Music and Memories

Every so often, when I’m alone in my Tiny House, I will begin humming. It’s a kind of unconscious thing with me. Sometimes it takes a while for me to put words to the tune, but when the words show up, I’m no longer alone. The memories come flooding in.

The other day I heard myself humming a song from my long ago world. It was Sweet Little Alice Blue Gown. Never heard of it?  Not surprising…it was written in 1919…even I wasn’t born yet. But when I recognized the melody, my mind went back to my mother, Alice, who used to sing that song to me from infancy to teenaged impatience. My mother, as you probably gathered from frequent references, had a soft voice and a lovely way of singing me through a whole lot of troubles.

Everything seemed better. It wasn’t great music I suppose, but I loved it then, I love it still and I remember how we danced as she sang.

In my sweet little Alice blue gown,
When I first wandered down into town,
I was so proud inside,
As I felt every eye,
And in every shop window I primped, passing by.

My father wrote a few songs himself, but they were only used in little local shows – in which he also starred.  Not long ago I heard me humming a song I THINK he wrote, but I could be wrong. It was a sad song, and was never heard anywhere except a show I saw him do.

I lost my faith in you

I found you were untrue.

You promised dream castle in Spain dear.

But brought only heart ache and pain dear…

I cried then and I cry now as I recreate the scene. My father wore his beautiful tuxedo and sang to a beautiful girl in a pretty gown (she had to use one of her own gowns, there was no budget for costumes). They danced as he sang and at the very end, he spun her off stage. The curtain closed on Act One with him standing alone, staring at the hand-painted grey sky.

My father entered into another song memory, this one where he saved me from facing the cold fact that, as time approached for my Senior Prom, I DIDN’T HAVE A BOYFRIEND! Oh, I knew a couple of boys, but they were all brothers of my girl friends, so they didn’t count. Realizing that my life practically depended on it, Father found me a man. Not just any neighborhood guy, but a real live Marine! WOW! His name was Lucky and he showed up the night of the prom with the required wrist corsage and wearing formal marines blues.  He was BEAUTIFUL, and every girl there wanted to meet him –  almost as badly as I wanted them to. To father’s dismay, Lucky didn’t go away. We dated for a while and the song that brings him to mind is I’ll Walk Alone.  He had me promise to “walk alone” until he got back from World War 2. The song was to remind me of my promise not to have any other guy take his place.

 I’ll walk alone because, to tell you the truth, I’ll be lonely
I don’t mind being lonely
When my heart tells me you are lonely, too
I’ll walk alone, they’ll ask me why and I’ll tell them I’d rather
There are dreams I must gather
Dreams we fashioned the night you held me tight
I’ll always be near you wherever you are each night
In every prayer
If you call I’ll hear you, no matter how far
Just close your eyes and I’ll be there
Please walk alone and send your love and your kisses to guide me
Till you’re walking beside me, I’ll walk alone
I’ll always…

Yeah.  Sure. It was wartime. I was 17 and there was a city full of lonely soldiers, sailors and marines. And Lucky was far away, apparently safe from combat but not from boredom. We both grew tired of walking alone.

But the song is still lovely.

Songs aren’t relegated to yesterday’s memories. A little over three years ago, I moved into my Tiny House in Woodland Hills. Even with the love and support of my new extended family, leaving all that was familiar for the unknown made me feel a little bit like Lili from the musical Carnival. Lili sings about feeling alone after a life in her hometown, Mira, where “everybody knew her name.”

A room that’s strange is never cozy.
A place that’s strange is never sweet.
I want to have a chair that knows me,
and walk a street that knows my feet.
I’m very far from Mira now,
and there’s no turning back.

I have to find a place.
I’ve got to find a place,
where everything can be the same.
A street that I can know,
and places I can go,
where everybody knows by name.

With 300 square feet, it didn’t take long to learn every inch of my new home. But I now feel part of the fabric of my new neighborhood as well. Yesterday, my Lyft driver remembered me. My hairdresser, manicurist, dry cleaner, Milo’s vet, assorted waitresses and waiters, not to mention the sales people at Macy’s, Target and Ralph’s all know me.

To paraphrase the composer, Bob Merrill:

 Can you imagine that?

Can you Imagine that?

Everybody knows my name.

There’s another song title from Carnival that fits my life these days – it’s simply called Humming.

