Twelve Notes


Just think about it. We only have 12 notes in music. Only 12. We rearrange them constantly, add octaves, sharps, flats, various rhythms and then put them in a box with a label.

The personal combinations and cultural adaptations are endless. Don’t you sometimes wish we could take all of those notes with their variations we have labeled as classical, jazz, rock, folk, rap, country and other boxes and make them as one? Let’s just embrace it all as what it is — MUSIC. Just one box holding all the variations of those 12 notes. Twelve notes that for centuries has united us through the love of them.

As a lifetime lover of those12 notes in all forms, it is an overwhelming thought to me that in this universe, generation after generation has produced talented composers that can create new tapestries with them, over and over again.

Those 12 notes continue to remain a common language through which nations and cultures can speak and understand one another. I firmly believe if the music ever stops, so will we.

Sandra Hart copyright 2014. All rights reserved.


Listen to Beauty In Disrepair on iTunes

Peanut Butter Icing


My son posted a video today of the swollen creek running through his property and it brought back this childhood memory of my days in Ohio.

April 1949……….

My mother only got angry with my brother and I once. At least only one time that I can remember. Honestly.

In Ohio our house had a good size creek winding along the property line. It was deep enough to swim in during the summer and had a big rock in the middle that was perfect for cannon balling into the icy waters. And when the spring rains came the muddy bottom of Reeds Mill Creek came alive turning the rapidly swirling water into the color of peanut butter icing.

Nothing was more fun than walking along the swollen winding creek and
throwing sticks into the angry water to watch them swirl and bob wildly as the muddy water carried them uncontrolled, disappearing only to appear again to the surface.

Well, time just stopped for us, I guess, having so much fun and without realizing it were gone all day. When it finally dawned on us that it was almost dinner time, we headed on home.

We opened the door filing in without a care, our stomachs grumbling in anticipation of one of Mother’s great suppers. Unfortunately for us, that day my mother was not serving up a delicious dinner for us, but hiding behind the door with a broom aimed at our bottoms. I will leave the rest to your imaginations.

It was only until I became a mother did I understand her fears and concerns that my brother and I may have drowned in the muddy creek waters.

Don’t ever let anyone convince you that mothering is easy and the job of raising and keeping your children safe is anything but the most important job on this planet.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014 All rights reserved.


56,940 More Or Less


The first thing my husband says when opening the door after a long, lazy day at the beach is, “What’s for dinner?”

And even though I prefer an evening walk along the beach, my husband ‘s favorite ‘fun thing’ is to walk the dogs past all of the packed restaurants here in our neighborhood to see if they are still in business. Heaven forbid, with patrons like us they ALL would have to shutter their doors.

In a moment of desperation, with my calculator at hand, 56,940, more or less, are the number of meals I have cooked since being a wife. Let’s face it. I am tired. Just plain culinary worn out. I am tired of cooking. Cooking day in and day out with all the shopping and planning that goes along with feeding loved ones.

Now I do realize there are lucky women out there born with the ‘love-to-cook’ gene. And I really wish I were one of them. My life would be so much easier both in and out of the kitchen.

For awhile now I have realized ( and envied) that most of my friends and his friends’ wives no longer cook – either on a regular basis or even at all. More than likely it is not at all. Call in or take out.

So you naysayers might respond, “Let him do it, for heavens sake. Quit complaining!”

Well I have thought of that. Here is why that doesn’t quite work in our small kitchen here on the beach. When he makes an omelette, for instance, each egg has to be cracked into a separate bowl of its own. Then all of the ingredients have to have their separate small containers as well. Then the cooking utensils add to the prep clutter. Our counters are granite, so the liquids have no where to go except roll down the lower cabinets onto the floor, with a slippery layer remaining on the top. And then, when the chef is finished, he just walks away, pleased with himself and his fluffy omelette and leaves the cleanup to the assistant. Me. The bottom line and picture proof, unfortunately for me, is that I am not married to Mario Batali, so I have to maintain our household chef duties in order to keep my sanity.

So if there should be anyone out there with good ‘two-fer’ coupons or events involving food we can crash…please let this ‘been- there, well- over- done- that’ woman know. Please?


The Final Cut



My son, Emerson Hart, released his second solo album today and on the inside cover is a picture of him in his studio in Nashville. On the wall behind my son is his grandfather’s fiddle and a grouping of family pictures, including a silhouette of me when I was about 13 years old. Seeing that silhouette reminded me of an event relating to my short hair in that period of my life.

