With a Song in My Heart

L’dor v’dor- from one generation to the next. Dots, cracks, bams, sushi, pastrami and the night unfolds. The table is set in a one from column one, one from column two way.  A wealth of familiarity, long standing history and emotions that run deep. Our hearts are full as we pour another drink tell another story.  It’s all so subtle as we share each other’s blood through our life lines. This was a real who knew come together and it feels oh, so good. Our mother’s/ ourselves/ our children. 
  There’s  a built in warm sense of knowing that we are adding one more stroll down the path of life we have shared together.  Louis Armstrongyou got it right when you crooned – “ we heard babies cry, we watched them grow, they’ll learn much more than we’ll ever know and we say to ourselves, “What a Wonderful World.” Last eve we welcomed dear friends who we will welcome back to grab a drink, engage in a catch up conversation and cheer each other on as we’ve been doing since the  Bubby Chicken candy dish days. Winner takes all-  and we did!

Hail Julia’s!

Definition of Recidivism-a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; especially relapse into criminal behavior. Is there a fine line between addiction and recidivism? Let’s consider how popular prison romances are and seem in no danger of dying out. One theory is that prisoners create a literal wall against closeness. Conjugal visits preclude hanging out Sunday morning with Russ and Daughters and The New York Times. They certainly eliminate variegated activities i.e. strolling through The Whitney and eating french toast at Bubby’s in TriBeCa.

Delving into a veritable pantheon of theories that depict the profile of personalities enraptured by the incarcerated is a thesis unto itself. Far from the cover for every pot concept.

 I recently viewed Jacob Ephron’s documentary on his mom Nora Ephron. I watched it for the second time, can’t wait to see it again. Oh, Nora you hated your neck and we loved you. We so related when Harry met Sally and they were Sleepless in Seattle. We followed as Julie and Julia Got Mail. Your self-deprecatory humor was comforting. And I quote “when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” Amen! The converse rings ever so true. When you understand that burnt pot roast doesn’t necessarily taste so good, negating what we grew up eating it, you throw it out and start again. Sensibility does not kick in by chance.  Don’t  wait for the next ship to come in to carpe diem.” Seizing opportunities and disregarding discouragements are our modus operandi.How many rapprochement’s succeed? When we get sick and tired of being sick and tired, we move to another table in search of our eight card fit. I know cliche counters, I know. Last eve a couple of The Julia’s – acronym for (Just Us Ladies Into Aging) had dinner. Our portfolio sports 57 years of round tables together. From our early days of sharing french fries at Wassers and Awful Awfuls at Bonds, we got another chance to embrace our history “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess.” Nora Ephron you get us! 

Summer In a Song!

Summertime and the living is easy, fish are jumping and the cotton is high. After A Hard Day’s Night – I want Breakfast at Tiffany’s with a Splendor in the Grass chaser. As I approach the Autumn of my Youth- I ask “What kind of fool am I?” “I want to come home to you and find the things that you do will make me feel alright”ah! Paul . So as we roll out the hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer, the days of soda and pretzels and beer, (well maybe Tito’s), I’d like to go to the”drive- in on Friday nights.” As we see the pyramids along the Nile, standing near “Moon River” we feel grateful to be out of the “heat wave.” Could this be magic, as the lion sleeps tonight in the jungle, the mighty jungle? Who knows, could be it’s only just out of reach down the block, on a beach, under a tree. Tonight? We call on wishful thinking as we put on our yellow polka dot bikini and set our sights on the beach boys. We find ourselves dancing in the streets, eating icicles, popsicles and simply remember our favorite things. Are there lilac trees in the heart of town. Can your hear a lark in any other part of town? Does enchantment pour out of every door no it’s just on the street where you live. Wouldn’t you like to ride in my beautiful balloon? We can sing a song and sail along the silver sky we can fly, we can fly. Girl, I heard you’re getting married, heard you’re getting married this time you’re really sure. So, we’re going to the chapel of love. Love summer weddings. We are the lucky ones, some people never get to do all we got to do, now and forever I will always think of you. It only takes a moment for your eyes to meet and then it only takes a moment to be loved a whole life long. So let’s get those good vibrations, cause G- d only knows at any point, in the still of the night – tomorrow may rain so I’ll follow the sun.

Daren Scott- Hey Girl

I always dreamed the boy I loved would come along

And he’d be tall and handsome rich and strong

But now that boy I love has come to me

But he sure ain’t the way I thought he’d be

(He’s sure the boy I love)

He doesn’t look like a movie star

He doesn’t drive a Cadillac car

He sure ain’t the boy I’ve been dreamin’ of

But he’s sure the boy I love “-excerpt from the song by The Crystals “He’s sure the boy I love.” One of our favorite songs to croon to as teenage girls dreaming of our future. 

In the 60’s the term “play date” was called “hanging out”- time at a friend’s house after school. I always had favorite friends to spend time with until right before dusk set in and I had to go home to start my homework and have dinner. Our after school times never seemed long enough as that’s when some of our best learning occurred. 

Daren Scott was one of my first and as long as our time together lasted closest friends. We walked to and from school together, hung out after school, started college together and sat at our Senior Prom table together the year she was voted Best Looking in our 1969 graduating  class. Daren and I lost touch when we both married and went our separate ways. I knew Daren had a son and a daughter and was an amazing and proud mom. As we sit on the precipice of our 50th high

school class reunion coming up this October, Daren won’t be at my table, by my side. No,not this time.

