On the Precipice of our 50th Reunion

When the leaves were orange and the living was easy. What does the tooth fairy do with all the teeth? Why are the people in the front of the picture so much bigger than the people toward the back? Out of the mouths, when life was oh so mellow. 

We bought our first pair of silk stockings which were to be held up by a stretchy pink and white striped  garter belt. The days of Ozzie and Harriet, Susan Lucci and Soupy Sales. 

We re-dialed after our friends line was busy the first time and screeched with excitement, Conrad Birdie style, over our anticipated coed- girl/boy party that evening. After we sat under a hot dryer with beer can sized rollers in our hair we brushed away the fumes from our eyes left by aqua spray. The decision to curl our hair rather than iron it straight was a good one, our hair came out just right. Getting ready “Was” the excitement. Our new madras blouse and alpaca sweater hung prominently in the front of our closet right above our shiny, new cordovan colored weejuns. Bright, new Penny, dated 1969 heads up in place.

A touch of revlon blush, a glimmer of light pink lipstick proceeded a spritz of Ambush and we were on our way. With dejavu on my breath I can still recall euphorically how it felt when I unbuttoned the wooden clasps that kept my new Pea Coat in tact. The boys gathered on one side of the room as the girls sifted through the 45’s on the other. At this point there was no bottle to spin in sight. Would the Angels sing tonight as our soldier boys danced under the Blue Moon? 

The specialty years of pre-teening had a wonderful life of its own. We made room for our daydreams laced with Johnny Mathis lyrics. Our Barbie and Ken’s were repositioned and left to fetch for themselves in the back row of our minds. In the “still of the night” I hold tightly to the memories that Jay and the Americans knew were those Magic Moments. 

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four-

A -my name is Alice and my husband’s name is Al, we come from Alabama and we sell Apples. As I open the cupboard on memories, bouncing a Spaulding as we sang the A my name is Alice rhyme, lifting our leg over the ball with each bounce, was an all time great walk around the corner and under a tree. A veritable, primordial work out and creative singing lesson all in one. My sister Bettie Ann and I grew up together and hung with the girls on the block. We stopped playing and walked home for our tuna sandwich or the treat of salami on rye, only made better with the delicious taste of mustard. After lunch we would stroll around the corner to the all purpose grocery store. I can vividly see the barrel of pickles prominently sitting next to the left of the front door. We would use part of our allowance to buy candy. Our first go to was a striped pixy stick, a straw filled with lik-m-aid. For those in the know it’s a tasty sugary retrospective in time. The original version of Fun Dip. We would then mosey over to the red licorice and marshmallow peeps. At Halloween the chicks turned into orange faced pumpkins. Fast forward 56 years. It’s 6:00 A.M. time to put up the coffee, my turn to “make the donuts.” I woke up salivating for a piece of my past, inside that grocery store. My sister Bettie Ann and I would bring our bag of goodies up to the counter. The man would take the pencil he harbored behind his ear and tally up our treats. 

With our visual bounty in hand we would skip our way home and unveil the contents, perhaps trade a piece or two. 

Our afternoons were often consumed through adventures with Dick and Jane, The Bobbsey Twins or figuring out if Nancy Drew was ever going to hook up with one of the Hardy Boys. As we felt the heat of the oven cooking sweet potatoes we knew they would soon be sitting next to the  very well done lamb chops and canned peas Sophie was making for dinner. A welcomed pre- dinner activity was watching Patty Duke and her identical cousin navigate their way through high school. We often tried to distinguish between the subtleties in their looks. Hmmm! I long for those days of innocence when the doctor appointments took place as we sat upon the kitchen table. The local store that sold glass bottles of milk and farmer cheese made no room on the shelf for ammunition. Dwight D. Eisenhower was President.

Everybody in Grovers Corners looked into the grocery store and the drugstore once a day in Our Town by Thornton Wilder. It is with older eyes and wiser hearts that we live our lives. So, for today reach for the red licorice after a very sour pickle and make it a good Day!

Revised from 2016 post -Give Peace a Chance!