Alice Blue Gown

WHATEVER THE QUESTION,  HATE ISN’T THE ANSWER

 

Most of my Blogs are relatively light.  I am not inclined to concentrate on things that make me unhappy.  But the climate in this country today is just too sad to be endured silently.

We will start with a general description of my approach – as honestly as I can describe it.

I am a Democrat and have been for practically ever. Ideally, for me, that means I think everyone has a right to think whatever they feel is best – NO MATTER HOW WRONG THEY ARE!

Okay.  So I’m not a Mother Theresa or a Gandhi. But what I am, I believe, is a person who is able to see how it is possible for really wonderful people to disagree with me.  What I am finding, even among some of my closest friends, is a lack of that particular talent – yes – talent.  It takes real discipline to look at someone and understand how they can have the same facts available as I have, and still disagree.

Obviously, it is possible!  And THAT, is what makes a Democracy a Democracy.  You have a right to be wrong!  And no one has a right to try to stop you.  But the level of hate that is being spewed around our country these days is beyond belief. It is one of the few emotions that is being sent out urgently by both sides of the arguments that separate us.

I do NOT think Donald Trump is good for this country.  I don’t know for sure who is.  But I know without a doubt that posting a sign that says “Republican lives don’t matter” will not make anything better.

Yes, I actually did see that!

Not only do Republican lives matter, but “Black Lives Matter.”  And White Lives Matter and Mexican Lives Matter as do all the other versions of humanity.  Some of us have never met a Buddhist or a Hindu but if they vote against what we believe, we are willing to write them off.

This can’t be good for anyone.

I will now ponder the possible reaction to this piece.  Possibly I will loose my nerve and never publish it.  Unless I can kill anger with a funny line, I don’t know what to do.  I fear hate, whether personal or wide spread.

I don’t expect love from the world, or admiration.  None of that good stuff.  But please, before hate becomes the acceptable answer, let us think about loving our neighbor…no matter what kind of a nut case he/she may be.

Peace out.

 

I Remember That!

“All women wearing pants will be escorted from the front of the church and be relocated to the back…(pause here for effect)…BEHIND the pews.”

Father O’Shea, the pastor and arbitrator of all things right and proper, stood at the foot of the altar. He was, as I remember – shaking with righteous indignation.

A sudden, nervous silence raced around the over crowded church. Children laughed…imagining Mother in church without pants! They stopped almost instantly as the nuns raced up and down the aisles to silence them.

Women, even those who had made the decision to defy all kinds of sanity and wear SLACKS to church, looked around nervously as the hapless ushers (all men of course,) moved through the rows to tap the designated offenders to their new positions of disgrace. The year? Approximate, but I’m thinking 1950-ish.

I don’t remember what the occasion was, but I do know it WAS an OCCASION.  The church was more than usually crowded and folks were dressed up a bit more.  I think I remember it was graduation for the elementary school students –And, to give credit where it was due, Father O’Shea had chosen wisely for getting the most bang for his buck…or audience for his drama.

NO WOMAN WHO CHOSE TO WEAR MEN’S ATTIRE WOULD BE WELCOMED IN HIS CHURCH.

It wasn’t dogma. It wasn’t taken from the bible as we thought we knew it. After all, if we went by that, we’d all be wearing  – well – nothing.  Like Adam and Eve.

However, Father O’Shea did have an effect.  Local thrift stores were inundated with almost-new pants suits.

Many years later, when my son, John, was being graduated from, high school, I went to HIS graduation wearing a pants suit of my choosing.  Now, I wasn’t quite brave enough to do this alone.  No, I conned a friend, the mother of one of John’s friends, into buying a matching suit.

I felt downright brave. Inspired and inspiring to others. Okay, really kind of silly taking a stand for Women’s right to choose their own clothes.  I also thought I looked quite striking.  Pants suits hid a lot of truths

If I am being totally honest – I was probably reveling in the attention.  But poor Anne Marie, my fellow rebel, was just going along for the ride.  Literally. I had a car for the day and she didn’t. Anyway…we arrived at the graduation and A.M. whispered, nervously.

“I don’t see any other women wearing pants, do you?”

I certainly did not. And, here’s that honesty thing again, I was probably very glad no one else showed up in slacks.  After all, you can only be a rebel if you are in the minority, and a minority of three dulls the edge.

