Always Elizabeth

Deer

I associate french fries with Elizabeth. Still, to this day, I can picture her face when the french fries that she DID NOT WANT appeared on her plate. I can’t forget her face. She looked like a deer, with white, almost translucent skin and dark, dark eyebrows and eyes.

When I was in High School, a long, long time ago, in Jamaica, NY, in the early seventies, I was good friends with a girl named Elizabeth W. I don’t want to give her last name since she seemed to disappear and maybe she wanted it that way; I hope that’s the reason.  This was a friend, a dear, enormously talented friend that wrote amazing stories, poetry; I think she was an artist too.

I remember we cut class together and would go to a pond or grassy area right near the school and talk about writing and life and everything esoteric. What sticks in my mind the most is that this was one tragic, sad girl. I cannot call her “young woman” because nothing about her wanted to grow up or change. She was the daughter of one Child Psychiatrist and another Psychiatrist or Psychologist. Elizabeth was one very sick girl. I am not sure if her parents knew how sick she was.

Back then, as my daughter would say, in the land of dinosaurs, no-one knew what Anorexia was but certainly that is what Elizabeth had. I remember vividly going to a restaurant and Elizabeth told the waitress at least twenty times that she did not want french fries with her sandwich. She said it over and over and I also told the waitress to make sure they didn’t bring french fries because I knew how Elizabeth would react, badly, of course. Sure enough, Elizabeth, never Liz or Lizzy or Betsy or Beth freaked out. Deep down in my stomach I sensed that would happen and I swept the offending french fries away and started to try to talk her down. She was inconsolable, she cried and trembled and cursed; we left immediately. I want to say we went to a show or a movie after that but I don’t know what we saw. I think there were kids throwing candy and that upset you, and me, too.  Poor Elizabeth, no one knew much about your illness back then.

I remember your very pale, very skinny body that seemed to shed it’s own skin. The hair on your arms were black or maybe that’s just how I remember them. We took a trip to Philadelphia once, I don’t know why, but we did. We took the train together for a day trip, did we visit a museum? I remember nothing about what we did there or where we went or even why. I had an aunt and uncle that lived there but I am not sure if we saw them. I remember nothing but your face, dear Elizabeth and the photo in our yearbook; etched in my brain.

Rumor had it that you went to a small all-girls college, Smith maybe? I tried to track you down but never found you. I was your friend and then you were gone. Nobody knew anything about you, it’s as if you were a dream of mine, that you existed only in my imagination.

I just wanted you to know, if you are still out there in this enormous world, that someone has not forgotten you, that I remember your big dark eyes, and your wistful little smile, like that of a tiny kitten. I hope you are well, I hope more that you are still alive.

Yes, I Blog!

Pen and Paper
  • Yes, I Blog!
  • https://hibernationnow.wordpress.com
    I loved writing in High School, I wrote poetry and essays and I was on every literary magazine club that existed. I wrote for myself after that but never wrote for public consumption. I have journals dating back to junior high (if they still exist.) A few years ago I started a blog and I had to push myself to do that. I was scared, I was taking a chance and yes, I was growing up at my very ripe old age. I have been blogging since then and I love it. I remember writing the first post with fear but with pride. Now, I have about 450 posts and they truly are a great outlet for me. Not only that, I adore it when readers read my blogs and comment. I feel connected, I feel like my true self. Come visit my blog: https://hibernationnow.wordpress.com

Not Posting In Spain; Driving Me Insane

Roses - Spain - Spanien -  Abendstimmung

Image by Ela2007 via Flickr

-I am going to Spain, with my husband for ten glorious days. It appears things really do happen for a reason. We offered to take our teenagers to Spain, a place they have always wanted to go to and they declined. What? Yup, you heard me. When they politely (?) declined we were hurt and definitely confused about them not wanting to come. In the end, it worked out perfectly.

-Our son, the Senior in HS, didn’t want to be apart from this friends on their spring break and while our daughter wanted to go to Spain, she didn’t want to go without her brother. So, we stayed home while they had spring break (we are not stupid parents) and we left for Spain, just the two of us, three weeks later. Sometimes life is not only good, it’s great. I should have trusted that it would turn out this way.

-Our children have always left us to go to sleep away camp for 8 weeks each summer but we have never left them.We have talked to them, of course, and it sounds like things are going smoothly. I have no idea what the house will look like upon our return (silly me, of course we know how messy and dirty it will look like) but this vacation is worth pretty much anything.

