Category Archives: The Beatles

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?

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Full Moon

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In my monthly June post, I let you know that the name for the Full Moon

this week is called, Strawberry Full Moon. On Wednesday, as I walked

my youngest daughter out to her car, since we had spent awhile having

dinner, along with watching a movie it was getting late. It was dark, but

there was a brightness in the sky. I let out an excited, “Look at the moon!”

Together we gazed at it, she giving it more than a passing glance, knowing

that the sky holds a little extra meaning to our family.

We hugged each other tightly, arms wrapped around each other.

We noted it was looking bright and lovely in the cool night air. There has

been a neat way that the clouds seem to spread, dissipating into wisps,

around the moon.

The warm daytime temperatures and the cooler night air has created great

‘cloud cover.’ Last night, the moon was showing its shiny, gray-pocketed

face for all to see.

I found several strawberry messages to share with you. I do so love the

sweet and a little tart taste of strawberries! Do you love them, too?

In the following “Camp Song,” we used to sing at Girl Scout camp, there

is a reference repeated about strawberries. I remember this song, like

the ‘back of my hand.’ I have sung it to my own three children at their

bedtime, more recently to my grandchildren. This is one of a few that

have strawberries in their lyrics!

The New Christy Minstrels used to sing this and my parents had it on

one of their albums. I did not initiate singing this song while away at

camp. This song, “Today,” must have been popular enough for a camp

counselor to have memorized and shared with us. It is sweet with a

guitarist, sitting with it on his or her knees, strumming along to the

melody.

Sitting around a campfire, from ages 11 until age 18, I used to sing it.

I enjoyed ed’ camping trips with the local Bay Village Boy Scouts,

taking down the tents that were canvas off the platforms at Camp Hilaka.

This would be in the Fall, in Richfield, Ohio.

When you read the lyrics, you may not think that Juliette Gordon Low,

the founder of Girl Guides, later known as Girl Scouts, would have

approved! There is the repeated verse with ‘wine’ included!

” Today”

 

“Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine,

I’ll taste your strawberries,

I’ll drink your sweet wine.

A million tomorrows shall all pass away,

‘Ere I forget all the joy that is mine. . .

Today.

Oh, I’ll be a dandy or I’ll be a rover,

You’ll know who I am, by the song that I sing.

I’ll feast at your table,

I’ll sleep in your clover.

Who cares what tomorrow may bring?

I can’t be contented with yesterday’s glory,

I can’t live on promises Winter to Spring.

Today is my moment and now is my story,

I’ll laugh and I’ll cry and I’ll sing.

(Repeating…)

Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine,”

Of course, another very popular song that includes, the word,

“strawberry” in it is: “Strawberry Fields Forever” by the Beatles.

Here is a fun list of different references to Strawberries:

1. Grandmother’s homemade strawberry jam

2. Aunt Amy’s freezer strawberry jam

3. McDonald’s strawberry and crème pies (2 for $1.59)

4. Strawberries and cream

5. Strawberry shortcake

6. Strawberry Shortcake and her Friends. (dolls)

7. Strawberry Cool Whip

8. Strawberry shakes

9. Strawberry malts

10. Neopolitan has chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream

also, what we call ice cream cookies.

11. Strawberry Skittles, the red ones are my favorites!

12. Strawberry Twizzlers

13. Strawberry pie, with fresh strawberries and a glaze over it.

(Served with big dollops of whipped cream!)

14. Boone’s Farm Strawberry Wine

(Don’t drink too much, sickeningly sweet, not fun coming up!)

15. Suave brand shampoo, Strawberry Shampoo and Conditioner

16. Strawberry lip gloss

(I used to put this on my lips, during high school. I got some

compliments for this habit. Also, used it to kiss the envelopes

to my college boyfriend, future first husband, signing off with

“Sealed with a Kiss.”)

Instead of focusing on the Friday the 13th, I hope you enjoyed this!

