I Had A Dream

I had a dream that I awoke to a world of rationality, patriotism, non-partisan peace among men and charity to those who mean no harm. Love, hope for the future and for those willing to roll up their sleeves and work hard the opportunities were there.  The churches and synagogues were an integral part of  jointly helping their rebounding communities ….and I felt safe. Malice, greed and hatred were words unfamiliar to us.  The year was 1947 and I was 8 years old.  

This morning I opened my eyes and the forward flight of  seventy years brought me back to reality that has no dream attached to it, but all the realities of our 2017 collective nightmares.  How did this happen?

I have lived through 14 presidential elections, my family’s preferred candidate not always getting elected, but my parents were patriots who lived through the depression and respected our Constitution and the democratic process.  With hate and malice toward none, they placed patriotism and love of country before politics. I am grateful for their strength that has allowed me to move forward in my life, sharing their same values.

My father always cautioned me that if I couldn’t say something nice, keep it to myself.   “There are other ways to give positive reenfircement than hurting someone with negative speech or actions,” he would say.  “Think before you speak. Always give someone the benefit of doubt and a chance,” he advised. “Do as your faith guides you, not as ‘they’ do.”

Well, it is evident everywhere I turn, all of this sage elder advice from my father years ago has evaporated in today’s divided political and hateful rethoric. 

 With  fake news running rampant on the internet and passed around greedily like Krispy Kremes, everyone salivating to get  their ‘two cents’ in to see who can be the most hatefully  divisive, politicians holding up the democratic process because they angrily feel like it, Facebook ‘likes’ attached to vile negative posts, it seems we are doomed to perpetual division. 

Where oh where has my country gone? Is everyone drinking denial Kool Aid? Hey folks, if you know civics, we have a new democratically elected president.  The electoral college has spoken. I understand, reality bites for some, but acceptance and support of our Constitution is part of the privilege of living in this great country.

 

I am off Facebook and only sharing my blogs. I have turned off the television and instead I am reading more and working at my own craft and thank God everyday for the beautiful  adoptive children in my extended family life who wouldn’t be here today if their birth mothers had had an abortion. 

 I am boycotting my once respected union peers out in Hollywood. I want to see them ply their craft and I care not a twit their stance on politics. Whether folks agree or not with you, fellow actors,  award events are not the platforms to share your political rage. Just because you can, doesn’t make it right, or even interesting.  

So, I don’t know how long my withdrawal from the political insanity will be, but  with malice toward none I am giving the new president a chance to keep us safe, improve the economy, and move us forward. If he doesn’t, then, lucky me, democracy will allow a change. 


In the meantime, for someone,  do or say something kind today, will you? One small step for mankind may collectively save all of us in the end.

Artwork by Norman Rockwell

Copyright©Sandra Hart 2017.      All  Rights Reserved

Subscribe to my YouTube channel for thoughts about   Life Over Sixty With Sandra

Take A Bite Of The Golden Apple

Who knew when I was raising my kids in a little one square mile town on the Jersey Shore that my family was destined to be a migratory one. My children eventually flew away one by one to find their dreams and new opportunities. I slowly closed the New Jersey chapter in my life and winged it snowbird style to Florida to experience my freedom years.  

This time of year, though, I always try to think of the upside of being a mother whose children have left me with an empty nest – it gives me lots of places to visit when I find myself in the unbearable summer heat of my tropical paradise and longing to see young faces again.

For a few days now I’ve been in Chicago visiting my daughter and enjoying as much as I can in this beautiful city of wind and water. Before attending a play at the Athenaeum last night we crossed the street to the Golden Apple restaurant for a little pre-theater dinner that gave me a déjà vu culinary journey.

The Golden Apple is the closest food experience in Chicago that reminded me of a New Jersey diner. Unforgettable. (One known fact about New Jersey, other than it being the birthplace of Frank Sinatra, it’s the New Jersey diner experience.)  