-Today we left 3 days in Barcelona to drive to Roses, Spain. Honestly, I am not quite sure how we ended up here but I am glad we did. We are spending a few days at this little beach town.

-On the road to Roses from Barcelona we took a local highway. I noticed a woman sun tanning in a beach chair at the first exit. Soon, I saw another woman at another exit. Soon, my husband saw it too, how odd, I thought to sunbathe on the highway. A couple of exists further and the beach attire the women were wearing became skimpier and skimpier. Their poses were, shall we say, suggestive….. One woman wore a bright yellow warning sign on her lap. I read some place that they are supposed to have that garment too. Apparently the highway is notorious for having women sell their bodies at exit ramps. Is it legal or illegal? My husband googled it but we never came up with a clear-cut answer. Whether it is or not is immaterial, it happens. Hey, what do I know, I’m just a tourist!

-There is no happier place on earth for me than on any beach, especially one that has shiny blue-green Mediterranean water. There are flowers in the middle of every street, each street for the town has red roses in the divider. Sigh.

-We went out to eat at a local place where we let the waitress tell the cook what to make for us. We didn’t speak their dialect of Spanish and they spoke no English, but we smiled a lot and pointed and laughed and had a delicious meal. We ended up eating a beef stew, very tender meat in a brown sauce, a salad of lettuce and fresh, ripe red tomatoes and a white cheese platter served on a white plate, creamy and delicious. Of course, my husband sampled the local sangria (that’s a given.)

-We stayed at a hotel that we hated. It seemed like it was a geriatric nursing home and we were in the wrong place. Mind you, we are NO youngsters but we felt like teenagers at this place. The hallways were dark and it felt like we were underground. I clutched my husband’s arm each time we had to go there. It smelled musty and dank, the food was mushy and had no taste, the coffee was undrinkable. After two long nights, we left. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. It had bad vibes written all over it, bad smell, bad everything.

-Our reward: I looked up another hotel that was about twenty minutes and closer to Barcelona for the way back. IT WAS STUNNING, it was also brand new. Things got mixed up but with our reservation but the hotel/resort was welcoming and beautiful. For our “inconvenience” they upgraded us to a suite overlooking the ocean. Ten minutes later, a bottle of complimentary champagne appeared at our door. We were in love.

to be continued……

“(S)He’s Leaving Home, Bye, Bye”*

Kleinkind beim Laufen

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(April, 2011)

My son, my first-born made his final decision for college in September. He’s excited, thrilled and after celebrating with him, I slipped away and am now holed up in my bedroom, sobbing. It’s not like I haven’t been prepared for this, it’s not like he’s still six it just feels like he was six a moment ago. He’s my boy and as much as I know how happy he is with his choice, the deposit put me over the edge. I fell apart; it was now official.

I know I am being ridiculous, this is not sudden bad news but it feels like a total shock to me. I am weeping and I can’t explain it except to say that while I am so happy for him, I feel vastly sorry for myself. This is my son, my first child, the kid I called “buddy” so many times my husband was worried people would think that was his name. This boy is a delight, a warm, compassionate, smart young man. At the age of 2 1/2 he stunned a grown-up friend when he used the word “compromise.” When the friend doubted him and asked him if he knew what that meant, he explained it beautifully: “If I want to go to bed at 9 and my daddy says 7 then we compromise in the middle.” You can’t argue with facts.

(June, 2011)

I lost it today, in the supermarket between the pizza rolls and the pizza bagels, two past favorite foods of my son. The tears welled up in my eyes and I started crying, quietly, discreetly but that was just strength of will on my part. I could have sobbed but I held myself together. My son is graduating High School in a week and a half. The day after, he leaves to go to his old camp to be a counselor. I never liked being left, that’s for sure. My parents left me alone a lot when I was younger so they could travel together in Europe. I would cry hysterically but once the yellow taxi disappeared from the view from my sixth floor kitchen window, I was alright.

I feel, like many other mothers and fathers feel that he is leaving me and us, the family. I know I am overreacting but this is how I feel. It’s a great thing, a joyful thing but the good feeling hasn’t caught up to my heart yet. In time, I’m sure it will. I just have to get used to it but it is a drawn out process.  I like to think that when he actually leaves FOR college I will be better, but who am I trying to kid?  I’ve never been great at change and this is a big one.

