In case you haven’t noticed, I love presenting ideas in threes … to this end … I will do three times three with my journals and the bits and pieces of Radio before I travel to yet another location in my mind.
When at last she left her beloved Brooklyn for the hills of Northern Manhattan, her babes were at her knees. Each took a hand which became symbolic of their unity and strength. When life hit hard, each held her solid, reminding her how fragile the connection of their union could be, and how easily it could be severed. But not yet.
All was possible, all waited around the next bend in the road … white lightning and wine filled the new rooms with delightful delirium.
Music has remained the concrete foundation of my life, the muse fills me with joy and sorrow. Rising to the heavens or crashing to the nether regions of hell. All things are possible through the muse.
These three of The Lightest Touch, carried me on the whine of the electric guitar, the low moan of the base guitar, and the amazing voices of the sisters, Ann and Nancy Wilson, who became Heart.
From Ramblings, 1978, the year we left Brooklyn:
Snow flakes are falling in the city
What a wonder to see snow falling in the city
Its white perfection lying softly over
Concrete and garbage
Washing away dust and noise
As it quietly blankets the streets
And the cars
The whore-houses and the bars
A little bird is resting upon my fire escape
Flitting along the flakes of white
She has perched herself to rest
And she makes me smile
Then she if off again
Off into the quiet snow fall
Off to swoop over the trees along the avenue
And I marvel at her strength
And her persistence
To be a bird in this funky city
To be a snow bird in this
Funkiest of funky cities
Surely that is a marvel !
A Christmas present to myself
It’s Christmas Eve and the children
Anxious and gay play around
Waiting for the bottom to fill up
It is a joy to have children
On this night of all
Their eyes shine with
The lights of the tree
Holding the gleam ’till morning
And all the day long we
Baked and fixed and sang
Stuffing me like the
Spicy and full of wonder
Oh, what is it that makes
What little mechanism
Twinkles like Christmas stars
Up in their tiny heads?
What red, blue, sun-yellow
Roll inside their bellies?
Oh, what magic could
Were I to find the secret
Of the grand machinery
Quiet now …
They are up in their beds
Cuddle soft and candy
Crackle fire and
Fat ole’ Santa blankets
The bottom of the tree
Leaving behind the gay
Assortment of trinket and doll
And ribbon wrap array
Of little presents to bring
So much pleasure to the
Of different sorts
The waves of sunshine
One flicker of sun
Told me of you
I returned alone
As I had gone
Yet not as lonely
From a turning point in Radio:
1952, I hate boys …
It happened the year of my Holy Communion. Time to learn about sin. Pure-snow-white-angels, good girls don’t have to confess anything.
There was a lady down the street. They called her Crazy Mary.
Hey Crazy Mary, where ya goin’?
Goin’ to see my boyfriend.
Grin, Crazy Mary. Keep the secret and grin.
My mom was so lucky ’cause she had two best girlfriends. One of them was my angel and the mother of the only boy I didn’t hate. Her face was round and beautiful and she never yelled or called me names.
The other girlfriend was small and dark and frightened and the mother of the bad boy who made me run home faster than all the rest.
I ran home again. The bad boy pushed me into the alley after school and said bad things. I kicked him and headed home fast as my crooked feet would take me.
She told me not to run up the steps. I didn’t listen. If I didn’t run up the steps one of them might catch me. I never told her the one who caught me all the time was one of us.
The boys wore white too. I hope they confessed their sins.
Both of my parents had friends they counted as family, friends they cherished like the finest wines. It was a tale told by each of them.
Seven men who came from Carloforte, a small fishing village on the island of San Pietro, seven kilometers off the southwestern coast of Sardinia, left behind their families, went to sea on the tall ships and traveled thousands of miles to find a dream. They fell in love with, and married seven women from Poughkeepsie, the county seat of Dutchess County in the Mid Hudson Valley of New York.
The men spoke a funny language called tabarchin or in Italian, tabarchino, and the women spoke the Italian dialect of Naples. Among them were two brothers who married two sisters. They all brought over cousins and grandmothers, reproduced and multiplied to the tune of fifty-seven varieties to rival Heinz and followed each other from Italy to the Mid Hudson Valley to Brooklyn.
Including the one boy I didn’t hate, the only kids I had to play with came from the same places as my parents and they were all boys. And if they weren’t from the same places as my parents and weren’t all boys, they were sweet little girls who thought I was a freak.
The two little girls up the block were dark like us and their grandmother couldn’t speak English like Nonna across Fourth Avenue. My middle brother told me they were Armenian and everyone in the entire country had a name that ended with “inian.” They didn’t play with me because I acted like a boy.
Tom boy, go away. Don’t come again another day.
Aw, who needs you and your “inian?”
Their crazy grandmother put needles in our Spaldeens but I didn’t care ’cause When I Fall In Love, like Doris Day, it will be forever.
When The Wheel of Fortune didn’t spin out my numbers, I listened to the sounds that soothed me, and escaped with Rosie who could do good things to me ’cause she knew how to belt out the Blues In The Night.
There you have it … the last part of The Lightest Touch.
What degrees of separation remove you from your fondest dreams?
Your worst moments?
Share a dream or two … better … share two or three with me.
fOIS In The City
All photographs for The Lightest Touch were from my daughter, Jen G, and from the official webpage of Philco Radio.