The Final Cut

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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.

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Who Knew?

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Break dancing? Who knew? In 1984 my then almost 15 year old son and I traveled through Egypt and Israel. We were fortunate to have been invited onto to a secret underground air base in the Israeli desert. The pilots and their families gave my son a birthday party while there and he was the hit of the party break dancing for all of them. They had never seen anything like that in person before and were taken with my young sons moves. (Ahhh…the days before everyone was on the internet and social media).

Little did we all know that my son, Emerson Hart, would grow up to be a twice Grammy nominee, Billboard awarded for the most played radio rock song, ASCAP award for the best television theme song, movie theme song writer (including hit film “American Pie” multi platinum artist, lead singer/ songwriter for the band Tonic.

It is against this remarkable backdrop of self-achievements that my son will release his second solo album, “Beauty in Disrepair” on April 15, 2014, “Beauty In Disrepair”, a follow up to his last “Cigarettes and Gasoline” solo effort that garnered two top 20 singles.

emersonhart.com. .

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STORYTELLING

(Atlantic Highlands Elementary School is on our main street here in town and each time I pass I think of the wonderful foundation this little school with less that 300 students gave my children  when beginning their lives and still continues to do so with the children here in our Atlantic Highlands Borough. After attending a concert this weekend in New York where my son, Emerson, and the boys of Grammy nominated Tonic performed, I am remembered of the days when I waited in line to pick up my children and hearing of their adventures big and small within the rooms of The Atlantic Highlands Elementary School. I am moved to repost this blog written almost a ;year ago)

This Sunday morning on the CBS morning show, they had an interesting segment on storytelling and the resurgence of live storytelling with not only the baby boomers, but also the younger generation. More are are putting aside Facebook and other social networks to listen and create in real time.

Interesting how the universe kind of puts things in order in front of you when perhaps those things have been recently on your mind. Last week, at my son’s wedding I had been thinking about his life, the lives of my two daughters and the paths that they have walked. Whether it has been a curse or a blessing, my three children and I are creative beings, destined to create or dry up and blow away.

Sometimes, unless you get lucky, one’s creative life moves to the back shelf as an avocation instead of a vocation. Of the three of my gifted children, only my son has been lucky enough to use his creativity as his vocation.

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All of this takes me back to when he was in kindergarten. During my first conference with his teacher, I was stunned by her blunt revelation. My son was telling tall tales in school. Creating stories that were,to her, obviously untrue. I could feel the crimson creeping up my neck toward my face as I sat with my knees almost touching my chin in the kindergarten chair. It wasn’t until she continued that I became both intrigued and relieved.

“I decided that since Lee has such a creative imagination, I have given him the task of being the class storyteller. Each week I have set aside time for storytelling. He has never failed to entertain us,” she said with a smile.

Thirty-eight years have passed since that conference night. I now, so wish I could remember her name, because that was a great teacher. Instead of making my little son feel ashamed, she turned his childhood creativity and imagination into something special. And I can honestly say she was possibly responsible for the beginning of his confidence in his creativity and love of words to express his thoughts and feelings.

That young kindergartener has since grown up to be a twice Grammy nominated, Billboard Awarded, ASCAP honored singer/songwriter. A multi-platinum recording artist, movie and television theme songwriter and has been featured on over 40 recorded albums other than his own.

His genetic childhood love of storytelling grew into truths from his heart that have been embraced by millions of music fans.

This was the story I was thinking about sharing during the toast at his wedding last week, but I thought better of it. This was his bride’s day and her family’s. So I sat quietly with my heart filled with joy for all of them with my silent thoughts within my mother’s heart about that little kindergartener of mine with his entertaining imagination.

(Editors note: My oldest got into New York University through her creative writing. Brett has the special ability to write with a humorist edge and has also designed all of my book covers. Alison has written for equine magazines and is a wonderful writer and photographer.. Both are using their creative talents as avocations.)

Mazel tov, Salude, Bravo, Congratulations

Sandrashart is closed today and until after Labor Day. My son, Emerson Hart, the lead singer/songwriter of Tonic, is getting married this weekend and we will be closing up shop and celebrating this wonderful occasion with close friends and family.