I am sure there are many more songs, memories and fun things

you may have thought of, hope if this triggered any interesting

stories, you will share them with us!

 

 

The Week’s Winding Down…

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Although I think that we are almost all glad that it is coming

closer to the weekend, I do feel for those who work ‘weekend shifts’

and also, have to do second jobs, that begin on Friday. I thought I

would indulge you in another ‘play on words’ by using the words,

winding down. In this context and use of winding, the definition

almost means to ‘unwind.’ I won’t be able to carry on a long and

fun song list, like I did when I used two weeks’ of Monday’s to

incorporate the words, “rain,” “rainy,” and storms…

One song comes immediately to mind, “The Long and Winding Road,”

by the Beatles. I do so love that song!

On the subject of weather, it is a little S T R E T C H, but I would

like to have fun with songs with weather in them!

The first song with wind in it, of course would be Bob Dylan’s 1962

“Blowin’ in the Wind.” His distinctive voice lends a touch of character

and sensitivity to the song. Time does not change the remarkable lyrics,

that begin with the words,

“How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?”

It talks about doves who sleep in the sand and it gets to the impact

of guns and bombs…

“How many cannonballs must fly, before they are forever banned?”

And the chorus,

“The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind…”

I think it became a peace anthem and anti-war one, too. I enjoy the

trio of Peter, Paul and Mary’s version, the best! Their blended

voices, in unison, form a perfect edition.

You may discover several famous artists who have performed this

song, over the years.

I heard the old song, “Windy,” on the radio station that plays out of

Mansfield, Ohio. I was driving on my way home from Mom’s over the

weekend. I could not help being taken back to a special memory far

in the depths of my brain… and long ago. Songs sure do take you

places!

The song, “Windy,” was recorded by a group called “The Association,”

and released in 1967. The song was sung various places, including

the Ravinia Festival. Ruthann Friedman wrote this ‘catchy’ little

popular song about a man. The groups who recorded it were all

male, so the character, “Windy,” became female.

Here are just the first two verses, you may remember the chorus,

by the time you start singing it!

“Who’s peekin’ out from under a stairway,

Calling a name that’s lighter than air?

Who’s bending down to give me a rainbow?

Everyone knows it’s Windy.

Who’s tripping down the streets of the city,

Smiling at everybody she sees?

Who’s reachin’ out to capture a moment,

Everyone knows it’s Windy…”

This song has played on Top 100 lists and is one that my dear

parents would sing along to, in the car on long road trips.

It has some pleasant memories attached to it for me, lying on a

stack of pillows and blankets, with my two sleeping brothers, in

the back of a station wagon. Mom said, “I love you, Bob,” when it

was finished.

Have you heard this song before? I wondered about its familiarity

and age, if young people will recognize it. Any romantic thoughts

attached to this song for you?

The song, “Windy,’ has been presented in different ways. It

was incorporated into a “Breaking Bad” episode, lending it a kind

of ‘creepy’ vibe for me, (2011). It is played in a January, 2014

television show called, “Mike and Molly.” It is when Molly goes to

see her stepfather at a warehouse.

It has been included in a long list of romantic songs, with the

likes of “Cherish” and “Along Comes Mary.” The singers who have

recorded this in their albums have been diverse. Andy Williams,

Barry Manilow and others. I remembered the group, Gary Lewis and

the Playboys, but had forgotten their rendition of the song, “Windy.”

It has also been recorded as an instrumental song, played more in a

jazzy way, than its original sensitive, ‘pop’ song style.

Another interesting fact is that the song is in a Charlie Chan movie,

(1930). A male character in the movie, whistles in a similar tune

and rhythm as the song, “Windy.” He is gazing at a mirror.

This is utilized as a sweet serenade, in that it has no purpose but

to create a carefree moment.

