Friday, July 25, 2014

Grammy has her groove

Early in the morning before the store opens, the young women who work there crank up the music. I ring in and start dancing down the aisle to clock in at the front of the store. Tori looks at me and begins to laugh. Then she starts dancing with me. Yep, I might be 67, but I can still dance.

Sometimes I think it shocks our children and grandchildren that we danced rock and roll long before they were born. We danced to The Beatles and Beach Boys. We swayed with The Mamas and The Papas. Mick Jagger rocked us out of high school with I Can't Get No Satisfaction. We could twist, we could rock, we definitely could roll. So what is the surprise that we still love that type of music and still have our groove!?

On the weekends, we sat in front of the TV and watched American Bandstand. A world of music and the faces that went with it became part of our lives. I remember once in high school we went to Dayton for the local version of American Bandstand. It was exciting to know that TV cameras were rolling while we danced. We wore our bobby socks and straight skirts. Hair was teased into submission and our lips were bright red. It was the 60's and the beginning of what our grandkids dance to today. 

I think perhaps were have lived during the most exciting time in music history. We grew up on our parents' music. Then came that music of our older siblings. Pat Boone, Andy Williams, the crooners and the Patsy Cline and Ricky Nelson. Elvis Presley took music to a new level. The Supremes. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  Gladys Knight and Pips. The Temptations. We came in on a wave of new music.

There were songs that meant a lot to each of us. Our first steps into the future were greeted with songs by Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Judy Collins and many more asking for peace not war. John Lennon wrote Imagine that has be proclaimed as one of the greatest songs of all time. It was a time of rebellion in our music as well as in our lives. A time of deciding just who you wanted to be.

When my kids were growing up, I made it a point to listen to their music. I sang along with them. Now I listen to those my granddaughters enjoy. I try to find out about the singers in order to show them that Grammy can be pretty cool. Grammy really does care. I still love the Golden Oldies, because they remind me of special times in my life. Perhaps a dance and a special boy. Perhaps a time when there was a loss. More times than not, they remind me of laughter and days gone by.

I remember my mom dancing the Charleston well into her later years. A big smile would cross her face, and I could see the girl she was long before. She was an inspiration. I want to be an inspiration, too. I plan to keep my groove until I can groove no more. Indeed Grammy has her groove.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dial it forward

The phone sat by the toy box. It's eyes rolling and forth when pulled around the room. "These kids will not know what an old phone was like." Said an adult at the twin's birthday party. And, indeed that is the way of it. I barely remember the old phone hanging on the wall with the big bells on the front. Then the dial phone came later changing to the push button phone. These were the changes seen in the time of my parents.

My granddaughter who is now age 2 can pick up my cell phone, unlock it and find an application I downloaded for her and her brother. She can pick up my camera, turn it on, point and shoot. The caller and callee can now see one another. I can check my mail, pay my bills, take a picture and look up bumfuzzle in the dictionary on my phone. What would my mother think?

Times change. I do not think that we ever give up the things we knew growing up, thinking them the best of times. I still hold dear to my heart the things of my past which I guess you realize since this is what I write often in this column. My sister and I skyped this morning on our computers. Wow! I love seeing her wonderful face as we talk. Still we did what we always do, recalling things from the past.

Recently, a friend posted a picture of our old homestead. As always, seeing my home brought tears to my eyes. "We certainly lived in a beautiful home, didn't we?" I said to my sister.  "Yes, we were very lucky."  she replied. Beautiful and full of memories. Not just walls but a place where history happened. Where an old crank phone was replaced by one with buttons. A radio replaced by a television. A pump replaced by indoor plumbing. An outhouse replace.....well, you get the point. I think perhaps we all store those treasures away despite the new 'fangled' things that come and go. A history resides in pictures and words. The layers of time built upon one another. I cannot begin to imagine what my grandchildren will experience in their time. I hope that I am receptive and excited to learn from them as the remote control and laptop fade into the past.

The little phone sat against the toy box with eyes that roll. Next to it sits a two-year-old holding toy cell phone.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


 Believe it or not. It's your choice. However, before you decide be aware.

"You need to get those stockings that zip up the side," Tari told me when I was complaining about tired legs after a long day at work. Tari has MS and is totally bedridden. She watches TV constantly  and believes every ad she sees. This started me thinking. I was an actor and understand the process that goes into commercials and ads. What is seen on the screen is not real. It is advertising.

What does it take to get into a film or a commercial? Well, it doesn't take much. I was in a couple of industrial films. These are films that are used for training purposes. Industrial films are used by government, medical industry, etc, to inform the public. I liked them because they paid well and a shoot only lasted a day or two. These commercials had a good message and didn't sell anything.

So who are these people in the commercials? Well, very seldom are they the people they portray. Rarely, in fact. When actors are called to a commercial audition, they go totally unaware of the commercial product. When you sign with an agent, you are listed in categories that fit your look and talents. I once went on a call where they were looking for black men, housewives and prostitutes. So here I am in a room full of the above which was really quite comical. Just for the record, I was there as a housewife. Sell. That's what it is all about. The best way to sell is to use people who might be like you and your neighbors. And, sometimes they pay stars big money to sell their products as well. Just a paycheck for all involved. It doesn't mean endorsement.

I was in an industry film where I played a dock boss.  I definitely was never a dock boss and got the role by just walking into a room with a shocked look on my face. Well, I walked in twice and got the main role. In the next film, I was an alcoholic mom. We shot the film in a house that was scoped out by the advance team. They just found a house, knocked on the door, got permission to shoot, and we shot three industrial films that day in the same house. I had been producing plays on drugs and alcohol for years so this role was easy for me. I was a shoe-in. But it was not real. We were actors pretending to be the people we played in a house that certainly did not belong to any of us.

Recently I have been zeroing in on these cheaply made commercials. Sometimes you actually see an actress in one role selling a product and in the next she is on a sofa with her newly matched love of her life. A picture is shown of  'before' and then we see the 'after'. The before picture is often not the same person. I tried to read the small print (disclaimers) posted on these commercials. The words are blurred and pass quickly from the screen. Don't be fooled. These are commercials just trying to pull you in. The man who says he is a veteran is most likely not a vet but a body builder. The woman who has an infirmity probably is an actress who loses her infirmity immediately after the camera stops rolling. This is an industry of actors, directors and marketing strategy. This is an industry making money by pulling you into buying the sponsors' products.

As a side note:  A friend of mine received a phone call telling her that she had something wrong with her computer and was asking permission to get into her system to repair the problem. Beware. These are more than likely people trying to get into your system and to capture you information. If you receive such call, never give permission. Immediately call your internet provider and tell them what has happened. They might in turn tell you to contact the police. Do it. Make a difference in stopping these criminals.

These are the ramblings of a woman who cares and wants to pass it on. My friend with MS is vulnerable. Aren't we all?