“I bet they’re all feeling sorry for us,  having chosen to dress like men,” A.M. said miserably.

“And WE,” I said grandly, “can feel sorry for them in turn for their inability to recognize a fashion opportunity like this one to be leaders in …” I have to admit I paused here. I couldn’t quite figure out what we were leading…

“The fashions of the future!”

The sentiment was right but the voice was wrong.  I hadn’t said it.  Anne Marie did!

Damn all.  I went to all this trouble to drag her into the new fashion world and she had the best line!

But I did get bragging rights.

“Oh yes, I remember it well.” I say casually. “I was one of the early fashion dare devils. Practically had to drag my friends kicking and screaming into the new world of fashions…why I remember…” but about here, interest has moved on.

My drama is a bit lost in a civilization where we are now choosing our SEX rather than our clothes.

I’m not there yet, and I realize that, at my age, I’d better hurry.

women in pants.jpg

AS TIME GOES BY

I was just working around my Tiny House the other day and I began humming a song I didn’t recognize. I do that a lot of late. They are remnants of tunes that I grew up with…

I was humming along when the words just started to present themselves…except not all of them.  So I went right to Safari and typed in:  “You’d be Surprised” .  And there they were…almost as I remembered them.

The “cheat sheet” presented me with a line I knew to be incorrect…

 “At a party or at a ball

I’ve got to admit

He’s nothing at all.

But in a modest chair

You’d be surprised.”

 Wait. What?  A modest chair?

No.  NO!  NO!!!

It’s “…In a MORRIS chair.”  Doesn’t everybody know that?

Apparently not.

I know it because the Morris chair was a big, big part of my childhood. Grandmom McTague (my mother’s mother} lived with us when I was very young, She’d had a stroke that left her with a bad limp and a left hand that did nothing. My memory of her is seeing her everyday, in her room, embroidering.  And she sat there, regally working away with the help of an embroidery hoop my Uncle Harry had attached to the left arm of her “cozy Morris chair.”  It gave her the ability to achieve some really detailed work with her “cozy” chair providing her with a steady grip on the creation.

I stopped short of crying, just thinking about it. But all that work on her part led to each family member having his/her own embroidered pillow case…lovely to look at but impossible to sleep on because the design required very lumpy stitching and no one had the heart to ask her to stop.

But the thought triggered another memory… of words in almost-forgotten songs that no longer make any sense to the world at large.

Take this one from “Among My Souvenirs”.

“Some letters tied with blue…

a photograph or two.

I find a rose from you

Among my souvenirs.”

Romantic to someone of a certain age, but for today’s audience, it falls into the “Who sends letters?”

Ah romance….

There’s one song, “When Francis Dances with Me” that I still sing, just because it amuses me and because it was written in 1921…meaning it is another living thing older than I am that is still hanging in there. And I get to use my idea of a Bronx accent while singing about going dancing in the Bowery…a place of such ill repute, that no gentleman would even speak its name in mixed company.  And no nice girl would even admit to knowing of its existence. While the whole song is dated, one line particularly smacks of another era:

…”I fit in his arms like a motorman’s glove.”

I even stumped my computer with this one, but when I was a kid, everyone (well almost everyone) rode the trolley and the guy in charge of the trolley was the motorman and all motormen wore a particular kind of glove.  Ergo…the saying.

Easter bonnets are quaint all on their own, but “The Easter Parade”, a song from 1933 refers to looking so lovely, you’ll find yourself in a rotogravure. Probably not ringing any bells, right?  A rotogravure was technically a printing process, but was also what we called the color magazine of a Sunday newspaper. Now, in most cities, you’d be hard pressed to find a fat Sunday paper, let along a magazine insert.

I knew there were many, many more examples if I could just call them to mind.  And then I remembered listening to my then early teenaged granddaughter, Celia, Jr., attack ”Lullaby of Broadway” in high school.

Celia has a lovely voice and I’ve always enjoyed listening, but there was a lack of… conviction…this time. This was noteworthy because, if you know my granddaughter, she could very rarely be accused of lacking conviction. And then it occurred to me: the words weren’t making sense to her.

Not surprising.

Take a look and imagine trying to translate these lyrics into her world.

“The hi de hi and hoo di hoo,

The Lullaby of Broadway.

The rumble of a subway train,

The rattle of a taxi.