If any of my readers are fans of PBS’s program ‘This American Life’ you should be familiar with the Golden Apple. Moderator Ira Glass encompassed an entire show interviewing patrons at the Golden Apple. 

The restaurant in itself is a tiny community within a community. Local patrons go there and mix with unnoticed celebrities on a regular basis. You might say it’s a comfort zone with comfort food at comfortable prices. Something that is harder and harder to find these days. 

I guess I could share with you that I had a nice talk with the owner, we exchanged selfie’s and promised to ‘like’ each other’s Facebook pages. And I could also share that as we were about to walk into the theater a man came running across the street, a handsome old silver fox, to tell me how beautiful my dress was and that he loved the color of my hair and maybe he could take me out to dinner sometime, but those are separate stories themselves. 

I’m not quite too sure how to explain my meanderings today, but I guess it’s just that life is always an adventure and living each day to the fullest is the best reason to stay around a little longer. The unexpected moment just around the corner makes it all worth while.

If you do not allow yourself to open up, no one will ever see the beautiful flower inside of you. 

Copyright 2016 Sandra Hart. All Rights Reserved

La La La

The streets are relatively empty here in my neighborhood. Snowbirds have gone north and many of our permanent residents are traveling during the SoFi summer months to escape the heat. In all the years that I’ve been coming to South Beach this is the first summer I have ever spent here and I’ve discovered how it’s interesting that life changes with lightly traveled sidewalks that are usually filled with foot traffic and intercontinental languages filling the space around me. The once crowed outside café tables are vacant. Hungry souls are still here, but they are dining inside enjoying a temporary respite from the heat. 

Sofi and I take our walks a little earlier in the morning and on the way home sometimes stop at our favorite little café for a croissant and cappuccino. I usually fill my time waiting for my morning coffee scanning Facebook on my iPhone.

All of this reminded me this morning about an article I recently read about the psychological effect Facebook has on people. Looking at my Facebook’s posts by friends one would think that everyone has a perfectly happy life, busy doing things, enjoying experiences we wish we could have, and leading a la la life. 

The idea that everyone else is living a utopian life but not us, well, it’s kind of depressing, isn’t it? Thinking about this I clicked on my home page and reread some of my posts, and it’s really true. I am so guilty! It sounds as though I’m living a la la life. The image I’m projecting is that everything’s is la la every day. That is so not true, my friends. 

As we all know, real life is not la la all the time. The reality is that my life is just like yours – full of ups and downs. Arthur and I are getting older and we have lost most of our dear friends. It seems that we are always getting calls with news about the people who have been important strings to our past have gone. A piece of our souls are slowly being eaten away by time as months and years roll by.

Last year the one pill I take. Only one pill. It was changed by my new doctor and the new beta blocker put me into the hospital with AF (atrial fibrillation) for 56 hours and I had to be converted. Certainly not a Facebook event.

Then my oldest very active, young and healthy daughter was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, my middle child who devotes her life to helping humans and animals by no fault of her own, due to torrential rains and delayed contractors cutting her crop, lost an entire field of hay planted to feed the rescue horses that she has taken in and kept from certain death. Money out of her pocket down the drain and no way to replace it. 

https://www.gofundme.com/feedahorses

 All of these are just small hick ups in our family in the scheme of things, but this is real life. No one ever, ever has a Facebook life, believe me. Ever. 

Even if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence believe me it’s not. There are weeds in there just because this is the way the real universe works. 

