Saturday, May 16, 2020

Sunday Stealing


1. Where did your name come from? My mother simply liked it. 

2. Where were you born? Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Illinois. When a new facility was completed in 2009, the building where I was born was closed and finally sold to a developer last year. MY Sherman Hospital was suddenly on the news again in March of this year, when the National Guard and Army Corps of Enginners arrived to get it ready to handle Covid19 patients.

3. What as your house like, growing up? It was a 3 BR ranch house, built by my grandparents in 1952. After about 8 summers of tending the big backyard and dealing with a leaky basement, my grandparents decided they wanted to try apartment living and sold the house to my mom and dad. I was still a toddler and my older sister a pre-schooler. In the mid-1960s, when my kid sister arrived, my parents added a bedroom and a half-bath. After my mom's death in 2014, the house was sold. I know she would have hated that. She seemed to think of it as Tara, where only her family had lived.

4. What was your childhood bedroom like? It was the smallest bedroom, but the only one with a view of the front yard. It was a mess, which is unsurprising because I am a messy clutterbug.

5. Did you travel as a child? Where? We did precious little traveling when I young. My mother loved this godforsaken resort in Wisconsin and insisted we go every year. Year after year. I hated it. Writing this makes me smile, though, because I realize anew I get my sentimentality from my mom. We were just sentimental about different things,

6. Write about your grandparents. I've been thinking about my grandparents -- my dad's folks -- a lot lately because of Covid19. My grandfather was a new immigrant and so very grateful to be an American when he married my grandma, who was then still in her teens. They spoke often about doing their duty by their country during WWII. Ration stamps, saving bacon grease and aluminum foil, tending a Victory Garden. etc. They felt it was a privilege to do without when your country asked you to. I can just imagine how shocked and disgusted they would be with whining REOPEN NOW crowd who believe that staying home to protect their neighbors and stop a virus is somehow "oppression."

7. Who taught you how to drive? Mr. Brown was a boy's PE teacher and a terrible drivers' ed instructor.

8. When did you first leave home? After high school I worked two jobs to afford 1) a trip to Europe and 2) my own apartment. It took me a little over two years, but I accomplished both!


9. What did your parents do for work? My dad was an auto mechanic, my mom tended house.

10. Who inspired you as you matured? A desire to be independent.

11. What was the best part of your 20s? Meeting John, Gregory, Kathy and Mindy, all of whom are still in my life to this day.

12. What as the best part of your 30s? I began taking myself more seriously and concentrate on my career. To borrow from Amy Winehouse, I decided to "be own best friend and not fuck myself in the head with stupid men."

13. Where is the most fascinating place you’ve visited? Oh, golly, I don't know. I've enjoyed my solo vacations so much! There has been something wonderful about each place I've gone. I like places with ties to American history. Williamsburg, VA, Washington DC, Boston and Illinois' own Springfield with all the Lincoln sites. I'd love to revisit them all!

14. What is your favorite family story? As a family, we went to see Mary Poppins at one of the big movie palaces downtown. It was the first movie I'd ever seen in a theater (as opposed to the drive in) and it was fantastic! I will always remember sitting there in my plush seat in the dark, the big drapes opened, and I was transported to the rooftops of London. Magic!

15. What was your most memorable birthday? I love my birthday. They're all dear to me. I encourage my friends to celebrate it early and often!

16. What was your favorite food as a child? Other than sweets, it was a tie between fish sticks and ham sandwiches.

Farewell M'Lady

Astrid Kirchherr, who died this week, was more than a talented photographer. She was a Renaissance woman. Fashion, music, sculpture, philosophy ... she had her own unique take on it all. And in time the world became aware of her taste because of her influence on The Beatles. 

She met The Lads in Hamburg in 1960, before Ringo joined the band and four years before they conquered America and the world. She loved their music and their energy and photographed them extensively. They loved her visual sense and her intellect. She's credited not only with cutting their hair into bangs like her own, but with encouraging them to explore Sartre and Kierkegaard. These poor boys from the Liverpool docks had never before met a woman like Astrid. 

Her passionate, tragic love affair with bandmate Stu Sutcliffe had an impact on the band, as well. I've always suspected that John and Paul saw Astrid in the strong, artistic women they eventually married.

I feel bad for Paul McCartney. There are fewer and fewer people left who knew him "before." Ringo, Pete Best, Klaus Voormann, his brother Mike ... it must be lonely to watch your past evaporate. His twitter feed has been silent since Astrid died. Perhaps this one cuts too close to the bone for 280 characters to do it justice.

Saturday 9

Always Remember Us This Way (2018)

1) In this song, Lady Gaga sings about the Arizona sky and California gold. Have you visited many of our western states? I spent time in New Mexico when my cousin lived there. I've visited Las Vegas a handful of times. I've been to Disneyland and Hollywood. Decades ago I spent quite a bit of time in San Francisco. But that's about it.

2) She sings that she's overwhelmed and can't find the words to express herself. Do you find it easier to share your feelings verbally or in writing? Words are in my wheelhouse. I do better in writing, though. I don't know why, but I seldom have trouble finding a word when I'm at the word piano,* while at times I struggle in conversation.

3) Her real name is Stefani Germanotta. She took her stage name from the Queen song, Radio Gaga. Do you have a favorite Queen song? 

4) Her dad is Joe Germanotta, president of GuestWifi, a company that enables hotels and restaurants to offer high-speed wifi to their customers. Do you consider yourself tech savvy? Ha! No! It took me three hours to get my new phone loaded with my apps and contacts. I suspect it would have taken my Millennial nephew 30 minutes (if that).

5) Early in her career, Lady Gaga performed songs for a children's audio book called The Portal in the Park.
Tell us about the last book you finished -- did you listen to an audiobook, or read a download to an electronic device or a bound book with pages? I just finished Over My Dead Body, a Nero Wolfe mystery I got decades ago. I listened to it on cassette. It was kind of neat to hear this again: "This book is continued on the other side of this cassette. Please reverse or turn the cassette over now."

6) She prefers dogs to cats and tea to coffee. Do you agree with her? I have never finished a cup of coffee. The smell is too strong and the taste too bitter. The cat vs. dog thing is, I believe, a false choice. Like Elly Mae, I just love critters. I adore being a cat mom. But if I could share my home with a dog, I would.

7) Back in 2015, she appeared at the Academy Awards, performing a medley to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music. The movie's star, Julie Andrews, graciously came onstage to thank Gaga for her showstopping performance. Whom did you most recently thank? The counter person who rang up my "to go" order and threw in extra napkins. With paper products still at a premium around here, I appreciated it. I've found everyone is just so much nicer during this pandemic, and I'm so grateful.

8) In 2018, when this song was first released, retailer Toys R Us closed all its stores and went out of business. What's the last toy you purchased? A jungle play set -- gorilla, lion and tiger -- for my niece. She and her fiance are in training to be foster parents, and I wanted her to have toys ready when the time comes.

9) Random question: How has social media made your life better? It's made it easier to keep up with people over the miles or from the past.

*Author Rex Stout's synonym for keyboard

May Music Meme -- Day 16

A song that's a classic favorite. I love this song by Streisand, too. It was written in 1928. Frank sang it about Doris in 1954's Young at Heart. This clip amazes me. Can you imagine having the opportunity to hear Sinatra sing Gershwin live and not listening? (Play along! Click here for prompts.)