The daffodils who entertain,

At Angelo’s and Maxie’s.”

Who were these “daffodils”? Some say it was a reference to “choir girls”, but it was also whispered that “daffodil” was slang for a gay man. In 1935, writing about homosexuality, even covertly, was scandalous. I would not have know what “gay” meant…let alone “daffodil” when I was in high school. My granddaughter, meanwhile, came of age where she would of course know all about the concept, but not the quaint slang of a bygone era. While I certainly would never want to go back to that mind-set, I think “daffodils” is a perfect, evocative term – beautiful, colorful, ready to enliven any room or party, singularly or in a group.

Times change, music changes, sensibilities change. I used to feel out of time growing up. I was a little bit of a non-conformist in a straight-laced world. I’m happy to see a world…at least the world I inhabit…trying to evolve into a place ready to accept differences in people.

But, oh, to fit in someone’s arms like a motorman’s glove once more would be lovely.

Version 2

 

 #OCEANS2

I gave the title of this piece a lot of thought. Mostly because I wasn’t sure I was using #tag correctly. Looking at it and knowing what I want it to mean, I’m still not sure….but it is kind of eye catching isn’t it?

And that IS what I was looking for. Something familiar, yet different.

So –

What it’s all about is this:

I have a cause.

Pause here for you all to take a deep breath because today’s world is just too damn full of people with causes. But stay with me here ’cause this cause is just too big to let go.

About a week or so ago I saw a picture of  one of nature’s miracles. A huge whale. A magnificent mammal…and before you rush to judgment, I looked it up and I quote:

“Mammals all are warm-blooded animals, they breathe air, have hair and moms feed their babies milk from mammary glands. Whales actually do all these things”

Sadly this particular whale was no longer magnificent. He would never again rise majestically out of the waters and slam down with a great crash, while boat loads of enthralled tourists stare in disbelief at his size and his agility and – well –magnificence.

This whale was dead. Beached. Brought down by one of mankind’s great achievements.

PLASTIC.

Yep. This whale had swallowed about 1000 pieces of plastic which we thoughtlessly tossed into the waters off our shores. And then he died.

Oh, I am well aware of suffering people. I read, and cringe everyday about injustices done to humans, animals and to our abused world in general. And I would never suggest that Whales replace anyone’s dedication to any of these causes.

What I do suggest is that we do LESS.

Start small. You probably don’t really need to drop those avocados you’re buying into a separate plastic bag. If you buy fancy plastic plates for a next party, wash them and use them for a future occasion.

Currently my big effort is cutting down the number of big plastic trash bags I use everyday.  I normally used one a day. That meant seven very large bags every week, and that is for me, living alone. Families must use many more. Millions of people – billions of bags – all going in to our oceans where they do incalculable harm, including killing all kinds of under water living things. Both plants and beings.

We have now reached the explanation for the title. I have managed to bring my contribution down to two bags a week. I carry the trash out, dump it into the bin and then take the empty bag back into the house, where I wash it and reuse it. I found that the bags were inclined to collapse when I tried to stretch that. The result? I only need two bags a week. Get it?  #Oceans2.

I know. It’s a very small thing. But it is SOMETHING. And if we all do it, it will help. Meantime, there are the shopping bags to reuse and the straws we can do without and, well, just look around you.

There is plastic everywhere.

I’m not sure how many inventive things we can do to cut down on the harm we are doing everyday.  But this is the only world we have (so far) to call our own. Let’s try not to drown it in more plastic.

If you have some practical suggestions of your own for saving our planet, please share them…Let’s work at getting to #Oceans0.

 

Late idea:  I went shopping today and bought those extra heavy duty black bags. It’s my guess that I may be able to get away with using just one each week. 

YAY ME.

That’s Entertainment

A whole lot of fascinating stuff has happened to the world since I got here.

The way we travel, dress, eat, all changed.  Dramatically. What was a Sci Fi movie when I was growing up is laughably dated. Buck Rogers doesn’t even have his own century any more.

But for me, that past is still amazing.

This first story was handed down by my father, and, not surprisingly, it has to do with radio, since that particular area sort of ruled his world.

This particular memory seems to predate even the use of the name RADIO.  Dad talked instead about the family gathering around the kitchen table in order to listen to some very poor transmission coming from a bunch of earphones tossed into a crystal bowl.