The challenge is to look for the small beautiful moments every day and focus on each sunrise and sunset as being a special gift. Don’t pass a small flowering tree without taking in its beauty. Don’t pass any stranger without a smile and nod. It just may be the emotional medicine they need at that moment.  
Never ever under estimate the value of positive thinking and how it radiates beyond us to others. And for heaven’s sake don’t believe everything you read on Facebook. As my son wrote twenty years ago, life is a Lemon Parade. La La is only a reality in music.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2016©. All Rights Reserved

Sweet Dreams Alice


As we spend time on this planet we all have ties. Strings to people that have crossed our paths in various chapters of our lives who are extremely important to us. To our memories. Each one of those important strings to a life, to my life, to yours, that has been knit from birth until now. Unexpected feelings of camaraderie to perfect strangers has always been such a mystery to me. Why some people cross your path and you immediately feel a bond, a sisterhood with them. Deep friendships are a very rare and cherished thing, aren’t they. I probably, in my lifetime, can count on one hand the true deep girlfriend relationships I have had in my life. 

The unfortunate twist and irony of it all is that sometimes we don’t realize how important these threads are in our past until the comfort begins to unravel. Today has been such a day for me.

 

I met Alice on my first day at the Barbizon Hotel for Women in New York where we both were staying while we went to school. She lived on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and I was from an industrial town on the Ohio River. Our backgrounds couldn’t have been more dissimilar. Her brother was in Princeton and mine at Cincinnati University. Her father lunched at The Brown Derby and my father took his to work with him. In spite of our different beginnings, Alice and I quickly bonded. How could you not like her. She was pretty, sweet and always had a smile and a good word for everyone. 

After we each graduated from school she went back to the West Coast and wound up in San Francisco and I stayed in New York for a while and eventually when I got married settled in Pittsburgh. But throughout the years we’ve always kept in touch talking about our boyfriends, then husbands, then our children.

Throughout the years on holidays we exchanged cards and wrote from time to time, but our relationship was forged even greater when we both found a renewed closeness on Facebook. It was like having coffee with Alice every morning when I logged onto Facebook and became a part of her life once again.

Well, this morning we lost Alice and I lost one of my forever-for-life friends. Alice always was the cheerful one-always the positive one. She told me a few months ago that she was not afraid of dying. She said she just felt sad for those that she was leaving behind. She would be going on to something better. That was Alice. Cheerful and positive to the end, or maybe as she believed to the beginning.

Alice was one of those last threads to my earlier chapters and I will miss her dearly. But one of the many things about knowing Alice has taught me is don’t be afraid to live every moment of your life while you’re here. Live it with kindness. Live it with compassion. Live it with faith.

We all will miss you dear Alice. Sweet dreams my good friend.
Copyright Sandra Hart 2016

Facebook – Today’s Diary

As a young girl each Christmas I would find  a new diary with its own lock and small key in my stocking. This is how girls of my era would secretly put their most intimate thoughts at the end of each day, that lock assuring none of our nibby siblings could peek into our treasured observations and dreams.  It was a way of unloading our thoughts, hurts, wishes, joys and disappointments within the privacy of our bedrooms.  In retrospect a very healthy method of emotional release for most of us young girls trying to cope with our lives while growing up and facing life as it was opening to us. We could bare our most secret thoughts and desires without outside judgement. 

My faithful diary postings subconsciously were the beginning of my love for writing and putting my thoughts and feelings into words, never thinking that someday I would be sharing those feelings with anyone other than myself and my diary.  

Well I grew up and had a life. A life that was interesting, unexpected and one that I eventually would feel compelled to share beyond my diary and onto the printed page, then through blogging and eventually, Heaven Help Me, Facebook.
Initially, my teenage grandson friended me, but quickly ‘de-friended’ me when he realized I could see everything that he was posting with his friends on Facebook.  Undeterred, I marched on connecting with family and friends I hadn’t seen in years and joyfully making new friendships with those who entered my life through my blogging.  
Facebook has become my ‘life over 50’ diary.  My life is no longer a series of cursive pages. It is now filled with finger typing and 🙂 faces and anything but private revelations.  As addicted as I was as a young girl to my diary with its lock and key, keeping the world out of my thoughts, I am now addicted to Facebook without emotional locks and sharing my open life on a daily basis with those that matter to me, my Facebook Friends and Family.
Funny how life turns out isn’t it?
PS. My grandson at 21 has just ‘re-friended’ me.
Copyright Sandra Hart 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Friday’s Bits and Pieces-Facebook Woes

IMG_0663.JPG

Let me know what you think. Lately I’ve become very bored with Facebook. It used to be when I logged onto Facebook it was everyday stories about your friends – pictures, recipes, family events, sometimes a forward of a funny video, but it mostly was allowing us to share our daily lives and interests with each other.