It doesn’t help that my daughter, only one grade year apart from her brother, will be a Senior in High School come September. This little girl of mine is smart, independent and always knew what she wanted from the minute she was born. She planned her birthday party themes four years in advance and stuck to each one of them. She is a fierce animal lover, and vegetarian, she is very smart, extraordinarily beautiful and has an incredible quick wit. This girl, wrapped her arms around my neck for years and wouldn’t let go. No one else could soothe her except me. Soon, she too, will be running out the door, this independent free spirit that I fervently admire.

In our hearts, our secret fear is that our sons and daughters will forget us. So, I am saying this now. Please remember we love you so much. Please don’t forget us or stop loving us. Keep in touch and the hug you give when you visit, try to make it last a second or two longer so that we can remember just how good it feels.

*Courtesy of The Beatles song

The Start Of Good-Bye

In two weeks my son will graduate from High School and head to his summer job, after that he will be going to college. This is harder than I thought it would be. It’s also brand new and I’ve never been too good with change.

Simple yet elegant prom corsage

I literally want to sink my head into my folded arms on my cheerful, flowery bedspread and cry. I want to cry loud and hard enough to erase the pain of change and sadness, new beginnings and endings. I want to cry for all the graduating seniors that will say good-bye in two weeks to their life-long friends, their girlfriends, their boyfriends, their parents, siblings, dogs, pets. I want to cry for me, I want to break down in unwavering sobs because it feels like I am losing my son to the future and I know that things will never be the same. Already, the “Seniors” have changed you can see it on their faces. Next year, my baby, my daughter will graduate High School as well.

I am a fluctuating emotional mess, happy, sad, crying, excited and miserable.  It is after prom and before graduation; it is the time in-between. The Pre-Prom party was at my son’s girlfriend’s lovely home. For me, it was like a Hollywood set, the girls with their glowing, shiny faces and beaming smiles, the sun streaming down on the back lawn highlighting their hair. Girls in long dresses of all colors: fuchsia, beige, royal blue, gold, gorgeous girls, each one of them, with the light in their eyes dancing, their faces sparkling. Their wrists adorned by delicate  wrist corsages awkwardly put on by their dates. I have known some of these girls since they were four. The young men in their tuxedos, stand tall and proud, handsome and mature. It felt like the tuxedo added years of wisdom and maturity to them.They stood brave and beaming, handsome and charming, strong and proud, very proud. Each one had a boutonniere shakily attached by nervous girls with manicured fingers.  My son posed willingly with the three best friends he has grown up with, solid friends, forever friends. He posed with his girlfriend, he posed with his family. This was a boy who refused pictures taken of him since he was nine.

These were not boys and girls anymore, here stood young men and young women going off very soon, to follow their dreams. Even though as parents we try to be prepared for the good-byes, it still hurts us. Like pieces of our heart literally being chipped off never to be repaired exactly like it was before. Our hearts still work but differently. With the young men and women’s new-found freedom, so too, comes pain. As a parent, not being able to prevent that pain is horrible yet I know, being a good parent means just that, letting them go solve their own problems, make their own mistakes.

As a mom, I am on an emotional roller coaster. Am I grieving beforehand like I usually do? Merely picturing graduation makes me wince. When my son actually leaves for college, I hope I will be just fine but anticipation is truly my downfall. I look at the photos I took of Pre-Prom over and over as if I will learn something new each time. Yet, every time I see the photos I see the same thing, utter, unblemished joy and happiness. As a parent, I wish that these things would continue but I know in a mere two weeks a lot of that joy will become heartache. It doesn’t seem fair does it? That is what growing up is all about, I’m afraid, there are always trade-offs.

These youngsters have precious little time to say good-bye to all their friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, best friends. I don’t envy their losses but I am happy for their new adventures. Tonight, on a dark and windy evening, I dread my own loss. My son is one of the nicest people I know, he is moving on and I will miss him. I love this boy of mine and in addition, I truly like him. Follow your dreams, first-born, the world will be a better place with you in it. That, I know, for certain. We will always be here for you, will always love you and support you unconditionally, when you are ready to leave, place that in your heart forever.

My Favorite Museum

NYC - MoMA: Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'...