“Well,” my father said “the thing is we had always used earphones for listening up to this point. But then somebody, somewhere, figured out that by putting several pairs of earphones into a cut glass bowl, they could raise the sound to a level where a whole family could listen at the same time!”

He reckoned “early 1900” as the time of this wondrous discovery. Now, since I am working in today’s time I can say with some certitude that the year was around 1910. Google knows everything.

By the time he shared this particular bit of history, we had been dealing for quite a while with a rather over sized cabinet style hunk of furniture which served as our  “RADIO” that took up a good part of what we referred to as our “Parlor”.

That word – Parlor – has disappeared from casual usage,…it’s sort of a Downton Abbey kind of word, meaning the room the family stayed out of most of the time so it would always be sparkling clean when a guest arrived. Mom seemed to feel that her reputation depended on it.

Once radio moved into everyone’s home, the audience started drifting outside for entertainment…So we got vaudeville and silent films. And then there were TALKING PICTURES.

Actually, “Talking pictures” were already a fact of everyone’s life by the time I joined the crowd that spent every Saturday at the movies.  By the time I became aware of films and theatres, Al Jolson was already singing his heart out about his “little Mammie”.

No more did the beautiful damsel in distress have to rely on raised eyebrows and typed-in dialogue. And handsome heroes like Tarzan of the Apes could yodel their way though the jungle to save poor frightened, but always loyal Jane, from the evils lurking there.  Subtlety was not big on screen

All this was available for a nickel and a Saturday spent at the moves was really a WHOLE Saturday.  Typically we’d get to see a weekly serial like Flash Gordon, and a News reel and then either a double feature or a live vaudeville show. Which usually included a clown and maybe some magic tricks and some dancers.  None of it was very good, but we had nothing to judge by so it was all considered great.

I remember one Saturday when my sister Jackie and I went to see Nelson Eddy and Janette McDonald in “Rose Marie.”

My sister aspired to becoming the next Janette, so we stayed to see the movie three times. I, the alto in the family, really hated Janette MacDonald but Jackie was the older sister and I wasn’t allowed to walk home without her – so there I sat fuming.

I stubbornly refused to change my mind about Janette, until one time, many years later, I was at a live theatre show and so was she… seated in the audience like a regular person!

The show was about two and a half hours long, and never once did she curl into the back of the seat, but casually sat, ramrod straight, for the entire performance. Now that was a performance I could admire, but when I tried to achieve it, all I got was a major pain in the neck.

Personally, I think films did themselves a disservice by revealing the magic-like special effects of automobiles flying off cliffs and soldiers killing each other…some with a sinister smile on their faces and some just sad depending on whether they were the bad guys or us.

We could (almost) believe that the noble men we were watching were actually dying to save us all, or that the really rotten bad guys died when their brakes gave out and they sailed off the end of the earth!  And when Florence Nightingale and her nurses marched into those hospital wards, I could just imagine me leading the women into battle.  Brave. Unflappable.  And pretty – even in war!

I remember going to see a short film about how Hollywood could create robot-people, or blow a random planet filled with terrifying aliens right out of the sky.  Or, on a happier note, bring us singing mermaids and mice turned into horses for Cinderella.

Now we give prizes for the most successful Special Effects. Which is probably as it should be, but I really enjoyed the thrill before I knew everything was faked – an illusion.

Among my father’s many talents was that of magician. He had nothing but respect for the concept of illusion. I have to disagree with him here. My feeling is more in line with the Hungarian novelist Arthur Koestler (a contemporary of my father’s time) who said:

“Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion”

Mr. Koestler probably meant some big life-illusion, like love-lost but I really miss the days of watching those stalwart mice, Jac and Gus turning into horses and waiting on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next.

mice.jpg

See you at the movies – or not.

 

 

 

Mother was spelled N-I-C-E

My mother had to be one of the nicest people you could ever meet.

And therein lies my explanation – and excuse – for her absence from most of the stories I have written about my life and good and bad times.

NICE is difficult to write about.

It isn’t colorful. Or Funny! Or “simply fascinating” –  it is merely NICE. And these days, it is said frequently with a touch of derision as in “Oh, god, yeah. She’ so damned nice she can’t even spell a four letter word.”