There is a deeper message in the “Colors of the Wind,” by Stephen

Schwarz and Alan Menken. The children’s animated film that featured

this song, was called “Pocahontas.” Judy Kuhn voiced the character,

but later Vanessa Williams sang the song. It won Best Original Song,

at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and at the Grammy’s in 1995, it

won Best Song Written for a Film. It is talking about Mother Nature,

Native Americans and our need to become careful inhabitants of the

earth and planet. I like the way the person singing it says, they

know every rock, tree and creature on the Earth. Each has a life,

a spirit and a name.

This is the chorus with wind included in it!

“Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon

Or the Eagle tell you where he’s been?

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?

Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?”

It is the same channel that featured the Rod Stewart “Classic”

called, “Maggie Mae.” I love his whiskey, gruff sounding voice,

that can give me chills with his emotional expressions.

It is almost May, which makes me happy that April is coming to

a close and excited about what is just around the corner.

I found a lovely quote by Helen Steiner Rice, who graces many

beautiful cards in Cracker Barrel, with her sweet messages.

The cards usually look like misty mornings, fiery sunsets or

floral arrangements. I like when they pair H. S. Rice’s words

with a country scene, possibly dandelions or daisies in an

overgrown grassy, dormant field. I like to picture dragonflies

and pretty butterflies, dancing in the warm, hazy sunshine.

“There’s Sunshine in a Smile”

Life is a mixture of sunshine and rain.

Laughter and pleasure, teardrops and pain.

All days can’t be bright, but it’s certainly true,

There was never a cloud the sun didn’t shine through~

So just keep on smiling whatever betide you.

Secure in the knowledge God (or your Higher Being) is always

beside you.

And you’ll find when you smile your day will be brighter

And all of your burdens will seem so much lighter~

For each time you smile you will find it is true

Somebody, somewhere will smile back at you,

And nothing on earth can make life more worthwhile

Thank the sunshine and warmth of a beautiful smile.”

Take a ‘bow,’ Helen Steiner Rice, nicely expressed!

Rainy Days and Mondays

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Today is Monday and it does have a foreboding forecast of

sleeting rain and even, in the northern part of Ohio and

other areas of the country: Snow!

The most memorable song, which includes the variability of

our weather forecast for tonight is, “Cold Rain and Snow,”

by the Grateful Dead, 1966. Its original song was an upbeat

tempo rock song, but is also recorded more slower paced.

We can feel cheerful when we remember the way our elementary

teachers had us draw, paint or write about this little ditty:

“April Showers Bring May Flowers…”

I used to staple umbrellas and ducks for the month of April on

my bulletin board in my preschool and elementary school teaching

days. My teaching assistant and I used to like to use chocolate

pudding to create ‘mud’ during our finger painting art times. Once

their paintings would dry, we would have the children the next

day paint pink pigs. Which later, we cut out and glued in their

“mud holes.” I used the pattern of Wilbur, from the book,

“Charlotte’s Web,” by E. B. White to draw on fingerpaint paper.

The subject of ‘rain’ is one that could include multiple choices!

It all depends on your mood or what reference point that leads to

the subject matter. Your mood can be affected by when it comes to

which thing or event reminds you of it. Whatever triggers you

into rain’ it can be powerful in its message. The word can evoke

imagery.

Rain can be deep, richly laced with symbolism.

Rain is a ‘favorite’ or popular subject found in poetry, musical

lyrics and movies. It is the subject of the Shakespeare play,

“The Tempest,” and the movie, “The Perfect Storm.”

Then, there are the simpler, less nuanced, basic levels that

come to mind when you think of ‘rain.’ Of course, coworkers

and people one runs into on the street, often talk about the

weather! Everyone uses this as one of the ‘blandest’ and most

common denominator of subjects.

It can also evoke memories of good times where the song

brings back fun thoughts. Then, due to its darker side

which includes such diverse elements as cloudy skies,

lightning, thunder and storms, it can hold serious ‘weight’

to it. It can be a dangerous event or subject. Monsoons,

typhoons and storms while boats or ships are out to sea are not at

all light-hearted subjects.

