Troubled Water, The

Boxer and Mrs. Robinson. The only one on exhibit at the R & R Hall of

Fame is, “Me and Julio Down by the School Yard.”

I ponder donating my 45’s… naw!

7. Paul’s Grammy Records, all are on display. Donated to the R & R

instead of having them collect dust on shelves or be displayed in his

home set of cases.

7. The notes, handwritten on a notepad with the lyrics and sound

development for his album, “Graceland.” In this interview, Paul gave

us insight into his own personal writing style. He always writes his

songs music first. This surprised me, when Paul shared this processing

information of songwriting. I pictured his writing his lyrics first. They

are so poetic and meaningful, one could then imagine trying to place

the piano or instrumentals into the pieces. He also shared that he does

not always put his ‘best material’ into the first line of his songs. He feels

it is important to ‘build the drama and meaning’ as the song progresses.

By the way, Paul Simon’s unique musical combination of South African

and Zulu-Western, along with including Zydeco and Tex-Mex sound

influences, made his album an international success. The voices of many

friends appear on tracks in this album, including the Everly Brothers

on the title track, “Graceland.”

Female singing artist, Linda Ronstadt, performed with Paul Simon in

the lovely song, “Under African Skies.” The controversy behind this

album brought attention to our united stand against apartheid with him.

 

 

The part of the installation of Paul Simon’s body of musical artistry

which will travel, is going from major city to city. This will come to

museums and other public viewing areas, which will include an

admission charge, going back towards the Cleveland’s upkeep of their

entire building that embodies almost all genres of music, which have

had influences on each level, including rock and roll. There are so

many international exhibits, which I would recommend taking more

than one day to view. Paul Simon’s exhibit alone is considered to

need half an hour to 45 minutes to listen and absorb the information

given. As far as the CCC exhibit, Songwriters and musicians may be

happy to study the details of one song, “The Boxer.” There are images

of New York, the tickets for performances, the notes and personal

memorabilia attached to this iconic legend of a man, Paul Simon.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit will cover 1500 square feet.

 

 

Combinations

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I think automatically of my locker in high school, when I think of ‘combinations.’

My grandkids like to mix up their sodas, at those dispensers in fast food places,

what we used to call ‘suicides.’ Now, not so appropriate of a label, not one I would

want to try to explain to the ‘grandies.’ Some hodge podge of stuff, arts, music and

strange surprise may interest you in this post.

There have been some fun things that have

come across my path, in the past week, so here goes my silly list of ‘combinations.’

 

1.  Weird Sodas, Soft Drinks or Pops:

*Did you know that Tab still exists? It is still available in supermarkets, along with

being sold in South Africa, Spain, Norway, United States and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Also, it was the number one beverage sold at the place where famous people used

to gather:  Studio 54. Did you know since 1998, Studio 54 has become the home of a

theater called, Roundabout Theater Company? It had been in another location existing

since 1965. Also, if you knew about this, did you know in the basement there still is a

place to meet friends and hope for someone to spot called, 54 Below?

 

*Jones Soda Company sells some wonderful tasting sodas. I like their fruit flavored ones,

often grape or orange reminding me of the days my Dad would bring home a wooden

crate of Cotton Club pops. Crème soda, yummy! Well, did you know Jones Soda Co.

makes a flavor called PB & Jelly?

Also, during the holidays, seriously Jones Soda has sold what they call the “Holiday

Pack” with two flavors you could not pay me to drink: Mashed Potatoes and the odd

combination of Turkey and Gravy. I would like to see the sales numbers for those two

‘sodas!’

 

*Ski Pop, which is like Surge or Mt. Dew, but some consider a ‘poor’ substitute. Here

in Ohio, some recent statistics on this brand have explained that in Vinton County,

chicken farmers give this to their chickens to drink. Huh? Can anyone explain the

purpose of this? I can just imagine those ‘hyperactive’ chickens in their yards…

 

*Dr. Brown’s Soda has a flavor called “Celery” and it sells well in New York City

delicatessens.

