Category Archives: storytelling

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?

 

 

 

 

Plant A Seed in a Child’s Mind

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I have a simple philosophy on children of 5 and 6 year old age.  I

believe these sweet little ones go into kindergarten as ‘babies’ and

come out of this period of time as, ‘school kids.’ I have seen both

Marley who attends one elementary school in kindergarten and

my grandson, Micah, who attends another elementary school in

the same level of education grow ‘in leaps and bounds.’

 

Every book their parents or I read to them, suddenly have become

‘brand new’ and they see such interesting new things in them. It is

almost like being ‘re-born.’  When it comes to understanding the

way children are ‘different’ or ‘unique,’ it really helps to watch the

changes first hand. I admit with my ‘pack of three’ being raised

with others I babysat, they were not given as much individual

attention. This becomes apparent when I am typing away the

‘bright’ quotes I can honestly listen to and apply to the six of the

grandchildren.  But, to tell you the truth, the kindergartners have

my full attention.

 

Take a week ago, when my grandson, Micah, was asking me about

my apartment. When did I move there? Why do I have my kitchen

table in the living room? Do I like having to do my laundry in the

laundry room?

 

About a month ago, my granddaughter, Marley was not totally

satisfied with looking at her own photo albums. She had a big

stack of them, since I put the 36 photo albums together each

season, for each individual grandchild. Marley has over 7 albums

to study and check out. She asked me first to look at her Daddy’s

baby photo album and then, moved on to her Aunt Felicia and

her Aunt Carrie’s. I was not asked too many questions, but I saw

her study each photo and it took her over an hour to move on to

ask me her next ‘request.’

 

Finally, she wanted to see my three “wedding dresses’ albums.”

This is how she named them. I told her I have only one photo of

the first wedding dress, so I showed her it. I told her “Aunt Carrie”

has the rest of the first wedding party photos. She is the ‘oldest’

and the only girl from this first marriage, I explained to Marley.

I really felt most of the photographs of her relatives would ‘mean

more to her’ than her brother, Marley’s Daddy.

 

She studied the three wedding dresses intently. She finally asked me

why I married each of my three husbands. I tried to make a ‘joke,’

telling her my patent answer to adults who ask me this question,

“This was my way of being a ‘serial monogamist.'”

For some reason, Marley looked like she really understood this

to be a cynical or sarcastic comment and used her scolding voice

to say,

“Nana, I am asking you a serious question: Why did you get married

more than once?”

 

My answer was a combination of “love” and “hope.” I gave her a

big hug for asking and told her,

“Your Daddy and Mommy will  be like my own parents, they found

the right match and will put effort into keeping their family together

and happy.”

 

When it comes to teaching young children about the variations of

life,  sometimes their lessons may come from viewing children and

families at the beach, grocery store or church. Up until they go to

school, they may think their family unit is just fine. My youngest

daughter asked her Dad years ago to come to special events, but

she found that I was her ‘constant’ and her ‘home.’

 

A valuable book with lessons, which could be a ‘tool’ to open a

discussion about class levels and economic differences has been

recently published.  It is called, “Last Stop on Market Street.”

The author of this delightful book is Matt de la Pena. The

illustrations are created by Christian Robinson.

 

You may already know the lessons held within this book, but it

has a rich diversity of subjects with a little boy who questions

what is around him. There is an element of ‘Life doesn’t seem to

be fair’ to him, in his questions.

 

The subject of why children don’t have as many choices of clothing,

backpacks, coats, shoes and those things are often brought up after

some time spent in kindergarten has passed. This book would help

to give a picture to children of a whole different lifestyle, while it

also is done lovingly and beautifully.

 

There are places which address the subject of what children may

like to have new clothes and other things for their first day of school.

Some ‘Big Box Stores’ have bins where you may purchase glue sticks

for your own child or grandchild, along with tossing some into the

bin. There are places where you can go to get new coats, as well as

other nice new things, ‘vouchers’ for new shoes and backpacks. They

may be held at your county fairgrounds or they could be passed out

at a local charity location. It is nice to hope that each child can start

the school year, with a ‘level playing field,’ so those students who

have less in their household income can still feel ‘pride’ in their

back to school clothes and other accessories.

 

The new book, “Last Stop on Market Street” started a great

discussion with my grandies. They were interested in knowing if

I knew such and such, did this child have the same situation as

the little boy in the book? I think this book would be almost better

to present before they go off to school. It would help for those who

have more than others, to be careful not to judge nor ask too many

questions.

 

I would label this book a ‘break through’ book, one which is rare to

find with a powerful, but gently expressed, understated message.