Image by wallyg via Flickr

NYC

 

My favorite museum, since I was a teenager, was the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. While other kids in High School would cut school if they had free time, and hang out with friends and smoke cigarettes, I would hop on the subway either by myself or with my friend Elizabeth and that’s where we would go. The museum was a wonderful place full of sensory overload, modern art, photography exhibits, even film. “MOMA” as it is called had a sculpture garden where, in the nice weather, you could read outside, eat ice cream and dream if you wanted to, your face being warmed by the sun. I knew a lot of the paintings by heart and where they were placed. It was always comforting to go there. I also used to go with my sister where she would inevitably charm the guard we had known for years and he would let us slip in for free, something I was too shy to do on my own. There are few places that I can go to and feel like I was “home” yet feel excited to reunite with my favorite paintings. In the small gift shop (before it was redone) I nestled with the postcards and books and always bought a few postcards as a reminder of the time I spent there. Even now, if I had a choice, I would head to MOMA, but I would practically have to take out a bank loan since the admission prices now are so high. I still plan to go again, hopefully this year, because in reality, happiness and art and feeling alive, is priceless.

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Because Love Has No Religion

Roses

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I am slowly, very slowly and intensely taking off pink nail polish from my finger nails as if it was the most important task in the world. I feel like a surgeon scrubbing in to make him/herself totally antiseptic. It feels like that to me but I don’t know why exactly. I don’t know the codes or rules for going to a wake but I know, for myself, I have to wipe away every sign of sunshine from my hands because that feels right. My hands look plain, wrinkled, weather-beaten and bare. I’ve stripped off every clue to color because my friend Dawn is dead and the world feels color-less and grim.

I didn’t know what to expect at the wake; I had only been to one wake before in my life and that was thirty-five years ago. We arrived before the official hours and already the room was packed. I saw her husband, John first, and I hugged him, then their oldest daughter who hugged me as if to comfort me. Her middle son  sat tall and straight next to his friends and did not move, his eyes riveted to his mom’s casket. The youngest child was the most heartbreaking of all, he belonged to no one in that room. He was in his own world, going to the casket, returning to his seat, going to the casket and returning to his seat, his eyes on no one, alone in his private world. He sat neither with family or friends, he was in his own fragile bubble, looking younger than his years.

I thought in death, Dawn would look more like herself than she did in the last stages of her life. I somehow expected to feel comforted that I would see my friend as I had remembered her. I went slowly  up to the coffin although I was terrified; I knew it was something I had to do. But, inside my head, like an unrestrained child, inside my head I was screaming with disbelief and anger “this is not OUR Dawn” I thought, “THIS IS NOT OUR DAWN.”  In the coffin lay a woman I didn’t know, an old woman, with too much makeup. They had prayer cards with a picture of Dawn at her finest: natural, loving, with one of her great big smiles and that is what many people said they wanted to remember her by. Even though I felt the same way, the images for the next three nights when I tried to sleep were of Dawn in the open casket, someone I didn’t know, a stranger.

There were flower arrangements everywhere. A huge arrangement made from roses, dark, crimson roses that formed into a heart; it must have stood six feet tall. There were many other flowers, yellow, white, pink, every color you can imagine and as tall as one can dream.

Her husband John, then came over and put his arm around me to show me something. “I hope you don’t mind” he said but we used your letter to Dawn as our prayer.” In front of me, I saw a piece of paper with the words I had written FOR Dawn, many months before she died. It was called “Praying For Dawn” and somehow after writing it, I thought I would take a chance to drop it off at their house. It was meant for Dawn and her family, and yet here at the wake hundreds of people clutched the piece of paper that I had written.

Her family members wanted to meet me, they said they had all read it many times, I had no idea. I do remember that after I dropped it off I got a voice message in the back of my answering machine from Dawn, thanking me and telling me she loved it. I could barely make out her words but I never erased that message.  I gave my condolences to Dawn’s mom and she said “Oh, do you like that prayer, one of her friends wrote that!!!”  Somehow through my trembling lips and tears I managed to say that ‘I was that friend.’ I swear her eyes lit up and she thanked me and told me how often the family loved reading it. She asked ME if she could introduce me to Dawn’s father who had wanted to meet the friend that had written that poem. After the introduction, he hugged me, and then took my face in his hands and said “God Bless You”  “Thank you for writing that about Dawn, you captured her the way she really was. ” He told me he had wanted to meet the person who wrote it and knew I was a neighbor but didn’t want to walk into the wrong house and be embarrassed.”  I told him where I lived and told him that he and his wife were welcome to visit me at any time.

