Bits and Pieces of the Past

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #95: bits and pieces

SixWordSaturday

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ticket stubs

 

I saved these ticket stubs…scraps of paper…bits and pieces from my past. I found them tucked in a drawer, old jewelry boxes and a business card case. Ancient rubber bands barely held some together. I smiled as I arranged them for this photo.

Allow me to share a few ramblings…

I remember…seeing Whoopi – my comedy idol – and waiting in the theater’s back parking lot afterwards hoping to see her.

There was the night we saw Bruce Hornsby and his heartfelt tribute to Jerry Garcia who had died a few weeks earlier.

A concert I never thought I’d attend had been #1 on my bucket list for years: Barbra Streisand. Tied for #1: Carole King. And there was Bonnie – could never get enough of her. And Bruuuuce…you know who I mean. Amazing.

When we took the kids to see the one-of-a-kind Harlem Globetrotters – back in the days of the basketball and Chicago Bulls craziness that consumed our family.

When You’re A Jet….a local professional theater did this fabled Broadway musical justice beyond our expectations. Again, a favorite.

And…Writers! Anna. Elizabeth. Joyce. Sonia. Atul. Inspiring and captivating…they welcomed us all into their world for an hour that went by much too fast.

I shared most of these events with family and friends. In theaters and concert halls both large and small. In New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Washington, DC. Singing, laughing and can’t-help-but-get-out-of-my-seat dancing…ain’t too proud sweet darlin….

I attended a few of the writer’s talks alone and will admit there was no singing and dancing, but laughing…yes.

Unique memories of a time gone by.

As far as I know, all of these once packed venues are closed for the foreseeable future. I hope that someday we all have another chance to collect more bits and pieces like these.

 
This song has been going through my head ever since seeing V.J.’s prompt. So in the spirit of live concerts please enjoy…

 

Whispering Wind

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #82: whisper

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whisper sunset

 

Whispering wind came uninvited.

This lyric popped into my head the moment I saw V.J.’s challenge topic this week. And there it remained. No matter what I did.

The first line from a song almost 50 years old.

A song I discovered as a teenager.

But should I use it for this challenge? Surely there are other more relevant options…

I could write about the behind-my-back whispering I endured as an awkward too-tall glasses-wearing 12 year old trying to fit in with the cool kids. While pretending everything was fine. And holding back the tears.

Or, at home, how whispering meant something was off…not as it should be. Somehow…tilted. One more secret to swallow. Remember. Always on alert. My stomach in knots.

Don’t tell your sister. Don’t tell your grandparents. Don’t tell your father.

Just plain don’t tell. What will people say?

Or else.

There are no witnesses to a whisper.

So…whisper…not a comfortable topic to revisit. As it led to secrets and shaming and being left out. No need to relive that.

There it was again…whispering wind

Here’s the thing…I’ve finally learned to honor the flashing signs that appear in my head.

So here goes…

The song in question was written by Carole King and is included on her 1971 album “Music” – the album that followed my all time favorite “Tapestry.”

 

Song of Long Ago
Words and Music by Carole King

Whispering wind came uninvited
Looking for somewhere else to go
Here is a lamp I’ve left unlighted
Aren’t you someone I should know?

Memory’s flame is soon ignited
Lighting my lamp with amber glow
Quietly friends are reunited
Singing a song of long ago, la la la

Cry, cry for someone
Who just can’t be happy
And be glad you can feel enough to cry

Younger than always, time descended
Bringing me brand new seeds to sow
Now that they’ve been a long time planted
What must I do to help them grow?

If it had been as I intended
I wouldn’t have the peace I know
Loving the people I’ve befriended
And singing the song of long ago, la la la

As it began, so I will end it
Singing a song of long ago
Loving the people I’ve befriended
And singing the song of long, long, long ago.

I hadn’t listened carefully to Song of Long Ago in many years…until now.

What a difference – in perspective – a lifetime can make…in the listening.

Whispering wind…as relevant as ever.

By the way…Happy Birthday to Carole King.

She will be 78 years old this Sunday, February 9th.

Nostalgic Cookie Sing-Along

Inspired by:

Lens-Artists Challenge #75: Nostalgic

…I look forward to seeing the nostalgic moments that are most special to you. Past holidays, times with family and friends, travel moments, or just something that reminds you  fondly of days gone by – it’s your call. Give us a small peek into the things you’re nostalgic about.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #76: Music

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Get out the red and green sprinkles!
And the tiny chocolate chips!
Cookie sheets!
Cookie cutters!
Start the music!

It’s Time!

IMG_1598

When I was raising my children – and by the time each was around 2 years old – we made Christmas cookies together as a family. Simple cream cheese sugar cookies.

We used the same aluminum cookie cutters I used when I was a child.

Our tradition? I made the dough the day before so it was easier to roll out.
My daughter – and then my son – learned how to use a rolling pin and press a tree or bell shape into the flattened dough.

1992 t
Let the decorating begin!

Creativity was serious business.

The teenage years sparked unique decorating ideas such as the occasional anatomically correct gingerbread man. Ahem. All in good fun though…

Every year we were accompanied by the Sesame Street Christmas Sing-Along album pumping through the speakers (yes, we had speakers in the kitchen!)…and the clicking of the Canon camera.

My husband, I and the “kids” continued this annual family tradition for over 25 years…always accompanied by Big Bird, Cookie Monster (of course!) and the rest of the gang.