 

As a boy is leaving church with his grandmother, he sighs in relief,

he feels like going outside is ‘freedom.’ He has probably wriggled

and twitched, feeling confined in the church.  The boy named C.J.

holds his grandmother’s hand while she holds an umbrella over

the top of their heads.

 

The two head off to a bus stop. There is mention of this being

their weekly procedure or routine. Not everyone has a car, a

house or food every day. There is a subtle way of letting the

reader and listener of the story find this out.

 

As he looks out a window of the bus, C.J. sees a friend in a car

with his father.  After the car zips on by the bus, C.J. wonders

aloud,

“Nana, how come we don’t get a car?”

 

Later, he notes a young man listening to a digital music player

and he displays the classical example of  kid’s  ‘I want. . .’ or

wishing for something obviously out of the grandmother’s

budget.

 

Each time his Nana responds with positive words. She makes the

bus ‘come alive’ for C.J. as if it were a ‘dragon.’ She reminds him

of the bus driver’s ‘magic’ trick he plays when they get on the bus.

She mentions that the young man playing a guitar on the bus,

is entertainment enough. A blind man teaches C.J. a lesson on

senses. There are wonderful elements in this book which you

will become enchanted with, too.

 

The colorful illustrations display a myriad of views of the

community on the outside of the bus, as they pass different

sights.

 

The lesson of life being full of excitement without any technical

devices or modern conveniences is not told directly but indirectly

shown through the unfolding tale.

 

As they get off the bus, C.J. wonders why they always have to go

on Sundays to the soup kitchen for their meal. This will help

open a discussion with children or grandchildren.  In this lovely

book, it reminds us that in the “Land of Plenty”  or America, we

may not always have neighbors, friends or people living one

short block over, with as much as we have. There is a sense of

global understanding, in the diversity of characters and culture

in this book.

 

A children’s book reviewer, Julie Danielson, expressed this:

“It’s not often that you see class addressed in picture books in

ways that are subtle and seamless, but in “Last Stop on Market

Street,” the affectionate story of a young boy and his grandmother

does just that.”

 

There is a new Valentine’s Day book to recommend. It is one of the

bunny books by author Jutta Langreuter and illustrated by Stephanie

Dahle.

“There’s No One I Love Like You.”

This German author has a series of “Little Bear” books and there

are a few in her native language, too.  One which looks interesting

and magical in its illustrations with German expressions  is called,

“Frida and die Kleine Waldhexe.”

 

If you have a favorite book for children and wish to include it,

please feel free to tell us about the book and its message, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Capturing Camelot”

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In Columbus, Ohio many wonderful displays come to be shown at

“The Schumacher Gallery” located on the nearby campus of Capital

University. From January 19 through March 25, 2015, you may view

the artistic work of famous photojournalist, Stanley Tretick. This is an

exhibit I am going to try to see very soon.

Stanley Tretick was given the great and valuable experience of being

present at the White House during President John F. Kennedy’s

years in office.  John and Jackie Kennedy were revered for their

youthfulness, energy and attractive appearances.

They became what some would call, “American Royalty.”

Many still consider Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis one of

the historic American icons of fashion. She embodied the word,

“glamour.”

There was a serious, deeper quality of beauty shown in her face

and posture. Jackie demonstrated poise and class, while still

showing warmth in her smiles aimed toward her husband,

newspaper reporters and two children, John John and Caroline.

There was a combination of romance and storytelling in the

way the Camelot period is shown and told. It is a fascinating

piece of history, ending in tragedy. It captured so many of

our minds and eyes, while watching it unfold.  Finally, the

famous assassination and funeral were ones we could not

take our eyes off of either.

There are many movies I could recommend about the story of

Jackie and John Kennedy, including the piece in the recent

movie, “The Butler.” The film covered five different presidents

the butler served. In the movie, there is a poignant scene with

the butler concerned for Jackie and later, his bending down to

talk to Caroline, hoping to help her feel better by offering to get

her a snack or a toy.

We grew up watching the film, “PT 109” about John Kennedy’s

military service which included an accident. This played havoc

on his own personal ongoing pain that wracked his body. Cliff

Robertson did a fine job in his portrayal of JFK. I liked the

movie, “Parkland,” which depicts Jackie’s courage and ‘grace

under fire,’ when her husband’s bleeding head was in her lap

on her clothing. This is also a surprisingly well done piece of

history about the final moments at the hospital. Zac Efron

really redeems himself with this movie. It may erase his

horrible performance in the awful movie, “The Neighbors.”

The advertisement for the display of photographs come with

this riveting description:

“John F. Kennedy was elected to the White House and the

American people embarked on a journey of 1,000 days into

a mythical world that former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy

would recall as Camelot.”