Growing up I took that niceness for granted. I knew that, no matter what happened, my Mother would be nice about it. She could fix small cuts and bruises on her own, but she could also call the doctor and ask him to come over immediately if she thought her family was showing signs of – well – anything she didn’t want them to be showing.

If either my sister Jackie or I was feeling hurt by another child, she wouldn’t tell us we were being silly.  Or that it wasn’t important that your classmates didn’t pick you for the team.  Instead, she would find a way to make us feel that there were obviously better things that needed our particular attention, and that obviously no other child could do them as well.

Mom looked pleased each summer when my father announced that the Steck family was scheduled to take its yearly vacation in Wildwood-By-The-Sea in New Jersey. I didn’t like Wildwood-By-The-Sea then, and I still don’t. Too much sand. It gets in your toothpaste and soap and shoes and…well, anyplace else you didn’t want it.  It also burned your feet. Every summer, I ranted and raged and cried and threatened to run away. Mother, on the other hand, smiled encouragingly and started to pack.

I begged my father to let me stay home with him but it turned out that every year that we went to Wildwood, Daddy went on a friend’s boat and they had all kinds of fun. But no kids were allowed. It was a law, he said.

Mother bought Jackie and me new bathing suits so everyone would think we were the prettiest girls on the beach.  I didn’t believe that, but it helped get me into the car.

And Oh, god help us, what a mess that car was.  It was a Model T, one of the last ones off the line in 1927. It was small, and dark and hot and there were about seven of us plus an extra suitcase or two and, as the youngest, it was my place to sit on one of the suitcases, on the floor, where I promptly got violently ill and everyone had to get out of the car while we stopped at the closest gas station where the attendant (yes.  There was an attendant who normally filled the car with gas, checked the oil and washed the widows) anyway – the attendant hosed down the floor for us and dragged out a fan to dry it.

Then we would pile back in and Uncle Harry would take his place behind the wheel and glower at me.  But Mother was NICE about it. She dried my tears and, defying anyone to accuse me of doing it on purpose, sang me pretty songs to soothe my fevered brow.

It took me years to find out she didn’t want to go either.

“Too much sand,” she whispered.

One time a lady friend of my mother told me that she thought my Mom was the nicest person she had ever known.  While I wouldn’t disagree with her, I wondered why.  And she told me.

“You know,” she said, “how people call when a friend is in trouble and offer to help?”

I assured her I did know that, so she continued. “Well, most people call and ask what they can do, and usually the person who has the problem can’t think of what she needs.

“But YOUR Mom doesn’t do that. She calls up and tells you that she is on her way over.  She is going to pick up the kids and take them to the playground for a while and then she will get them lunch.  Then she shows up and does it!  And you realize that she was right, that’s exactly what you needed.”

My mother was too nice to be a good liar. During World War II, when butter was scarce, it was replaced by a white, oblong blocks of white margarine that looked like lard. To make the margarine look more palatable, a packet of yellow dye came with the suspect-looking margarine. The idea was, you softened the margarine, mixed it with the dye, then patted the oblong back into shape.

My mother would add the dye and do her best to reshape the now bright, almost neon, yellow oblong, to very sad results. Jackie and I would have none of it. When my mother was lying, her mouth formed into a straight line. Every time she presented the margarine-as-butter, her mouth was almost non-existent. My mother was nice – Jackie and I…not so much.  We never humored her and ate dry toast until butter went back on the table.

One more nice thing.  Neither of my parents went to college. They grew up in tight communities and there was prejudice all around – which neither of them bought into.

But it’s easy to be open-minded when you never come in to contact with any of those “Others.”

Well, one Christmas I offered my Mom a real chance to put her “love thy neighbor” outlook to the test…even if the neighbors came from far, far away.

I was at Temple University and I was distressed by the number of my friends who would be staying in the dorms for the holidays. So asked my Mother if I could invite four friends to Christmas dinner and, she, of course, said yes.

The friends were astounded by the invitation but I assured them it would be fine.

Come Christmas day, when the doorbell rang somewhere around dinner time, Mother went to the door to be greeted by four slightly insecure young Arabs.  You would have thought she met their folks at the market every day judging by the casual way she greeted them and made them welcome and loved..

But there was no one around to take notice or offer her a medal for just being herself.

Yep, my Mom was that Nice.  You would have loved her.

I did.

I do.

Attachment-1.jpeg Jackie (l), Mother (c) Me (r) “down the shore”