There are familiar expressions that include those same words, too.

I like the fact that there are a couple of movies with the subject

of ‘rain,’ included in them.

Some have theme songs, that are paired where they are remembered

as ones that originated in the movies. There are songs which simply

imply the subject matter of rain in their lyrics.

When people complain about too much rain, they say it is ‘raining

cats and dogs.’ This probably brings smiles to children and ones

learning English!

There are many people who have not lived through a drought or a

monsoon, so they should be careful when they complain about the

weather. It could certainly be much worse!

Here is everything I could come up with, from the top of my mind,

on the subject of Rain:

1. “It’s raining, it’s pouring the old man is

snoring,…” This is a rather silly nursery rhyme or old saying

chanted in a singsong manner.

2. I love that breathy rhythm and blues song called, “Stormy Weather,”

don’t you? This was sung in 1933, for the first time in the famous,

“Cotton Club,” by Ethel Waters. The movie of the same name, is still

considered one of the best musicals, with an ethnically diverse cast.

The beautiful singer, Lena Horne, is included in that cast. I highly

recommend this, if you have never seen it!

3. Although not really fitting with the theme of the movie, B.J.

Thomas’ song, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” was featured in

a light-hearted break in the movie, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance

Kid.”

I love the picture I get in my mind, of Paul Newman riding in circles,

with the actress, Katherine Ross, on his bicycle’s handlebars. My

favorite lines in that song are not about the rain, but about the sun

and the way you can change your mood: (Remember “I did some talking

with the sun…”)

“But there’s one thing I know,

the blues they may send to meet me,

won’t defeat me.

It won’t be long, till happiness

comes up to greet me.”

4. “Rainy Days and Mondays (Always Get Me Down)” can get me both

sad and weepy or on better days, just nostalgic. My memories of

the Carpenters include how they were guests on variety shows.

Since Karen Carpenter’s voice is so beautiful in this song, I

try to remember the gifts of their voices and songs the sister

and brother sang together. Richard must have been devastated after

his sister died accidentally of her body shutting down from the

serious illness of anorexia nervosa.

5. I cannot help remembering the excitement I felt, when I heard the

song, “It’s Raining Men.” (“Alleluia!”) It is credited to be sung

by the Weather Girls, but somehow I thought Donna Summer also sang

it.

6. In the song, “Let It Rain,” Eric Clapton created a true iconic

song. He married a central Ohio woman, which makes me happy. His

song about the death of his son, he wrote into a song, “Tears in

Heaven.”

7. If rain were colors, then I would like “Purple Rain,” but

the song and movie, with Prince the singer (who now uses a

symbol to represent himself), is very dark and includes an

abusive life.

8. On the “B” side of the record that had a much more famous

Beatles’ song of “Paperback Writer,” is the one which is now

featured in a Cirque de’ Soleil musical simply called, “Rain.”

9. One of my oldest daughter’s favorite groups, during her middle

school years, was Creedence Clearwater Revival. We used to just

say, “CCR.” There are two songs with the word rain in it that we

enjoyed. Our favorite was “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” and the

second was, “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” They are not the same and both

carry different messages.

10. Who can forget the group, “The Eurythmics?” They sang a really

meaningful song, which became overplayed and lost its importance.

“Here Comes the Rain Again.”

11. There are Bob Dylan songs with rain in them, but only remember,

“Buckets of Rain.” What is another one?

12. I love and adore James Taylor’s, “Fire and Rain.” If the first,

beginning notes or chords are played, I have to turn my radio up

loud and sing the words with him!

13. An ‘oldie but goodie,’ that Melvin reminded me of, at lunch

today, was another ‘favorite’ of mine: “The Temptations” singing,

“I Wish it Would Rain.”