Stanley Tretick’s Iconic Images of the Kennedy’s brochure

closes with these words:

“Capturing Camelot reflects the magic of an era that

continues to inspire affection and nostalgia.”

You may wish to check the hours and there is a Schumacher

Gallery Face Book page, as well as this phone number:

(614)-236-6319 or check out the website listed below:

http://www.schumachergallery.org

Seeing the exhibit is like seeing part of our own history,

the pieces we may wish to remember in this lovely way.

The personal photographs are ones which show the one

behind the fairy tale, give us their personal moments. We

all like to look at photo albums, famous or our own family’s.

There is a part of me, maybe possibly all of us who grew up

during the sixties, who will never forget the Kennedy family.

Remembering Camelot and all the possibilities, it seemed to

reach for the stars and into our dreams.

What’s happening where you live?

Do you like to look for exhibits and special events which come to

your area only once a year, like the “Home and Garden Show?”

This next weekend, Vanilla Ice is going to be at our “H and G Show.”

Have you checked out any local galleries or “One of a Kind” events?

Wednesday is the Middle of the Week

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I laughed at this story joke my Mom sent me, especially since

she almost received a traffic ticket in the last months she lived

‘independently’ in Vermilion, Ohio. I hope this will give you a

chuckle or bring a smile to your face. . . since you are always on

my mind. . .

 

By the way, it is not Wednesday for some of us, but it may be

for you. . .

 

“Five Elderly Women” or “Five Old Ladies”

Sitting on the side of the highway waiting to catch speeding

drivers, a Police Officer saw a car puttering along at 22 MPH

or KPH. (Some of you use kilometers and others, miles per

hour.)

He said to himself,

“That driver is just as dangerous as a speeding driver!”

So, he turned on his siren and red flashing lights and

pulled the driver over.

 

Approaching the car, he noticed that there were five

ladies in the car. Two in the front seat and three in

the back. All were wearing their seat belts.

 

He also noticed that the ones who were passengers

were all ‘wide-eyed’ and ‘white as ghosts.’

 

The driver, obviously confused said to him,

“Officer, I don’t understand why I was pulled over!

I was doing exactly the speed limit. What seems to

be the problem?”

 

“Ma’am,” the policeman replied, “You were not going

too fast. I am not pulling you over for speeding today.

But you know driving slower than the speed limit can

also be a danger to other drivers.”

 

“Slower than the speed limit? No sir! I was doing the

speed limit exactly.

Twenty-two kilometers an hour!” The older woman

said a little bit proudly.

 

The police officer, trying to contain a tickle in his throat,

maintaining composure said,

“Ma’am, the highway is number 22 not the speed limit.”

 

A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the

officer for pointing out her error.

 

“But before I let you go, Ma’am, I have to ask, is everyone

in this car O.K.?

These women, your friends seem awfully shaken up. They

haven’t made a peep this whole entire time,” the officer

noted.

 

The lady driver spoke up for her friends,

“Oh, they will be all right in a minute officer. We just got

off of Highway 189.”

 

My Mom’s story is not quite as ‘cute’ as this one, but she

had decided to go on a ‘midnight run’ in her car to the

local Drug Mart in Vermilion, Ohio. If you go down a side

street from her home, you run into a perpendicular street

which you turn one more time and it is a ‘straight’ shot

to get there. She liked to go get Coca Cola and sometimes,

it was for pens, white-out or ice cream. One never knew

what she would be shopping for as she drove such late

hours.

 

She told me she had her dog, Nicki. Her patient dog of

now 14 years has black hair with some gray hairs, along

with white fur around her mouth and paws. She is a good

cute little dog, of the shih-tzu breed. My Mom let her sit

on her lap, since she felt most people would not be out

so late.

 

(When she told this to me the first time, I had to suppress

my laughter, just like the Police Officer in the story!)

 

Anyway, the straight main road goes up and over a bridge

(over a railroad track.)

So she went up the hill at 35 mph. but came down it going

45 mph. The police like to lurk at the bottom of the hill,

for unsuspecting people who may be from out of town.

Also, since this is not too far from a couple of local bars.

 

Mom used to ‘remember’ this particular cop and would

go even slower than 35 mph. Her memory was starting

to fade, by this time.

Like the woman in the above humorous story, she had

an innocent look on her face, I assume. My Mom is one

of the best ‘pretenders’ of things. She has received a few

different things just in the three years she has lived in

the Senior Living Apartments. For example by saying,

“I am out of such and such,” when she doesn’t get up

early enough to  ‘catch’ the bus to take her shopping.