Cookies in the making. Oven warming. Four voices singing – the muppets’ lines memorized to perfection…

It’s that time of the year
When we all want to hear
A Christmas sing-along…

Or

Count, count, count — counting the days,
Count, count, count — counting the day…
I’m counting the days, ’til Christmas day is due…

(just a sample taste of this fabulous album – released in 1984 – just in time for our family).

A bit of nostalgia I never tire of revisiting.

1995 k t cookies
Cookies!
Decorated or about to frosted!

Both in pictures and in song.

Clouds

 

I knew I was saving this photograph for a reason.

One day in June – that time in late Spring when you notice the landscape has totally changed from brown & white to color – I looked up. And paused from snapping photos of leaved out trees, budding flowers and soft no-longer-crunchy green grass. To catch this…

Waves of clouds.

Kind of like the ocean in the sky.

clouds

 

Clouds also brings to mind Joni Mitchell…and my favorite song from her album Clouds, which was released 50 years ago in 1969.

Both Sides, Now is that song…

 

Inspired by Citysonnet’s photo a day challenge. Prompt for today: Clouds

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Any Topic

Inspired by Cee’s B&W Photo Challenge: Any Topic

 

When we downsized in 2016 one of the many things eliminated was more than half of our record collection. Vinyl records…LPs and 45’s. We sold some to a local antique dealer. We sold some at a garage sale. We gave some away. Most we don’t miss. Some we do.

We saved two cabinets’ worth. No way was I parting with my collection of Carole King records or the “Three Bs” Barbra, Bonnie and Bette. Or classic Original Movie and Broadway Cast Recordings…Hello Dolly, West Side Story, Porgy and Bess, Saturday Night Fever…to name just a few. My tattered 4 record set 97 WWDJ/TOP HITS made the cut. My husband and I combined our Beatles collections via negotiating sentimental value of each. My beer stained copies of Meet the Beatles and The Beatles’ Second Album won out. My collections of The Carpenters, Herman’s Hermits and The Moody Blues did not.


Fortunately we still own our original turntable from the 1970s. My musician husband has maintained it meticulously over the years, along with the receiver and multiple wires and jacks and whatever. Including a cassette deck. And a CD player. No wireless mp3 system for us!

He also alphabetized all our music. The records are organized first by genre and then by last name or group. We have a zillion CDs alphabetized the same way. Phew.

One of the two record cabinets sits under the window in the living room area of our condo. Never mind that I flashback to dorm life.

A reminder of when rock was young…and when we were young as well.

LPs
Record Albums – Cabinet #1
(D. Ackles to B. Springsteen)

 

[We are also well aware that this collection will be the only thing our daughter and son will probably fight over when we are long gone. I doubt they’ll wish I had saved Close to You or Days of Future Passed….so I can rest easy]

Twisted

Inspired by Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge. The prompt: Twisted

 

All it takes is a simple twist. Or two. Or three. Of wire, silk and nylon.

Six strings stretched tight. But not too tight. The ends threaded into post holes. Then twisted…little by little…with the turn of a peg. Carefully. Adjusting the tension.

Until each one – when plucked – sounds…just right.

On a simple guitar made of wood.

twisted strings

 

My first – and only – no-name guitar shows its age. As do I.

Bought with saved up allowance for $28 on September 29, 1967.

I headed to guitar lessons taught by a local folk singer. For weekly group lessons with other aspiring young guitarists…struggling together to strum chords…

G  and D7…to play through Ain’t Gonna Study War No More.

C, F, Am and G7…for Blowin’ in the Wind.

Added Em and B7…and we managed to make it through Cruel War.

By that point the fingertips on my left hand were sore and complaining. From pressing down on those strings…especially strings 4, 5 & 6…the thickest ones.

three strings

Those twisted strings were replaced many times. As I sang and played through a thick looseleaf binder of mimeographed folk songs assigned by my teacher. To which I added my carefully typed copies of Homeward Bound, Hey Jude, It Was a Very Good Year, Leaving on a Jet Plane…among many others. Guitar chords written or typed in red above the words.

I did not sing or strum with much finesse, but it was the 60’s after all – and it was fun.
It never occurred to me to take it more seriously. I never saw any female guitarists on Ed Sullivan or American Bandstand, heard any on AM radio or in my stack of 45s.

This guitar went to camps and college with me. It was then retired to a closet…until my son tried it out after his college days. It traveled up and down the east coast with him for a few years…until he had a guitar of his own. Like his dad…and his sister.

And now it is back here with me.

my guitar

Ready for its next chapter.

 

 

Radiant

This post inspired by Frank at Dutch goes the Photo

The prompt: Radiant

 

Version 2
“Barbra: The Music, The Mem’ries, The Magic”
Boston, MA

 

“The Three B’s”
Bette (Midler), Bonnie (Raitt) and Barbra (Streisand)

My concert bucket list…
For over 30 years.

Bette…check!
Bonnie…check!

The last holdout?
Barbra.
I figured I’d never be able to check her off my list. Sigh.

Why?
She rarely, if ever, toured.
Tickets would be horrendously expensive and impossible to get.

August 16, 2016 changed all that…when I received an early Christmas/Birthday gift from my daughter, son and son-in-law. Thanks to my daughter’s herculean skills at navigating multiple internet browsers. To score tickets. The instant they went on sale.

Floor seats to a Barbra Streisand concert extravaganza in Boston. Complete with a light show beyond anything I had ever seen before. As cliché as it may sound, I was transported by the music, her one-of-a-kind voice, the showstopper after showstopper. Including my favorites – which was just about the entire set list – the super fan that I am.

Radiance on all levels.

One of my all time bucket list dreams finally came true.

Check!