I find now when I log on Facebook it’s filled with massive forwards, unsolicited advertising, crazy videos, and such impersonal stuff that it really isn’t telling me anything much about my friends, except what they’re reading on Facebook and passing on. For me, Facebook has lost the intimacy and the specialness that it used to have.

Now, I don’t want to clump everyone in this great big lump of impersonal information, there are many of my friends who are very clever about their comments and they share extremely interesting and enlightening posts. But too many of my small group have gotten lazy about posting about their lives. These postings used to enable me to connect with them. It always gave me the feeling that I’m living in real time with them on a personal basis. That I’m sitting across from them at their kitchen table with a cup of coffee and just chatting one on one.

Facebook used to be a cozy corner in my daily life where I could sit and have a few moments of intimacy with friends, new and longtime friends, that are farther away than just around the corner.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the convenience of certain internet benefits. As a writer, so many great benefits. But I hope the pendulum soon swings back to the original intent of Facebook’s personal connection and exchange of interesting ideas over a cup of coffee from my house to yours.

IMG_0664.PNG

Facebook Friends: I Know You-I Met You Not

IMG_0124.JPG

It is no hidden fact that social media has changed the world, has changed our lives and how we connect to people. I have been thinking about this lately, and more so after I recently posted a blog regarding Kosovo and my son’s band tour there in 2000.

I know there are people who have hundreds of friends on Facebook, but I am very selective about whom I bring into my inner social circle. I have no strangers within that group, but I do have a few people that are connected to me by others and I also have a few people who I’ve known, or feel that I have met, because the connection through mail, email and then Facebook has been consistent throughout the years.

One Facebook friend in particular I have electronically known for 14 years, but never have met. His name is Bill Putnam, a photographer and journalist whom I first interacted with when he took pictures of and also wrote a very nice article about the band Tonic’s stop at Camp Bondsteel where he was stationed in 2000.

Since the lead singer/songwriter of that band just happens to be my son, Emerson Hart, the friendship began when Bill offered to send me some of the pictures he had taken of Emerson and the band during their visit during their performance at Bondsteel. Ever since that kind gesture, from time to time, I have been in touch with Bill, following him through the various phases of his life and career, both in and out of service for our country.

Bill has evolved from email-sometimes-friend to Facebook friend and has attended a few Tonic Concerts and generously taken pictures he has shared with this Tonic mother.

Electronically throughout the years I have witnessed him grow as a person, evolve, as my own son has done, and always enjoyed his photo journeys. I have invisibility watched him become a very competent photojournalist who is not just satisfied with standing still in his craft, but always experimenting, learning and challenging himself.

From his postings I gather he likes a good beer now and then with friends, loves certain sport teams, has a good sense of family and most of all, has an eye for what we want to see in the world.

Although I may never ever meet Bill Putnam in person, (the percentage chances of that unfortunately probably are pretty high), I feel I already have had that good fortune through his photography and photo posts. Bill is not afraid to tell it like it is. He crosses the lines for us. He is an interesting and talented guy, indeed, who years ago I “met” because he was a kind enough kid to send me some photos of my son in concert at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo.

PS. You can find out more about my Facebook friend Bill Putnam at http://www.billputnam.net

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All Rights Reserved.
Photos Copyright Bill Putnam 2000/2014. All Rights Reserved.

IMG_0126.JPG

IMG_0127.JPG

IMG_0131.JPG

IMG_0125.JPG