The final reference for rain, that you have been waiting for,

asking, “Did she forget it or what?” is…

The movie and song, “Singing in the Rain!”

Simply a fun and sunny outlook on rain, with Gene Kelly, Debbie

Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. Gene Kelly’s voice and dancing

erase all the bad moments and memories on the subject of Rain!

 

Adding a postscript today, July 30, 2014:

There is a definition in the urban dictionary, where they accept all

kinds of ‘new uses’ and like to ‘invent’ words. Anyone out there who

enjoys or likes rain, you are a “pluviophile!” Smiles for this addition!

A Special Memorial for Ben

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Ten Years Ago Today

February 24, 2004

Once upon a time there was a boy named Ben. He liked

wild and domestic animals and studied dinosaurs. He

enjoyed information, found in books and on computers.

He was filled with the love of learning and curiosity

about space and limitless galaxies.

When Ben played encyclopedia games on the computer to

learn about wild animals, he would become immersed in

their worlds.

This was the eighties; when his babysitter’s Dad who

loved this scientific aspect of the boy, set up all

kinds of World Book and Discovery programs challenging

Ben’s interests and his need to know.

He didn’t just “play,” he became absorbed and spent

time thinking. Sometimes, his Mom and babysitter would

ponder and worry about Ben, after Lynn Anne’s busy day

of nursing and Robin’s hectic day of being around just

kids. Sharing a cup of coffee, talking about their

children were rare, short moments for the two friends.

Ben’s parents, Lynn Anne and David, were professionals

and admired his intellect. His older brother, Zach,

was not at all into the same things, but loved him

dearly. He included him, if Ben ever wanted to join

him with his friends. Ben’s babysitter and her son,

James, loved him like he were part of the family.

Never was he excluded in their home. At school,

there were times where teachers were intimidated

by his knowledge, children were not interested in

listening to his fascinating and imaginative stories.

This was noticeable, even while in elementary school,

but the problems became more evident, in middle and

high school.

The parents chose to take Ben to a family counselor,

participating in therapy with him sometimes, too.

Ben was the young ‘tag-a-long’ to Zach, Jamie and

Mick. When they were at the movies or pool, all 4

were a ‘team’ within itself. No one could ‘pick

on’ any of their members. They often would play

‘Marco Polo’ and stay in the shallow end of the

pool to include Ben.

Camping and hiking with Ben and Zach’s family was a

wondrous experience for Jamie. He felt comfortable

and included in the male-oriented atmosphere. At home

he had, after all, two sisters, with himself being

‘sandwiched’ in between.

Lynn Anne and David were very open minded, like

the babysitter. There was always the choice to

express oneself, but also the space to be alone.

Ben moved back and forth between these places of

solace and comfort, not ever letting the building

remorseful depression show. He had ‘safe havens’

but they were not always transportable.

The fondness of those three boys will always be

one of the best parts of my son’s memories. Zach

came to my son’s wedding with a female friend,

stayed until the very end. There were no real

expressions (spoken out loud, at least) between

the two older boys, of wishes that Ben were still

here to celebrate James marriage to Trista.

They had needed each other, that was the truth.

Jamie moved off to Dayton, having graduated from

Delaware Hayes High (1999), along with Zach who

graduated a year later (2000). There were not many

moments of looking back at younger Ben.

The older boys were no longer around to be his

‘safety net’ and fierce protectors.

The fateful day came, when Ben was tormented once

again in the cafeteria. Sensing Ben’s ‘weakness’

and gentle soul, a big, tough football player had

been teasing him often, especially with no one

willing to stand up to him.

It was Ben’s ‘last straw.’

Before much thought went though his head, Ben was

rushing out into the briskly cold day, running behind

the frozen high school football stadium.

Ben knew his only option. At least, that is the way

it seemed that day, when he waited to jump in front

of the rushing train that ended his life.

We all loved Ben, we all miss him and he is on my

mind, as I had been his daily caregiver for several

years.