 

*Rocket Fizz Brand Sodas produces “Lester’s Fixin’s” with two flavors called, Ranch

Dressing and Buffalo Wings. So, thanks to Lester, you can buy both flavors and skip

the cooking…

 

*Live, fermented soda, Kombucha comes in multiple flavors, like Ginger, Lemon,

Orange, Doctor, Cola and Cucumber Cayenne. That last one may manage to cover the

stinky smell.  Sorry, I have had this homemade version of battery acid and am not sure

I will ever acquire taste for it. I was fascinated, because coincidentally, right after I read

the article about the flavored Kombucha ‘sodas,’ I saw on my most recent favorite comedy

someone who makes this. (It is a nice show, even for families, too bad it is not going to

make it.) “About A Boy” includes Minnie Driver playing a single mother character. This

episode is focusing on her neighbor’s moving away. She makes homemade kombucha

and stores it in the dumb waiter elevator that connects her apartment to the handsome

and quirky neighbor’s, who is her son’s ‘best friend.’ He opens it and accidentally tips

one of her jars of concoction over. I saw in the male actor’s face, exactly my feelings

about kombucha; Yuck!

* Placenta Soda. Gross!

* Leninade, with Lenin, the communist’s name inserted in its product brand.

*Sickenly sweet, but I still like these two flavors that are a little different: Cotton Candy

and Strawberry Watermelon Faygo soda pops.

 

 

2. Robert Landau took outstanding, definitive photographs of the famous billboards along

Sunset Strip, which were on exhibit at Capitol University, Columbus, Ohio. You may check

the iconic and historic photographs of the poster-styled billboards, along with the urban legend

that Mick Jagger ‘defaced’ his own Rolling Stones billboard. There’s a compilation book available

of  Landau’s photos found in a 2012 book of his collection. There were in ‘the day’ people who

specialized in hand painting some of these memorable, vintage billboards. The years they were

most prevalent were from 1960 – 1980. Reading about renowned L.A. photographer, Landau,

was one of the most pleasant parts of the past two weeks of ‘combinations,’ I ran into while

collecting various news items.

 

3. Sour Patch Kids’ gum, flavored orange by Stride, has an interesting inside the pack,

design. It includes a Pirate map with the fun words of:

“The taste of orange boards your tongue and storms your taste buds. Then sweetly

serenades you with a sea shanty and a little pirate-y jig.”

So creative and you may find yourself tearing apart their other flavors of Sour Patch

Kids’ gum, which also comes in ‘red’ and ‘lime.’ (Not sure what flavor ‘red’ is?)

 

4. Jeff Dunham is going to be performing in Columbus, Ohio. Just recently heard about

him while visiting someone’s blog. He is a weird ventriloquist who sometimes uses

skeletons and creepy subjects in his comedy routine. He is seven years younger than I

am which makes it unusual that he became a ventriloquist. Seems it was becoming ‘out

of fashion’ during the time he was able to practice this unusual skill. Danny O’Day was

one of my brother’s ‘dummies’ and he enjoyed trying to ‘throw his voice.’ He is very

talented in his YouTube videos…

 

5. Music Trivia:

*Have you heard Lorde’s song, “Mockingjay?” Do you like it?

*Have you listened to Neil Diamonds’ new album titled, “Melody Road?”

Oh please, someone go with me to see my favorite (individual) musician

while he performs in Columbus, Ohio on 3/28/2015.

I can buy my own ticket, but many of my friends would prefer to spend that amount of

money on a group. Sure, I would like to hear Bob Seger, playing with the J.Geils Band,

(who I heard last in person, at the Cleveland Agora, aged 20 or so…) Or Boston or The

Manhatten Transfer, but Neil!  I really would be so excited to see him in concert…

 

*Buckey Country’s annual Superfest will include Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton,

Rascal Flatts along with a crew of country musicians in the two day event, held

in the Ohio Stadium on June 20 and 21st, 2015. Tickets last year were around

$70 a day, my friend and coworker, Tina shared.

 

*As I was heading to my Mom’s for vacation, I said ‘goodbye’ to many people. Many

were wishing me good times with my family. Which wasironic since after clocking out

on Friday, October 24, 2014,  I turned on my car, to hearthe nostalgic strains of Simon

and Garfunkel’s song playing on the radio,

“Sitting in the railway station. …” Yep, you guessed it. … “Homeward Bound.”

 

6. Art:

* At the Wexner Center, located on Ohio State University campus,  has

a thrilling experience in store for you should you wish to see the exclusive

exhibit titled, “Transfigurations.” It is from Les Wexner’s private, limited

art collection that includes Susan Rothenberg, Willem de Kooning, Picasso,

Giacometti, and Dubuffet. You may view them through December 31st. They

are considered Modern Masters. The Picasso is a reclining woman and is quite

large and interesting. One reviewer had to go back and look at it again, it is

entrancing in its own unique perspective of a nude woman.