Mom would end up having an apartment neighbor or

a diner at her evening meal, come by and bring her

something extra.

The last time I was there over the holidays, she boldly

told the woman who is the activities director, “I never

got balloons for my birthday.” (It was December, but

the woman gave her a bouquet of them. Her birthday

was in November.)

 

I have to add, if I can get away with this, someday in the

distant future, if I am wily  enough I will ‘aim for’ free

cupcakes and frosted cookies.

 

She told me the police man ‘ran her plates’ and found she

‘had not had any kind of accident nor speeding ticket in

the amount of time or history given for such experiences.’

 

When asked if she drove with her dog on her lap all the

time, my Mom honestly responded, “Only after midnight

when no one can see her on my lap.”

 

He let her go with a ‘warning.’

 

Unfortunately, within a month of this occurrence she had

an accident and hit her head in the bathtub, which made

my brothers take her to the hospital, worried about her

thinking processes. She also had been ‘bouncing’ checks,

losing track of which days she should wait for her deposits.

There were a number of concerns by her neighbors and

we all agreed, winters alone especially on Lake Erie are

just not ‘safe’ for Mom anymore.

 

When we would go anywhere, once we moved her to a

safer environment, Mom would produce her driver’s

license and say,

“They may take my car and home away but I still

have this to show I can drive until next year!”

 

Do you have a favorite ‘oldies’ joke?

I like ones about ‘senior moments’ especially, but also

enjoy ones about children and animal jokes.

 

Another direction of comments may go to something

that happened with one of your parents which made

you laugh out loud.

Feel free to spread the smiles around. . .

 

 

 

“The One You Feed”

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There is a parable which really has me thinking about our Native

American culture and their intuitive minds. It is always nice to get

our minds working, especially from a different perspective.

 

There is  a “podcast” called, “Good Life Project,” which focused on

this story first. The parable is simply what choices we make in how

we ‘feed’ our souls.  It ‘spoke’ to me about so much in a short amount

of words.

 

The entrepreneur and business consultant, Chris Zimmer and his

friend, Eric Forbes, developed a podcast played on iTunes out of

Columbus, Ohio. It is an interactive podcast and has reached huge

numbers of responses.

 

Zimmer is a follower of the podcast, “Good Life Project,” by Jonathan

Fields. He wanted to come up with his own ‘angle’ on using the parable

about two wolves. He explained why he invited his long-time friend,

Forbes, to join him in this quest to analyze the impact of this subject

upon new listeners and followers of the podcast, “One You Feed.”

 

The people who respond to the parable may choose to give up their

addictions such as food, alcohol, drugs, and other areas of their life

which ‘drain’ and ‘take away’ from their fully functioning lives.

Personal areas of lives are openly expressed on the podcasts. This is

reminiscent of the days when you would hear radio broadcasters

encouraging people to ‘call in and spill your guts’ on subjects.

 

There are still many radio announcers today doing just this sort of

thing. The idea of podcasts creates more of an international audience

rather than just ‘local call-in’s.’ It is still a very popular way of sharing

private areas of people’s lives. The same process is found on a wide

variety of television talk shows and self-help programs out there,

where this happens daily.

 

The subject matter may not be as deep as this parable leads you.

Taking you into your own inner workings and promoting self-

awareness seem to be two valuable processes that come out of

reading this parable.

 

I believe and hope this parable will stay in your mind for quite some

time. If you are not ‘into’ sharing publicly on the radio, a podcast or

television talk show, you may start a conversation with your family

or friends after you tell them this story.

 

“THE PARABLE”

“A man tells his grandchildren about a fight going on inside him,

a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger,

envy, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment and ego.

 

The other wolf stands for joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness,

empathy, truth and generosity.

 

‘This same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person,

too,’ he added.

 

One child asked, ‘Which wolf will win?’

 

The old Cherokee grandfather simply replied,

‘The one you feed.'”

 

Here is a quote about the podcast by Forbes:

“Most surprising to me is the success of the podcast. Eric and I knew

going in that we would have fun doing it, but it quickly became much

larger than just having fun.”

Zimmer also had a dream guest list for his podcast, which includes

some fantastic guests:  “Leonard Cohen, Dalai Lama, Pope Francis,

and other spiritual leaders. Zimmer credits the work of Buddhist

nun Pema Chodron, (another ‘dream guest’) for basically saving

his life through her powerful book, “When Things Fall Apart.”

He continues by saying, “It’s beautiful the way Pema Chodron

sees the world.”