 And I quote -I heard the news today oh boy, about a lucky man who made the grade.- 2019 Woodstock 50th Reunion planned. So vividly remembering drudging thru the mud to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and swooning to “Teach Your Children Well.” 50 years ago -the number is unimaginable. I’m loving the role as the Northeast distributor of nostalgia. Love my old pictures and debriefing the past when “ the fish were jumpin’ and the cotton was high.” My old friend’s are old/new friends, a different twist, same flare. Tonight I am sharing an evening with my Jill. We walked to school together everyday starting in Junior High. We will have a Vodka Grande and talk about how blessed we are that we’ve stayed so good, for so long. Our shared times, albeit infrequent, offer the run up and hug kind of times that I would run to save in case of fire. Our husbands will chat away, and after a quick catch up we will spend the rest of our time basking in the knowing of how special “WE” are.

Next month I am having a very frequent get together with The Julia’s-the acronym I penned for “just us ladies into aging.” A group of women whose only requirement for entry is feeling the love from yes, Grade School thru the Woodstock years. 

I followed the lead of a group of men I knew about who are called the Romeo’s- (retired older men eating out). We love the tradition and respond to the frequent reminders with a resounding “yes, I’m in for sure.” Another item I’m running for in case of…

Last evening we went to a performance at the most charming of theater’s in Boca Raton called The Wick. It’s a throwback to the days of cabaret and houses memorabilia of days gone by, when song was song. Lady Gaga I love you, but when you’re crooning with Tony I Love you more. We saw a performance of the show “Curtains.” Two of my favorites, Kander and Ebb wrote the tunes. My take away song “I Miss the Music, I miss my friend.”

We were bred with an affinity for music. My parents played their 78’s of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald and the resplendence of the scores to My Fair Lady and Westside Story. I had a small record player cased in red and white leather. My collection of 45 R.P.M. yellow adaptors converted  my 78’s of Johnny Mathis into my 45’s of Blue Moon, My Boyfriend’s Back, Soldier Boy, He’s so Fine, and  yes Lesley Gore, it was my own personal After Party and I’ll cry if I want to. I would close my light, get tucked into my single bed and fall asleep imagining how my days of glory would play out. When would the man I love come along? The sound that would startle me back to being “15” was the needle hitting the record as the music ended. When we returned from the show last eve we caught up on the debate a.k.a.cat fight. Unheard of rhetoric in a debate when The Grateful Dead were Grateful, when we loved seeing what Jackie Kennedy was wearing on the cover of Look Magazine and when counting Al Hirschfeld’s Nina’s on the front page of The Sunday New York Times Magazine Section with my sister Bettie Ann was a thrilling go to we fondly shared. 

In the mornings I would clasp my school books together with a thick red, rubber band as Sophie screamed up to me “hurry up Jill is here to gather you to walk to Junior High.” Woodstock May be cancelled, but we’ll never forget the way we wore our hats and danced till 3:00.

If We Could Turn Back Time

So the year is 1967 (we just got our driver’s license) we head out in our white Volkswagen Beetle-roof top opened wide. The radio is set to wabc am 770 and we sang out (very) loud “we took a ride on a shoot the chute, when we fell in love down at Palisades Park.” Oh Cousin Brucie how’d you know us so well? You really got us. We packed our nap sack with a striped towel, our baby oil and iodine mix and prominently carried our new sun reflector under our arm. We stopped on Main Avenue and one of us ran out to the drugstore to buy a pack of Newport Menthols and Wrigleys spearmint gum. We took a pack of matches from home. Bradley Beach look out Passaic Girls sighting on the Garden State heading South. We all wore cut off “dungarees,” a washed out short sleeve madras blouse and underneath our version of an “itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini.” We’re having a Heat Wave only at that point in time nothing to do with a hot flash, which segues me beautifully into yesterday’s ride to the Jersey Shore. The Julia’s acronym (Just us ladies into aging) met at the Tic Tock at 10:00. We got into Susan’s new bells and whistles car (great car Sue). We magically fell into our 1960’s time machine. Although it’s 50 plus years later and we’ve carried our age with us, our voices sound the same and our imaginations run wilder than we could have ever imagined. In surround sound style memories quickly rolled by in the very well air conditioned car (I wore a sweater.) Although nothing was yellow nor polka dot, two obvious differences were we buckled “seat belts” and didn’t stop for cigarettes. Gail offered us gum, I declined as I just had a new crown put in and not on my head. Crowns are the new fillings. I think the dentists read that AARP pamphlet too closely. Ok, so we were heading to Debbie Lark’s in Monmouth Beach for a day of old times, forgiving smiles and delicious homemade blueberry pound cake. Another Sara Lee memory moment, only this time baked by Debbie and so yummy. I kept hoping somewhere sequestered in her beautiful home would be a couple of Bass weejuns, with shiny pennies dated 1968. She would give us a pair as a glorious reminder of how great our feet felt sans high heels. We had lunch with a beach breeze and dessert on the terrace as we caught up on children, grandchildren, thyroid meds and the latest keto diet. All the while we had a song in our hearts as we quietly rubbed the rabbits foot we kept in our pockets. Lucky and then some, poo poo. Oh and by the way Sue nothing about yesterday was a “Fugazy.”