The emotional intensity for me was overwhelming. I was honored that they used my piece of writing at the same time I was in total emotional shock. People were complimenting me on something that I forgot about since I have written many pieces about Dawn in my blog. I looked at many of my earlier blog posts and I practically have a whole book about Dawn.

My husband practically had to drag me out of the door since we needed to get our daughter to her afternoon class. I saw an old dear friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time and we wrapped our arms around each other crying. “I feel so lost” she said, “I just feel lost.” We all felt that way, I think. Lost without a piece of sunshine in our lives, deprived forever more of this gift of a person who brought enjoyment to everyone she met. Dawn was our fighter, never giving up yet she still lost the fight to this horrendous disease. Dawn was our light, she was our strength, there was no one she didn’t like…..well, with the exception of a little dog in the neighborhood….We all laughed remembering that and it felt good.

Two days later I arrived at the church forty-five minutes before the service and again, there were many people inside. The church was beautiful, I had never been there before. The stained glass windows shone from the morning sun, the polished wood seemed inviting and homey. There were many new flowers, everywhere. So many people from our little community were there, every religion was represented, people from all parts of Dawn’s life were there to show their respect: sports teams, education, friends, family, neighbors, some of  the neighborhood kids, friends and their parents for all three children and the middle school Principal. Our community sometimes gets a really bad reputation but when something happens to one of our own, we come together as one. Our little town becomes so protective and so loving of one of its own; it’s happened before. Many years ago when a young boy had cancer, the town rallied together as well.

Both Dawn’s daughter and husband spoke at the funeral. Her daughter is a young woman with the most grace and poise I have ever seen. This young woman will be famous one day, I guarantee it. Everyone was either wiping their eyes or just letting the tears stream down their faces like leaks out of a rusty, old faucet. After the service the pallbearers brought the coffin out to the hearse. I saw a random pink flower on the ground that escaped and as much as I wanted to pick it up and touch it I couldn’t. It didn’t seem like the thing to do, it belonged to Dawn.

One thing I did not know was the tradition of the hearse and all the cars attending the cemetery making a final good-bye to the house where Dawn lived with her family. We drove around the loop as well and all I could think of was Dawn’s enormous Christmas wreath that she was always so proud of, hanging still around the front door. It seemed to me so heart-wrenching to do that, to watch her family ride in the car passing their house where their mother would never again live. Maybe it’s for closure too, I can only guess.

After that, we all went to our individual homes, sighing, looking at the ground, crying, solemn and gloomy and still, feeling that we were in a different world, a new reality. I don’t know how long it takes before the death of someone really hits you and takes its toll but I do know that it does take a while. After the company, the distractions, the food and the flowers, the only thing that matters is that there will be an empty chair at their kitchen table that no one can ever replace. And, at all her children’s’ games, their mom will not be there to encourage them and support them. Whatever condition Dawn was in, good or bad, in a wheelchair or not, Dawn was always there for her children, rooting for them, happy for them until the very last breath she took to say a peaceful “good-bye.”

Professional Goals for the Next Year – Plinky Prompt

Donna Reed as Donna Stone, Paul Petersen as Je...

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NO PROBLEM !

As a mom I have my professional goals all planned out. By the end of this year my son, a Senior in High School will be admitted to a college that he loves and of course one that we can afford (ha ha.) At the same time, our daughter who is a Junior now will also only want to look at SUNY colleges we can afford (and yes that means in OUR state only!) I’d like my husband to enjoy his job but spend more time with his loving wife (me) and I would like to have more (ok, some or even a little) fun.
I would also like to know, in the next five years what exactly a “movie” is, it’s been so long I can’t recall anything later than “The Princess Diaries” with my daughter and perhaps “Balto” with my son. I do admit I did bring the children to the movie “Recess” but since I slept through the entire thing, it doesn’t really count.
I want to travel, with my husband or by myself, I want to take a cooking class and maybe an art class or maybe a class at the community college. I want to continue writing and making collages and cards.
I want our kids to look forward to seeing us instead of trying every possible way to get out of the house for any reason just so they are not home! Now, the kids only go out with their friends, even going out to dinner with their parents is embarrassing, not to mention a family vacation. What kid would say “No” to a free trip to Spain? Spain!!! One or both of mine, apparently. Further, my goal is to enjoy my grown-up time when both kids are in college. And as I quote my husband when I asked him what another word for “empty nester” was, he smiled broadly and happily yelled” FREEDOM.”