Where did Zimmer and Forbes come from? They are both Ohio

residents from Worthington, Ohio. They view the world from a

Midwestern viewpoint, down to earth, practical and nothing

fancy. Their podcast has had a few notable guests, Lewis Howes,

a professional athlete with roots in Columbus, Ohio. Also, Ohio

Congressman, Tim Ryan, who  wrote, “A Mindful Nation.”

 

If you are interested in joining the ‘conversation’ about the wolf

parable or listen to others who have been guests on this podcast,

you may check out topics covered, articles, websites, blogs and

in some cases, free guides or books at:

 

http://OneYouFeed.net

 

Thank you Jenny Patton who wrote an interesting and much more

detailed article in the January, 2015 “Natural Awakenings” magazine.

You may check her out at her email address: Patton.220@osu.edu.

 

Mystery about a Sister

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Be prepared to read about a woman’s story, one which may or may

not have been relevant and meaningful to the musical world. I feel

there is a true basis and possibility that she made a big difference in

how her famous brother became who he was. I have to admit, I was

on my  own personal “movie fest” over the weekend. Originally I was

thinking, I would just post some of my favorites and give short film

critiques.

 

Somehow, this evolved into something ‘bigger’ than I expected. It

was time-consuming and yet, I felt like a private investigator with

her mind open and ready for understanding and analyzing the facts.

I looked up, using different sources, to find out more about this

fascinating woman.

 

Now that I may, or may not, have your attention, I will tell you the

riveting movie that led to my research.

 

MOVIE REVIEW:

“Mozart’s Sister,” a French film which needs you to read the sub-titles.

 

In the movie,  which came out in 2011, Rene Feret is the director

and a young actress who is his daughter, Marie Feret, plays the

sister to her character’s famous younger brother. Historical details

that were  discerned through research shall follow this summary of

this fine movie.

 

First, here are three splendid comments from famous reviewers,

starting with one who’s deceased.  Roger Ebert, “Chicago Sun-Times,”

was always one of my favorite reviewers. He is such a trustworthy

man to recommend movies.

(Of course, many of you will recognize his name and the television

show which I used to enjoy- “Siskel and Ebert at the Movies.”)

 

Here is what Roger Ebert said of, “Mozart’s Sister:”

“Marie Feret is luminous.” (in this role.)

 

David Noh, “Film Journey” says:

“A triumph!”

 

Ronnie Scheib, “Variety” Magazine:

“A treat for classical music lovers and cinephiles alike.”

 

What was a turning point in this movie which motivated me to

investigate and research?

What happened to make me seek the truth?

 

When Leopold Mozart, father of Maria Anna (also referred to as

Marianne and affectionately known as, “Nannerl”) tells his only

daughter when she is interested in writing musical compositions,

“Harmony and counterpoint are not understood by women.”

 

Of course, this caused me to say indignantly to my television screen

which was innocently displaying the film,

“That’s outrageous!”

 

Big sister, “Nannerl,” is helpful to toddler brother, “Wolfie,” and

helps him practice his keyboard lessons on a harpsichord. This

baroque instrument is lovely sounding. The scales and other early

beginning lessons are closely supervised by their father.

 

At age 5 or 6, “Wolfie” is paraded in front of wealthy families and

is also given an audience with royalty. He is a cute boy and shows

great potential and musical aptitude. The film shows Wolfgang

using creative interpretation of the music and dramatic arm

flourishes. He was supposedly beginning to write his own musical

compositions at age 4 or 5.

 

In the beginning of the movie,  their coach’s wheel breaks after

going over a rut in the country road. It is late and the Mozart family

stays in a nearby nunnery. It is interesting to note that there are

two sisters living there. Their story emphasizes the difference in

the way male and female genders were treated in this period of time.

The two girls have been shuffled and taken away from the palace,

being raised by nuns.

 

At one point, there is a name mentioned of the two girls’ brother,

who is being raised to be a ‘Royal.’ The part that Maria Anna plays,

and is asked to carry out a charade, is to transport a letter to their

brother, if the Mozart family should be ever happen to appear at

Court. Anna Maria treasures this new friendship and promises to

keep the letter safe and take it to their estranged brother.

 

This movie would engage someone who has been enjoying the inner

workings of the staff and upper class levels or tiers of British society

on the PBS show, “Downton Abbey.” Although this is a whole other

period of time, there are still the ideas of class structure and family

expectations being expressed. Definitely, it is an eye-opener in both

the film about the late 1700’s and the television series of the 1900’s.

Traditions and historical details about clothing, customs and roles

women and men played also are featured in both of these storylines.

 

At the end of the film, there is not much said about Nannerl’s  being

anything but helpful to her brother.  There are no illusions that she

may have helped Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart compose his greatest

works.