Dear Divine Order G-d!

And I quote: in my own little corner, In my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be. On the the wing of my fancy, I can fly anywhere. and the world will open its arms to me. Lyrics by  Richard Rodgers written for Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. The focal message in this childhood favorite was that Cinderella taught that kindness was a form of beauty. A few posts back I penned about my childhood friend Daren Scott who passed away thirteen years ago. Fast forward to last eve. The cast consisted of Jen Harris (Daren’s daughter) Linda Dietz Bursik, our dearest high school friend her daughter Syd and me.

On a beautiful Thursday eve at a local restaurant we raised a glass and toasted to Jen’s engagement to her love, Ricky. As the evening unfolded in the bustling, crowded restaurant, our table for (4) had an insulated feeling as if we were in our own “little corner and we could be whatever we wanted to be.”  Daren served as the beautiful centerpiece at our table, her memory ever-present. This time we were all taking the centerpiece home. The energy at our table was charged, as we shared stories and revealing facts all cased with lasting memories of our dear Daren. With a sense of purpose and commonality we talked over one another as one tucked away story begot another.  Our sentiments and feelings were strong and loud and cherished. With our euphoric recall hats in place, we exhumed an image that detailed Jen’s mom and our friend. 

My prayer for Jen and Ricky is that you go forward together in life sharing love, laughter and backed by good health.  May your dreams pop up in technicolor and know that through it all and the in most predictable way your mom will serve as the shining light director of your story. Listen up Daren, did I get that right? 

Dog Days…

We know what we feel. If your choice of appetizers doesn’t agree with your palate don’t sit there and unpack. Go to column B for your main course. Turn the page and and start a new chapter. When you learn you can swipe left to view another photo- Swipe Left. Stop collecting injustices, wrongdoings. Maybe they’ll sell on a back table at the flea market, they won’t lure people in to shop. The adage when you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, roll up your sleeves and hit the ground running – away. Yes it’s hot out and  G-d willing there won’t be a blackout as the inclement weather sucks up our Con Ed supply. Take the opportunity just for today, to count blessings, rollover. Just don’t play dead. Yes, Conrad Birdie – “we got a lot of living to do.”

Peace Train – Cat Stevens 1971

Now I’ve been happy lately
Thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be
Something good has begun
Oh, I’ve been smiling lately
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be
Someday it’s going to come – lyrics by Cat Stevens 1971- he wrote this song, that was so dear to him at a time in his life when he was headed toward peace. 
So I hopped on my Peace Train which left Penn Station at 10:46. Paula T, for those in the know, would be waiting on time to pick me up when I reached my ETA.
So in Cat Stevens fashion I listened as he crooned, “ Get your bags together, go bring your good friends too, cause it’s getting nearer, it soon will be with you.” 
I met Paula through our mutual, dearest friend Linda and I was immediately taken with the twinkle in not one, but both of her eyes. Yes, a rare breed, a one of a kind and the ultimate “girls girl.” Some people are just born with glitter running through their veins and Paula T is one of them. With a Rolodex that extends from Maine to Spain, in the absence of a wand, she works her magic with all of us. Yesterday we were invited to share a day of lunch and cards. We were a table of four friends who had never sat together at the same table. Oh yeah and did we have fun. The synergy was flowing as it met up with fate and happenstance. In other words we walked in to Paula’s secret garden, the table was set with her simply unusual flair and style and the “who knews”unfolded. We talked, we laughed and didn’t want to leave as the end of day came near. Marilyn, Paula and I share a combined history through our friend Linda who sadly could not be there. “We Love you Linda oh yes we do.” I got to know Vivian, who added so much to my day. Boy do you know the rules of canasta and “So” much beyond. You are a keeper. Not quite sure what was sweeter you or those Sweet Duchess cookies. After so many cookies, through so many years these could be a new favorite and how appropriate to find them on a day I could say the same about. Same time next…