 

*The public domain of Frankenstein memorabilia will be on exhibit in the

Homeport Gallery, where artist and filmmaker, Celia M. Peters, shares her

collection. She has different subject matters that are also considered, public

domain, where no need to have permission to reproduce, Shakespeare,

Beethoven and Dorian Gray, for example. The horror film subject matter

seems appropriate for Halloween viewing.

 

* Open Door Art Studio will show in Grandview all kinds of multi-media Halloween

objects. This includes zombies, werewolves, witches, monsters in costumes and

masquerade attire for your interest in memorabilia.

 

 

Okay, tell me:  Which was the most bizarre part of my combinations post?

 

A quotation from Dubuffet,

“Without bread, we die of hunger.

Without art, we die of boredom.”

Dubuffet’s artwork is featured at Wexner’s special show, “Transfigurations.”

 

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homeward Reflections

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Homeward Reflections

I have paths well worn in my heart,

Memories of days gone past.

Places touched lightly,

Lovingly and gently.

Those special wonders,

Pets, friends and relatives.

Still making their deeper impacts,

Giving meaning and substance.

Libraries and bookmobiles,

Those who tended their ‘wealth.’

I close my eyes and dreams swiftly come.

As a child, I count the steps to the top,

Where Roman columns greet.

Inside leading to musty shelves,

Books discovered there.

I count the stairs in my first house,

Such a challenge for little feet.

I count the friends from this home

to that,

indelible

and

invincible.

Letters and photographs saved,

Carefully in a treasure box.

I hear and listen as the antique clock

ticks in the homes of three childhood

places.

The ticking of the ornate clock counted

fleeting minutes on my parents’ mantel.

On their ‘watch,’ secure I felt.

The chimes every hour were like buoys

sounding out,

made by the waves tipping them,

“Gong!”

Be safe!

Reminders of blessed moments when

lakes and seas dwelled in my heart.

The hollow sound reaching into the depths

of the water,

mind

and time itself.

I remember well worn paths,

to and from school,

through woods where we played,

Then familiar paths leading home,

once again.

Time and paths slipping,

passing quickly now,

Without any consideration.

Needing to slow down.

Allow the participants to

feel,

breathe,

savor,

measure

The Weight of Time.

Robin Oldrieve Cochran

May 14, 2014

There are so many wonderful songs to suggest but two I love

are suggested listening material.

“Homeward Bound,” by Simon and Garfunkel (1967).

On their “Bookends” album, (1968) these words:

“Time it was and what a time it was,

It was a time of innocence,

A time of confidences.

Long ago,

It must be,

I have a photograph.

Preserve your memories,

They’re all that’s left you.”

Solitude

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Serenity can be found in various circumstances.

Happiness is within our own grasp. We can control

what most of our choices are. I have heard this

phrase, “We are our own keys to our happiness.”

Of course, unforeseen and horrible catastrophes

occur every day. I am not simplifying this post

to make it fit the word. Solitude could mean the

death of a special someone or something. I would

not wish this on anyone. The choices we can handle

and control are the ones you need to set your goal

or focus on.

What do you really want in life?

How do you want to live it?

Does your plan work for happiness with or without

someone to be a partner with?

What steps will you take to help you find someone

if that is how you want to lead your life?

If you like solitude, what will you do to ensure you

will be able to keep it?

Solitude has been a ‘foreign’ place my entire life.

I was the only girl child with two brothers. I did

not have to ‘share’ many tangible things. The baby

dolls, toys, kitchen sets, bikes, clothing articles

and bedroom were ‘all mine.’

But on many a night, I would lie awake, hearing the

voices of my two brothers talking, whispering in their

conspiratorial ways, without my being included. Then,

hearing sometimes, my father tell them to, “Be quiet!”

With an “or else,” attached. Several times, though, I

would creep into their room to ‘bunk’ with one of my

brothers. This was especially true while a young child,

in elementary school even in middle school, occasionally.