 

In the movie’s middle,  there is a nice romantic interlude, where

Maria Anna disguises herself as a boy, in a white-haired wig, to give

the hand written letter to the young Monarch from his sister. They

use the young man’s title in the film as ‘Louis XV.’ This story becomes

a very sweet part of the movie. I will not tell you about how it unfolds,

hoping you will someday pursue viewing this one. I will say it depicts

Nannerl’s character as having spunk, showing independence and also,

her romantic side.

 

Before the credits roll, there are a few sparse details given. The written

lettering after the movie ends mentions Maria Anna helped to write

some of her own sonatas as a young woman. It mentions she helped

Wolfgang transcribe his first writings, since he scribbled them. There

is a subtle undertone of the possibility that she was his ‘muse.’  As his

sister, she may have written (created) some of his early works.

 

The movie has places that explain traditional upbringing of “fine young

ladies.” The women are encouraged to wait on men, not to further their

education. Maria Anna tries to ‘rock the establishment.’ Her mother has

disappointment and her father shows anger for her independent streak.

She doesn’t wish to follow the social order of the period. I was rooting

for her, all the way!

 

RESEARCH:

If you enjoy history and reading about a famous person’s family,

you may enjoy this part of the post. . .

 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived from January 1756 until December,

1791. There is confusion about why he died at such an early age of 35.

 

He was the son of a musician and teacher of music, Leopold Mozart.

His mother was named Anna. He was born in Salzburg, which later

became part of, or known as,  Austria. Wolgang’s father and mother

had seven children, only two that lived beyond infancy. The oldest

living child was a daughter named Maria Anna, nicknamed, “Nannerl.”

There were four years between the two children, sister and brother.

 

When Wolfgang was 3 years old, his sister was learning her lessons,

which included language, music and reading. She was practicing

with her brother close by her side. Later, she would be by his side,

while he was the one leading the lessons. This relationship lasted

probably all of their childhood. “Wolfie” was her little shadow,

trying to do everything she did.

 

There is a notebook that Leopold made for Maria Anna, which is

known as “Nannerl’s Notenbuch” or also written as, “Notenbuch

fur Nannerl.” In English, this was “Nannerl’s Music Book.” This

amazing composition book demonstrated the first lessons that

Leopold gave to her, along with her brother. It consists of only

(originally) 48 pages, now only 36 pages remain.  This book has

her father’s exercises for her practicing beginner harpsichord

pieces. This also included anonymous minuets and some of her

father’s  original  works.  Two composers,  Carl P. E. Bach and

George C. Wagenseil, had their pieces transcribed as passages

in this musical exercise book.

 

In 1982, a man (just a coincidence) named Wolfgang Plath

studied the handwriting within the Notebook and attributed

the variety to consist of five different handwriting samples

or sources. There are evidences of the collaboration between

Leopold, the father, and his son, “Wolfie.”

 

Leopold took his family touring around countries and the cities

of Vienna, Austria and Paris, France. Maria Anna Mozart was

born in 1751 and lived 78 years, until 1829. When she became a

young lady, it was considered inappropriate for her to continue

to publicly play the harpsichord, piano or sing. Up until she was

18, Maria was part of her musical touring family. A biographer

considered her to be a great singer and an,

“Excellent harpsichord player and fortepiano player.”

 

Sadly, there is no mention about Nannerl being a conduit, or

letter transporter, between the sisters raised in a nunnery and a

member of Louis XV’s “Court” or “Royalty.”  This was the main

part of the plot I enjoyed in the movie I reviewed earlier.

 

At age 18, Maria Anna went home to Salzburg with her mother,

to teach musical lessons and stay at home. The following reason

was mentioned in one source,

“This was due to her being of marriageable age.”

 

Wolfgang and his father both wrote letters to Maria Anna which

some have been saved. Wolfgang during the 1770’s, was touring

in Italy and mentioned Nannerl’s writing musical compositions

and Wolfgang goes so far as to ‘praise her musical works.’

 

There are no references in her multiple letters from her father

to any of her own musical compositions in his correspondence.

 

An interesting note (and slightly salacious fact) is mentioned

in some of the biographers’ notes about Maria Anna’s and

Wolfgang’s close, intimate relationship. When they were young,

they developed a “secret language” and they had an “imaginary

kingdom.” They pretended they were married and carried out

their positions while playing together, as “Queen” and “King.”

 

There are a few indications and there is evidence of Wolfgang’s

using sexual wordplay which he used in other letters to his

lovers or girlfriends. This can be found also in the words he

chose and were included in his writing to his sister. One

historian considers this to be a ‘strange relationship’ for a

sister and a brother.