Summer of 1946………

“Now don’t waste your time trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, young lady. Your curly locks you got from me, and they’ve suited me just fine!” Grandma used to say as she pulled and tugged at my golden mass of kink, taming the wildness on top of my head into thick braids tied with rubber bands at the ends. Much better her fussing with my hair than my mother, who would make the plats so tight my scalp would hurt for days.*

September, 1952………..

I was twelve and I had never had my hair cut. Ever. Except I did have bangs, but that was the only part of my wild flaxen locks that were ever touched. And to me that really didn’t count. I couldn’t wear my hair loose because it was like a big tumble weed on my head it was so thick. So my mother insisted and saw to it that I had braids for what seemed to me to be—-forever.

I was a cheer leader at Roosevelt School on LaBelle View in an industrial town on the Ohio River and in the sixth grade. To be a cheer leader for all of us girls chosen was really a big deal. But for me it was just the opposite. Almost an embarrassment. I had to suffer the humiliation of those braids when all my girlfriends had short hair. On Saturday nights I would hang out with my girlfriends who would wrap strands of hair into pin curls fastened with bobby pins like the grown up girls did. And I envied them for having mothers that understood.

But no matter how much I begged, my mother stood her ground and refused to budge regarding my golden braids – until her patience with my pleading wore thin when I was twelve. She went upstairs and got her big sewing scissors and with one final cut to each braid severed them from my head. Wack. Wack. Just like that. Then she sent me next door to my Aunt Dorothy who did hair from her house, to try to make something of what was left of my hair. Needless to say, that wasn’t easy.

I really should have been traumatized by the harsh and finality of my mother’s chopping off my braids, But at the time I was so relieved from not having those braids anymore, that I didn’t have any thoughts about what my mother did and how she went about it. It just was what it was and I grew into a teenager inside of myself instantly once those those appendages were removed from my head. Kind of a free-at-last .

But it wasn’t until forty five years later when my mother died and I was going through her things did I remember about those braids.

It is true that we never know what is in someone’s heart, a lesson I learned too late in my relationship with my mother.

I loved her very much, but sadly, I never understood how painful it must have been for her to cut from her daughter what she never had. There, in a long faded blue box that probably once held a necklace were my two golden braids-remarkably intact with the rubber bands still securing the silky curled ends.

* Behind The Magic Mirror, Sandra Hart. copyright 2002

Moonlight In Her Eyes, Sandra Hart
Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.




My uncontrollable memory tail has lashed me about recently, taking me to places I would rather not go.

First, the mixed circumstances of joy in reconnecting with a cousin and of sorrow whipping me backward in dealing with the memory of her mother, my famous cousin Carolyn and her illness-which in turn, re stimulated memories of my late husband, Jennings, and his struggles with schizophrenia.

Then this morning on CBS’s Sunday Morning, out of the blue, I was again swished back to a painful time in my young life. Michael Rockefeller.

New York……..1959

I met Michael through my classmate and eventual apartment roommate, Patricia White. She, Michael, Mimi Kellogg and a few others and I would get together the next few years on occasions at parties, either at our apartment or other social events. We were young and all full of life and youthful expectations. All except me, were raised in a social bubble of great material comfort and equally great expectations. I was the anomaly in the group with my Midwestern middle class upbringing. Yet we were all alike in that few of us had experienced great personal losses beyond our grandparents or older relatives. We were invincible with miles of living ahead of us. That is, until Michael.

Michael Rockefeller, just a year or two older than I, disappeared and was presumed to have died November 17, 1961. He was the youngest son of New York Governor (later Vice President) Nelson Rockefeller and a fourth generation member of the Rockefeller family. Our friend disappeared during an expedition in the Asmat region of southwestern Netherlands New Guinea.

At the time we were told that he was believed to have drowned and they never were able to find his body. That was all we knew then. We were shocked and it took so long to accept we would never see him again. It was hard to accept that our intelligent, enthusiastic and sometimes funny friend was gone.

In 2014, Carl Hoffman published a book that went into detail about the inquest into his killing, in which villagers and tribal elders admit to Rockefeller being killed after he swam to shore in 1961.

So once again that memory tail has swooshed, given me a whack and knocked the air from me. As my son’s ‘To Be Young’ lyrics from his album Beauty In Disrepair explains….”As I look back…years of memories so neatly stacked..I forgot about you.”

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.
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