By the time I reached high school, I had developed a

habit of reading myself to sleep. I was beyond the age

where my parents would have read to me, unless it were

a chapter in a book that happened to be of interest to

my Dad. I have recounted my Dad’s love of Sir Arthur

Conan Doyle, while we would drift off to sleep with

murders and mayhem in our dreams.

Solitude was an ‘okay’ place to be. I am a social and

sociable person. I have been in one or two relationships

with quiet men. Ones who thrived on their own space,

art or music, sometimes books or computer work. They

didn’t mind hiking alone, running errands without me

or having their own separate interests. I would feel

left out, if it were many hours on their own, trying

to get myself included into their plans. I am one who

enjoys holding someone’s hand in movies, on walks or

hikes and during daily activities. I don’t even like

to shop that much alone. Strange, since this is one

place I see women, in the grocery stores, malls or

mega box stores, shopping to their heart’s content!

I like men who are ‘deep’ and philosophical, like my

good and long lasting friend, Bill. But I also think that

hanging out with him every weekend is not where I

want to be either. We have our ‘once a month routine,’

which suits me just fine. For quite some time, his

being with Heather was my “safety net” keeping a little

boundary from our getting into a more frequent plan of

action. I am not interested in him in a one on one

relationship. I can honestly say, I don’t want to go

down that path with Bill.

Ours is a partial path in life, at parks, meals out,

seeking necessary or special found items at stores,

and searching book and thrift stores. That is all I am

ever expecting our friendship to include. I am grateful

for Bill, who thinks I am intelligent, sane and fun to

be around. This validation keeps me feeling those three

factors days after our visits together!

I had a roommate from age 18-22 in college, in the busy

summers I worked two years at Cedar Point, where I had 3

unique roommates.

I went to a national acting camp, where I had a roommate

from Florida, one from Alaska and one from New York. It was

so interesting to write to them and hear of their lives and

activities after that time spent together.

Finally, I had marriage from ages 22-28 with children,

that kept me company, even while divorced. A break, a leap

of faith, another marriage. Divorced again. Then, for seven

whole years and 9 long summers, I was a single Mom.

I have been, seriously, this is how I call it: ‘on my own’

again for almost 8 years. It is still a ‘new’ feeling to

walk in the door and have no one to recount my day with.

Unless one of my three children, a couple of dear friends

call or a neighbor drops by to talk to me, after I finish

blogging, the library staff are the last ones to wish me,

“Good night!”

I am not complaining but I am contemplating, thinking and

reflecting. Am I still happy by myself? Is everything okay

with this solitude?

There are no fights, disagreements or bickering. On the

other hand, there are no calls from the door, “Honey, I’m

home!” or “What’s for dinner?” There isn’t even a paid

companion… oh, a cat or dog, which require pet deposits!

I can eat however I like, presumably, and not get lectured

or asked, “Is this all you planned to eat?” Yes, cereal,

popcorn, soup and other simple foods get digested and I

am still healthy. No doctors have found my diet to be

totally inadequate. I ‘splurge’ and eat out with my

friends or occasional dates. I cook up a big casserole

every Sunday and pack it daily into my lunch box.

I would like to say ‘solitude’ means ‘serenity,’ but I

cannot agree with the equation. I feel like a significant

piece of my life’s puzzle is missing.

My oldest daughter, the one who did not marry last January,

asked me if we could live together. Oh, my darling two

grandsons and she with me. I love them to ‘death’ but I

just saw that being not the perfect fit.

What would the perfect fit ‘look like?’ Who knows!

I am certainly not qualified to be able to recognize him

when I see him! I am not lonely, in any sense of the

term either.

A simple call or text to any of my three children or my

daughter-in-law brings dinner invitations and loving arms

wrapped around me tightly. My six little grandchildren

beg me to take them home, when I visit…

I am finally content and happy with not having someone

always with me. It is a constant readjustment, but it

is where I need to be right now.

Oh, one more song, that I think could have be in the post

about overcoming life’s challenges. An advantage to being

‘alone’ is, I can really sing this one out loud:

“Brave,” by Sara Bareilles. It is not written for the

animated cartoon movie (2012) of the same name, it came

out the following year, 2013. Here are some of my favorite

lyrics:

“….Everybody’s been there,

Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy.

Fallen for the fear,

And done some disappearing.

Bow down to the mighty,

Don’t run, just stop holding your thoughts.”

(Chorus)

“Say what you wanna say,

And let the words fall out.