 

As an aside, my two brothers and I would play ‘house’ but

we would not have myself be the “mother” and one of my

brothers be the “father.” We would instead play that one of

the brothers was the “father” and other brother and I were

his “children.” Like the old television show, “Family Affair,”

where the uncle has “Buffy” and twins “Cissy” and “Jody.”

(I used to love this show, with Sebastian Cabot playing the

butler/nanny and Brian Keith playing the bachelor uncle.

did you know it ran from 1966 until 1971?) Or I would play

the ‘mother’ role and the brothers were my ‘kids.’ We usually

had company or neighbors over.  Once in awhile, they would

‘marry’ one of my girlfriends, or once in awhile, I would ‘marry’

one of their guy friends. I mention this to confirm that I would

also think it strange that the siblings played ‘Queen and King’

together over a Kingdom.

 

A sad note about Maria Anna’s independence shown in the

movie, “Mozart’s Sister.” This is not to be found anywhere in

any biographies or any letters. She is shown to be subservient

to her father, allowing him to forbid her to marry a man named,

“Franz d’Ippold.”  They were both young, he was a Captain and

a private tutor. When he proposed, there is an implication she

would have liked to say, “Yes.”  There is a letter in the family’s

collection where her brother, Wolfgang, tried to persuade her to

stand up to her father. Ultimately, Maria Anna was ‘forced’ to

turn down Captain Franz d’Ippold’s proposal.

 

Years went by, Maria Anna was allowed to marry at age 32, when

asked by a man named Johann Baptist Franzvan Berchtold  “un

Sonnenburg.” They were  married in 1783.  Listen to the “fun” life

Maria Anna participated in:  She became the wife of a widower

with five children she helped to raise. She had three more of her

own children with Johann. When she had her first born son,

she named him Leopold. Her father insisted on taking the her

only son to raise him in Salzburg at his home. The biography

doesn’t mention her mother’s role in this drama. From 1785

until he died in 1787, Leopold Sr. wrote letters and in a journal

telling about his toilet training Jr. and teaching him how to talk.

 

There was no mention of the boy’s illness nor a reason why he

should not have been raised as a baby until age 2 by his own

mother.  There is some speculation for her father’s thinking he

would raise another musical prodigy. Since he felt he was the

reason Wolfgang A. Mozart turned out the way he did.

 

After all, Leopold Mozart, Sr. did write and publish a violin

music textbook.

 

SUMMARY:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was known for his classical

musical compositions, which included over 600 works.

They include symphonies, concertos, operas and choral

music.

 

Beethoven, while young, lived in the shadow of Mozart.

During his early years composing his own original music,

he was constantly compared to Mozart’s body of work.

 

Composer, Joseph Hayden said of Mozart’s legacy:

“Posterity will not see such a talent in another 100 years.”

 

Wolfgang A. Mozart married Constanze and had two sons.

He died at the early age of 35 years old.

His magnificent “Requiem” was never completed.

His music is still revered and considered the best in classical

music.

 

Maria Anna was never given any credit (that I could find out

about) for her influence on her brother’s music nor were any

of her musical compositions published. The book, “Nannerl’s

Notenbuch” is not considered to be anything but her lesson

book to practice and play music using the hand written

exercises.

 

I need to see the movie, “Amadeus,”  (again) to see if there

are any musical or notable references to his sister. If you

have a good memory or recently seen this, let me know in

the comments whether there is mention of Anna Maria

Mozart please.

 

I strongly recommend, “Mozart’s Sister” as a film to savor

and enjoy, while wishing the story line really happened.

 

Truthfully, being an older sister myself, how could “Nannerl”

NOT have had an influence upon her little brother, “Wolfie?”

 

Either way you look at this famous musician’s life,

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart made a huge impact

on the musical world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awards I Missed and Friendships Accidentally “Lost”

Image

May I use the excuse I swallowed sips out of

Alice’s cups of tea?  The result being a kind

of time-warp or life-changing experience

that happened due to this extremely

odd and strange adventure?

 

May I say that there are far too many friends

out there who are on my “To Do” list? Along

with my adorable six grandchildren who may

resemble the “Munchkins.” Maybe this is really

just my coming back from Oz  via a Tornado or

another exciting, rare weather extravaganza?

 

Oh, dear! I am going to tell you that there

are so many who recognize my apologies,

those who have been stuck in Spam-land,

those who I regularly read and follow, but

sometimes miss and don’t comment to you.

Then, there are the ones who are kind and

generous, who mention my name or blog,

who also give me nominations for fun awards.