A decade ago I got a call from another close and life long friend, Shoshanna Smith( a.k.a. Susan Kalb.) I think I heard her say Daren Scott died. I gasped and shockingly asked if I heard her correctly. Life on life’s terms, destiny? I asked so many questions and they stopped when I asked Shoshanna if, when we were walking to school, hanging out after school, eating Blanche’s chocolate cake, listening to our favorite songs,  was it preordained that Daren would not  live her life out. Shoshanna, in her sage like, wisdom way said. “Judy, she lived her life out.” So the story goes. Daren had a certain panache, a quiet flair. There was a strong side to her and being on that side was an easier way for our friendship to flourish. I learned so much about fashion during our after school “play dates.” Daren had an Aunt Alma who was a clothing buyer and Daren and her sisters would get Amazon like delivery’s of the most extraordinary clothing. I learned about mini – skirts designed by Mary Quant, ensemble dress and skirt suits by Charles Evans (Evan Picone) and capes by Bill Blass. I knew early on that Balmain shoes would live forever. I never dreamed Daren wouldn’t.

I heard some great news  yesterday from Barbara Scott, she married Daren’s cousin Kevin) that Daren’s daughter Jen got engaged. When 

my goosebumps subsided, a potpourri of emotions set in and I wept.

Undoubtedly, I was thrilled to hear the news and see glorious pics of the proposal. Then in an airy way I exhumed the look on Daren’s face, as if it were yesterday, when we were young girls sharing first time moments of sheer bliss. This time my dear, old friend I’ll imagine that look, honor your children for you with extreme joy and pride. I pray you know that while you’ve been long time out of sight, you’re always in my heart. Yitgadal v’ yitkadash.

With a Little Help from my Friends- John, Paul, Ringo and George

And I quote- I heard the news today, oh, boy. About a lucky man who made the grade. A line from the Beatles song – A Day in the Life. As I turned on the news at 5:45. (Yup)- with a cup of coffee and an orange I got an early reality check. Just a $5.75 via car ride away( always a random price) up at Mt. Sinai hospital a man received a piece of his son’s liver, that will save his life. Just when you think you have reached your tolerance level with your struggles the person next to you in your shared car service ride has deeper worries. For today, give your gray skies a chance to clear up, move the mountain in your way with the sweep of your hand and  if you held  two many Aces in your last game of Canasta remember it just adds to your total point count in just a game. Let’s do it Monday.

And the winner is…

“Extra Extra hey look at the headline, historical news is being made.”

Ali Stroker, a Glee alumni and hugely talented American actress wins a Tony for her role as Ado Annie Carnes in the  revival of Oklahoma. The take away line in the song she belts out -I”Caint” say no “ is “how can I be what I ain’t, I can’t say no.” As the crowd stood and you sat in the wheelchair that has given you mobility since an accident left you paralyzed at the age of 2 we honored your success with adoration. In your appreciation speech you thanked your parents for teaching you to give to others from your talents. What a gift they gave you and what a gift you gave us. 
So we wake up, get out of bed and walk into the kitchen to make the coffee. The things we take for granted other people are praying for.   
Our no brainers are often the only things on someone else’s mind. 
I can crowd the page with adages galore about paying it forward, put your money where your mouth is and “walking” the walk. 
Our Aunt Da, our mother’s older sister was  physically limited due to a bone infection in her hip before modern medicine was able to cure it. People would treat her differently because her gate was different. My family would look twice as the comments were made because we only saw her from the inside out. We live with preconceived notions about physical disabilities, limitations and challenges. We joined a club up in Westchester for the summer months. I asked to be included in a canasta game. Just for right now there are  no “seats” available. I walked away from the week-end feeling badly about the lack of hospitality we were shown in an upper crust and privileged setting. Shame on me. Needless to say as my husband and I cried through Ali Stroker’s victory speech, we reeled in our complaints and concerns about a canasta game, a leak in a bathroom sink or sitting in traffic. Ali Stroker has been sitting in traffic since she was a child and tonight “walked” away with it all. 

Choose wisely it’s only Monday

And I quote -Why are there so many songs about rainbows?

And what’s on the other side

Rainbows are visions

They’re only illusions

Rainbows have nothing to hide

So we’ve been told

And some choose to believe it

I know they’re wrong wait and see

Someday we’ll find it

The rainbow connection

The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Lyrics by Jim Henson- favored artist Kermit the Frog.
Rainbows and Frogs- “look, look, look to the rainbow, follow the fellow who follows his dream.”

The fascination of the colors, shape and promise offer a trilogy of endless wonderment. Dorothy searched for happiness “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” She learned that after her laborious travels, the click of the red shoes bringing her “Home” to Auntie Em’s smile was her Oz.

So you gamble at the track to win, place or show. Aren’t placing and showing, winning? Just get out of the gate, play your own game and recognize opportunities often disguised as hardships. In holy grail fashion become the laureate of second chances even if your horse places or shows.

Don’t judge a situation you’ve never been in. My friend’s Love their dogs. Like in OMG- DOG! The unrequited love in the wag of their tale and lick on their face puts a smile on theirs second to none.

Friend’s adopted a baby at birth. They threw the word adopted away as it had no “H” for Heart in it. When you have grandchildren that had nothing to do with biology and everything to do with “Everything,”- make them yours in heart, body and soul. Their memories will become your legacy. Believe me they know who loves them, chicken nuggets and all. And by the way guys it’s not dew on the white roses you sent yesterday they’re tear drops. Very sincerely yours.

As next chapters come with rapid speed listen carefully for the song of the male frog- a grunt, a croak. It often serves as the conduit to where you want to settle in. Don’t re-gift your life to people who treat you as after thoughts. Allow all that therapy pay off. Really-

The Wizard made hay from the scarecrows stuffing. Fill each seat at your table with only the deepest of players who have your back while you turn around to watch as the parade passes.