Honestly, I wanna see you be brave…

Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live

Maybe one of these days you can let the light in…”

“Show me how big your brave is!”

This is another song, my grandkids ‘belt out’ to the

skies!

Or. you can go the opposite direction and be pensive and

contemplative in your quiet solitude. As I sometimes do,

(I put on my old Simon and Garfunkel 45 record) and listen

to, “The Sound of Silence.” Did you know that the lyrics

were started after John F. Kennedy was assassinated in

November, 1963? Paul Simon completed them and the song came

out in February, 1964. Another fifty years ago anniversary!

Here is the opening passage that gives me chills:

“Hello darkness, my old friend.

I’ve come to talk with you again.

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain

still remains,

Within the sound of silence.”

Later, when the passage speaks of ten thousand

people… doesn’t this song make you feel the

pain of JFK’s death?

“And in the naked light I saw

Ten thousand people, maybe more

People talking without speaking

People hearing without listening

People writing songs that voices never share

And no one dared disturb the sound of silence…”

Chasing Shadows of the Past

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While studying the photographs on the Veteran’s Day board at my

Mom’s senior apartment building, I pointed to a tall, gangly looking

young man wearing an Air Force uniform from the WWII era. I asked

Mom if she recognized the name of the man. She looked at his face,

then the name and said, “I think I knew him!”

I turned to her and saw a rapt emotion covered face. I told her that I

had asked about the name of the man not if she knew the man. She

asked what did I mean by that? I told her that one of her favorite

Westlake High School 1971 graduates shared the first and last name

of the man, but the picture resembled him. I exclaimed with some

verve in my voice,

“That resident of Westlake Village Senior Living Apts. may be the

father of the young man from your World Lit and Spanish classes!”

She looked at me, kind of a funny expression, “Well, that would still

mean I may have met his father, too!”

We headed off from the main part of the building towards the “C”

building part. This is the area where the residents may have some

form of disability and more challenges in their daily living skills.

As we headed off on our “wild goose chase,” Mom, her dog, Nicki

on her leash, (patient saint of a little dog,) and I down the quiet

corridors towards the door I reflected back on the numerous times

over the years where Mom would cross paths with her students. Some

had ended up living in Vermilion (where Dad and she had retired),

some were living in Westlake, and we would see them in shopping malls

and stores around the western suburbs of Cleveland.

This particular student, who may or may not be one of her students,

had been one of MY favorites, too. He had gone on to Cornell University.

Jim had come home over holidays and during my four high school years,

I had written to him, along with my Mom’s enclosed letters. When I went

off to BGSU, I heard he had moved on, gone to medical college somewhere,

but we had lost touch. Mom had more new favorites to write to. I have only

his high school graduation picture, had his old address at Cornell, and did

not carry his torch once I met my first husband on my first day of college.

I thought of how paths twist and turn, criss and cross, I had some bubbles

of hope float up to greet me.

A silly song, kind of old but a “goody” starts out,

“Slow down,

You move too fast.

You’ve got to make the morning last,

Just kickin’ down the cobble-stones,

Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy…”

Song, “The 59th Street Bridge Song,” otherwise known as “Feelin’ Groovy.”

Written and performed by the legendary folk music duo of Simon and

Garfunkel, 1966.

I had the true feeling of “Anticipation,” another great song, by the special

songstress, Carly Simon. She sang this song the year the young man, my

Mom’s past student graduated, 1971.

We went to a door of a man who had a flag and another copy of the young,

handsome uniformed Air Forceman’s photo on his shelf outside his door.

This shelf is one I like to decorate for Mom, using some of my seasonal

decorations. I am glad to remember the servicemen around the world

who dedicated their lives to their countries.

I hesitated for a moment, then decided to knock. I heard a waverly and

faint, frail sounding man’s voice ask,

“Who is it?”

I said, “My name is Robin and my Mom lives in B building. We were

wishing to talk to you.”

The male voice gave a little louder reply,

“Wait a minute… I am coming!”

When the door opened, a tall, handsome but much older, slumped version;

a “shadow of the man in the photograph” answered the door.

I launched into my introductions, telling him enthusiastically that we were

hoping he was the father of a man my Mom had taught. I identified which

high school, the one that is only two streets over, in the same town as her

senior apartments was. He repeated the words,

“Westlake High School… my son attended one in another suburb of

Cleveland. He named it.”