 

I have a long list of thank you’s to hand out.

I wish to give a BIG Thank You

to all my followers!

You make me smile,

just by knowing you

are out there.

I love to see the little flags

and countries you all live in.

Along with reading

the comments and

pictures I see of your

faces or the images

you have chosen to

represent yourselves.

 

Thanks to Amanda for her wishing me to

have the “One Lovely Blog Award.”

Thank you for your

nomination for

this sweet and

extra nice

award!

You may know already I will

hand out a few ‘shout outs’

to my newest

friends.

 

Here’s to you Amanda!

Cheers and thanks

for the fun celebration

where she said we could

sip champagne

and glitter

may fall

upon

us.

 

Check Amanda out at:

http://insidethelifeofmoi.wordpress.com

I recommend, “Amanda’s

Best Bits of the Year” post.

 

Also, if you like to look back for the award

post in November when Amanda awarded

me a nomination for “One Lovely Blog Award.”

 

I found a long-lost daughter who is very

creative and could easily fit into my clan.

You ‘had me,’ when you asked me, “Mom?”

Smiles to my new girl!

http://verybangled.com

 

A wonderful friend and very artistic person

who brightens her posts with colorful, bright

and beautiful creations is Pauline King.

When I posted my January calendar

I shared all the activities, events and

holidays, including a few birthdays.

Pauline featured the fact that Rod Stewart’s

and Tom Selleck’s birthdays made her happy,

sending some of her readers to visit my post.

Thank you so much, Pauline! Check her out:

The Contented Crafter

http://paulinekingblog.wordpress.com

 

Brenda just mentioned me on her blog that has

amazing poems, haiku’s with folk and fairy tales.

She uses her own original photographs and lots

of creativity to make her place a warm, inviting

and friendly place to visit. Brenda surprised me

with a nomination for the

“Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.”

Thank you very much, Brenda!

Brenda may be found at:

http://friendlyfairytales.wordpress.com

 

I received a nomination for “The Versatile

Blogger Award,” from my friends Maria and

Doris, who have beautiful and creative posts

 

full of sweet drawings and lovely storytelling.

 

Please check out this amazing combination:

http://mudpilewood.wordpress.com

Also, to see Doris’ ‘Terrains of Symmetry’:

http://miartedoris.wordpress.com

To admire and enjoy Doris’ projects:

http://dorispacheco.wordpress.com

 

Now, I shall think of a few people who may have

never been presented nominations and suggest

each to pick any one of the three special awards:

 

“One Lovely Blog Award,”

“The Versatile Blogger Award,”

“Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.”

 

Each of the above awards has its own special designed

logo or patch to find, which leads me to remind you

to go to those who passed the awards to me, should

you wish to display the special and deluxe emblems.

 

1. Bela is poetic and features photos or artwork

to go with her creative thoughts at:

http://belasbrightideas.wordpress.com

 

2. Funny Eli has his interesting male take

on the world of parenting. Find him at:

http://coachdaddyblog.wordpress.com

 

3. The beauty through words along with their

imagery is shown here. I enjoyed a pet post on:

http://smilecalm.wordpress.com

 

4. Comfort and joy is found at Anneli’s blog:

http://wordsfromanneli.wordpress.com

 

5. Somehow, I feel compelled to share this

man’s thoughtful posts at:

http://yeseventhistoowillpass.wordpress.com

 

6. Linda, who focuses on nature and outdoors.

We both enjoy birds and their songs.

http://naturestoresme.wordpress.com

 

7. Sometimes, you need to go somewhere to relax,

unwind and take in the most breath-taking views.

I have featured Tracy before but it has been ages:

http://tllsci.wordpress.com

 

8. Shel, we are just getting to know each other,

reading blogs and she already seems like a friend:

http://shelharrington.com

 

9. The prolific writer of “tanka’s” gives me quick bits

of “zen”  and sometimes sends my mind soaring at:

http://rainbowsutra.wordpress.com

 

10. Sheila and I have re-connected, so glad we have.

You know what happens, time goes by and suddenly

you miss an old friend? Please check out Sheila at:

http://redsrantsandraves.com

 

11. Somewhere over the rainbow, where

there are homemade colorful lanterns,

 

and markets of special, uniquely

patterned bright fabrics:

http://refreshinglyrandom.wordpress.com

 

Sometimes, in blogging,

we don’t get evidence

we are following

someone

in our Reader.

This is what happens,

I am sticking to this story.

 

 

If you have been on any other list

of previous Award Nominations,

I truly do wish to give you a

Prize

each and every time.

I mean this, in all sincerity.

You

are

a

Prize!