Hey Ba, I Think It’s Now

a bird nest

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I’m beginning to think that”these days may just BE the good old days” and I want to stop and appreciate them as much as I can. I want to  savor my children’s laughter, energy, and yes, even fighting. I want to enjoy family dinners served with a sauté of sarcasm and lumpy cheese sauce with laughter. I’m not saying that things are great but they are definitely good enough and  that’s just fine. My husband is still unemployed and our kids are just about to skip from home to college and I will be living in my own new reality, as an “empty-nester” which is both incredibly sad and exciting.

When I was in my early twenties, my best friend Barbara and I would alternate saying “Laur, when is it gonna get better?”or “Hey Ba, when is it going to get better?” I don’t even remember now what was so bad back then. We asked each other this as we were selecting French pastries from a small patisserie: the fruit tart or the chocolate mousse? Two Libra girls in an enchanting bakery meant only one thing: both. Now, thirty years later, back then seemed like it WAS better but it was just different. “Youth” is wasted on the young” my mother used to mutter. We laughed and knew she didn’t know what she was talking about. We have all said the exact, same thing to our children as they look back at us and roll their eyes. How can we expect them to understand what no other generation ever did before?

Rereading the book Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg is helping to keep me in the present. It’s a book about a woman dying of cancer and her loving friends. It makes you stop and think about your life. For me, these are the good old times. Are we silly enough to think that things will get easier as we get older? They don’t. I prescribe reading Ms. Berg’s book surrounded by tissues and as Oprah would say “a-ha” moments.

Now, while we still have our two children home, at least for a few more months I am relishing my time with them. I want to freeze these days like photographs on our mantel. My son, my first born, a Senior, is always running out the door, his black and orange sneakers barely trailing him. He has about four and a half months before he leaves home  for the summer to be a Counselor at the camp he attended for many years. Camp is my son’s other home; it is a magical place that helped shape him as a person. My first-born,  has the same temperament as I do; we understand each other with a casual glance. He’s waiting to hear from colleges in the near future. As much as I try to spend time in the present, I miss him already.

My daughter, a Junior in High School came home from “College Night”  and sounded like a newly opened bottle of soda; her enthusiasm and excitement was contagious.  “I want to go to college tomorrow, Mom” she chirped.  I will have a whole year with just her where she doesn’t have to share the limelight with her older brother. I am not even ready to think about what life will be like when she goes off to college. This beautiful young woman will always be my baby.

I would like the world to stand still so I can try and burn memories in my heart. My nine year old dog is sleeping at the foot of my bed. The children laugh, fight, shout and antagonize each other yet their love for each other is incredibly obvious. I know my husband will find a job eventually and I just want to hold on to this feeling of our family; for as long as I possibly can. Here is my life lesson: cherish each moment; it’s as simple as that.

Cheer-Me-Up Music (Don’t Bring Me Down)

Bruce Springsteen

It really depends on what I am feeling down about. First choice,  Bruce Springsteen gets me singing and rocking, rocking and rolling. You can count on him to elevate your mood; he’s better than Prozac. His music can get you out of your misery by the sheer joy of singing to his music. I even saw him in concert once, the best performer ever (Thanks, Claudine.)

When I need comforting and want to reminisce about the past and easier times it’s John Denver who comforts me. I think about high school and my friend Paula and our mini John Denver fan club. We were young, life was good, we just didn’t know it back then. Now we look back and remember the easiest time of our lives and probably the happiest. We lived, and breathed his songs, we argued endlessly about his lyrics, we had a crush on him. Hey, it was the 70’s, don’t judge! John Denver represented young people, happiness, nature and good times. When he died prematurely, we were crushed.

Also, old stand-byes like Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor and of course, The Sound of Music are guaranteed to bring a smile to my face.

More recent cheerful music includes: “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, “hey tonight’s gonna be a good, good night, woo-hoo,” Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine.” I really could go on and on but instead, I think I will put on iTunes and listen to some music, right now.

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