Felicia, my youngest daughter, graduated with the

boy who damaged Ben’s very core, a few months later

in June, 2004. He lives in California now. Not sure

what his conscience is like, now that he may have

grown up enough to face the consequences of his

verbal actions.

The date is indelibly imprinted on my mind.

Wishing we could just rewind his life and make Ben

stay with us and be here today.

In his memory, I suggest you may enjoy listening

to “Across the Universe,” written by John Lennon,

credited as a collaboration of McCartney-Lennon.

This was given as a donation to the charity musical

compilation of “No One’s Gonna Change Our World,”

December, 1969. Later, the Beatles included this

song in their final album, “Let It Be.”

I imagine Ben knowing finally the secrets of the

Universe and smiling.

Losing Oneself

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These words make me pensive.

They make me delve deeper into myself.

There are many ways to interpret them:

Losing oneself…

in writing,

in one’s work,

in another’s arms,

in daydreams,

in tasks,

in crafts,

in creating,

in music,

in art,

in church,

in Nature,

in a Higher Being,

God/Buddha/Allah…

in a book,

on your path in life,

in space and time,

on the waters, drifting…

in addictions,

gambling,

drinking,

drugs,

food,

shopping,

losing your mind,

in depression,

and in countless ways.

It is important not to ‘lose yourself.’

It is meaningful to go~ beyond yourself.

It makes a stronger relationship, if

you are you, and they are they.

Don’t go off the deep end, please!

I’d place my ‘bet’ on you being a

winner, in whatever ways you choose

to contribute to this world.

Take comfort, reach out if you need

a shoulder to lean on.

Three songs that cheer me up when I am

thinking of sad times,

1. “Go Your Own Way” by Lindsey Buckingham,

Fleetwood Mac album, “Rumours,” released

in 1977.

2. “I’ll Be There,” sung by the Jackson Five,

featuring Michael Jackson. This song was

written by a team known as the Corporation,

including Berry Gordy, Bob West, Hal Davis

and Willie Hutch. This was their third album,

released in 1970.

3. “With a Little Help From My Friends,”

(Written for “The Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely

Hearts Club Band” album with Ringo as

the singer, in the character of “Billy

Shears.”) Released in 1967. Joe Cocker

sang this at Woodstock in 1969. Someone

at work had thought Joe wrote it, but it

was written as a collaboration between

Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Oh, and

I had to look up this fact, now you know

too that the Beatles came BEFORE the

legendary Woodstock!)

Try not to lose yourself in a negative

way and keep your chin up,.

I hope, mainly, you will find yourself.

Here in the colder part of the country,

I feel for the even more frigid areas,

those up North and East of us!

Naysayers of the Beatles

Standard

My response to the naysayers (some who are rather close to my

home and heart) of the Beatles is, “Really? Have you watched

their beginnings?” Three short months after the assassination of

United States President, John F. Kennedy, (and its devastating

aftermath) along came the introduction of these four young men.

Musicians, artists and poets known as the Beatles. They were

like a ‘breath of fresh air.’

I have a good male friend and one of my best female friends that

like to yank my chains by saying, “I don’t ‘get’ the Beatles.”

I respond, “Why have they endured?”

Were you there to see the changes and evolution from their

playful selves? As our country was fighting for Civil Rights

and the strife of riots in the streets of the South, church

burnings and other side effects that moved us to action, the

Beatles ‘changed their tune.’ They had started their career,

writing original love songs that had fun and simple themes.

I will always feel one of the best love songs they sang was,

“There’s Something in the Way She Moves Me.”

Then, in the 70’s they moved forward to write and sing “Revolution.”

The Peace movement created, “Let It Be.” “Imagine” and “Give Peace

A Chance.” These songs were John Lennon’s answer to ending wars,

like the Viet Nam ‘skirmish,’ which ended up having casualties of

58,200 of our American soldiers.