I said that his name, James, with his last name was the same as one of my

Mom’s “favorite students.”

He leaned against the wall by the door, having forgotten, I imagined a cane

or a walker in his rush to open the door. He was very pleasant and regretful

of being the “wrong” James or Jim.

I looked at him, decided to give him a big hug for those thoughtful words,

and he imparted some information that may or may not be helpful on

the further investigation to where in the world is Jim or James…

When my son moved to Medina or Mentor, I forget which city, he would

get his mail mixed up with another man with the same first and last name,

who was a doctor.

This new “lead” on the man in my memories and my Mom’s held some

possibilities. We both thanked him very much, he seemed reluctant to

have us go. We mentioned we hoped to see him sometime in the future.

I took his whole name with the middle initial added to it, thinking that it

may be able to be traced or followed with a little internet help.

I have not done this yet.

I am a little afraid, maybe might seem like a “stalker” but I have a little

glimmer of hope. You know why, don’t you?

Maybe, it will be kharma or kismet…

I can always hope this may lead me to my happy ending.

Words Can Be Hurtful Weapons!

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My friend, Cecilia, I have written is a very lovely, busy woman

who divides her time between during the day shift, cleaning

the bathrooms at work and nursing at night, in a Worthington,

Ohio nursing home facility. She came from Cameroon, married

an American man who loves her, has children and grandchildren.

We had a wonderful time one day exchanging pictures and stories

of grandchildren. I have written a story about her, she is my “sister

from a different mother.” She calls me “Sis” and “Miss Robin” due

to my old preschool days. I call her, “Sis,” and Nurse Cecilia. On

very funny days, when I need to just switch gears, I try to sing Simon

and Garfunkle’s song, “Cecilia, ” to her!

We were in a morose mood, sad to say today. I could not believe her

face as I entered the bathroom, my usual “pit stop” before I clock in.

Cecilia came to me, and immediately asked, “How is your family?”

she answered, “Okay.” I asked because she was so quiet, “And your

Mama in Cameroon?” She nodded her head, “Fine.”

I asked her, “What on Earth happened?!”

She said, “Last night, before your shift left a woman, her name is Kim,

do you know her?”

I answered, “Kim is in heavy bulk, a rather “rough around the edges”

woman, is she okay?”

Then, Cecilia proceeded to shock me. I mean I just posted a story about

racial slurs and she said, “Kim asked me why the bathroom still smelled

bad after I cleaned. I said, ‘Well, I pour bleach down on the floor and in

the toilets, I spray aerosol scents and I use good cleaning products. I

don’t know, maybe someone just used the bathroom?’ I did not use a

‘tone’ with her, or anything, Robin! You would not believe what she said!

She called me a ‘nigger’: ‘Nigger, why don’t you use some elbow grease?

I mean you don’t scrub or anything?”

Cecilia then cried a few tears, I patted her on the back, told her to “Ignore

hateful people” and “Please report this!”

She looked down at the floor, “I answered back, quick as a wink, I told her

you are just a ‘Miller Time woman!'”

I had to smile at that! I responded, “Cecilia, that is very mild compared to

her spiteful words! The pipes in this old building stink! The bathroom can

not be cleaned any better than the people who use it and leave it! That is

so wrong and you must tell Mark Jones!”

She continued, she was on a rant but also subdued, “She thinks she is so

much better than I am! She is just a factory woman and I have nursing

degree. Does she bother to get to know me? Does she see I am a hard

worker?”

I asked her, “Did you write this out or did you tell Mark yet?”

She finally answered this, gasping it out, breathless so agitated, “Yes, I

told him, very humiliated by my words. He is going above today to tell

Ted. (our CEO’s assistant).”

She started to wipe the mirrors, saying, “Go to work, you will be late

clocking in, Robin! You have stuck up for me, I remember that nice

way you went to the CEO (at the time, Scott) and asked if I could eat

a plate from your Thanksgiving dinner. He said, “No, she is just a

subcontracted employee. Like I am nothing!”

I told her, “Don’t worry, this is a legal issue! Calling someone that

name is very extreme!i It will be considered so offensive, she will

get fired!”

This direct attack of my good friend, Cecilia, was addressed before

lunch today. There was no one on the breakroom computer playing

Solitaire. Here is the ‘news for the day’:

Kim was fired!

Vindication!