Again, I understand if you were too young or are still not

able to “get” the Beatles.” It is sometimes how deeply they

made, some of us, think and feel. How they touched our hearts

and, despite the frantic atmosphere we were growing up, they

were part of a generational movement.

By lighting the candles for us of Hope, Inspiration and Endless

Possibilities, we all endured.

They did not stand still and stay one kind of musician.

The Beatles are known for continuing to move forward and

‘evolving.’ They met the way times were changing head on,

filling their lyrics with the news.

There are plenty of examples of popular musical groups, like

the Herman’s Hermits, The Byrds and others who were similar.

They did have wonderful examples of lyrics and songs that

became part of our popular culture. There are the also more

strident and rollicking songs of the Rolling Stones and harder

driving musical groups that may be more the taste you prefer.

But, to be honest, what makes me respect a lot of these groups

is they came from hard working roots and they overcame them.

They had average families brought up in the Catholic church,

in small towns.

They developed character, through humor, respect, and their

continuing, abiding faith. Some of the members left Catholicism

and chose to embrace a universal faith. They consulted with the

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They looked beyond their families’ faith

and sought other levels of enlightenment. They came from England

yet became persons who believed in uniting the world, overcoming

and making it a better place and becoming personally better.

When Linda McCartney chose to eat vegan, that was years before

it became well known or a popular choice, at least among my

friends. The Linda McCartney Foods line is produced by Hain

Celestial, UK Ltd. There have been places on the internet that

focus on ‘voting’ to get this line of meat less meals to the

United States and Canada.

My parents liked and respected the Beatles. We had all of their

albums, while I played Apple 45’s on my little record player.

My father, particularly, liked listening to them. My Mom told us

that in Europe, there wasn’t the same “evils of blacks being

persecuted by whites,” that class structure was different, that

we were not as ‘advanced’ (sometimes she even used the words,

‘less civilized’) as they were. I do know that there was a lot

better examples of inclusion in the musical world, embracing

Motown Sound, starting rock n’ roll with Elvis’ influences.

By adding different styles to make it sound more interesting.

Here are three Beatles’ songs that reflect Motown influences:

“You Really Got A Hold On Me,” “Money” (That’s What I Want), and

“Please Mr. Postman,” all were included in the Beatle’s 2nd album.

There was a professor of Music at University of California,

Berkeley, who recently spoke on CBS Sunday Morning, February 2,

2014 edition.

She was telling the viewers, Berkeley has three Beatle courses,

that have been offered “for over fifteen years.” They are centered

on different aspects of the Beatles’ music.

One college course focuses on using the same chords, different

guitar skills and styles used or emphasized by the Beatles. The

second one deals or analyzes the Beatles’ poetry and writings

in their music. What it was that transferred their words into

becoming legendary songs. This course uses the Beatles as the

impetus to invention of students’ own original lyrics.

The final course is for musicians who wish to learn about the

art of performance. In my mind, the Beatles led others in this

area. Their usage of their natural abilities and personalities

to perform solidly made them popular. They had an innate sense

of how to behave appropriately in their first interviews, showing

humor, lovable and comical characters. They learned to transfer

their lighter weight style by including deeper thoughts, following

their changing beliefs.

This Berkeley Music professor said they recently had a sold

out campus musical performance that played the entire Beatles’

“White Album.” She said their music was able to stand up

against the “Test of Time,” evidenced by the 3 courses filling

up as soon as they are posted at Berkeley for the next semester.

Motown Sound members include “We Can Work It Out,” as one of

their own, using rhythm and blues, with jazz influences.

When a song can be heard years later, performed with a

different dimension of the sound, this is true artistry.

Several of the Beatles’ tunes, as soon as the first notes or

chords are played, I am transferred, taken back in time,

through the years, and my heart strings are again tugged on.

I can be reduced to tears by the beauty of the Beatles’ lyrics.

Fifty years have passed: I still hold the Beatles in high regard.