Backstage In Nashville

When your children grow up and leave the nest the parent/ child dynamics change. No longer under your roof, their lives continue with you in the background; nose pressed to the window of their lives looking in. 

A recent angry force of nature made me leave my nest at an odd time of the year and take refuge with my youngest bird of flight, my son. Hurricane Irma gave him fears his old mum’s nest just might be blown away. So it was that I landed  outside the boundaries of a holiday celebration visit in Nashville with my son and his family. 

It just so happens that Emerson is a platinum awarded singer/ songwriter who spends a lot of time on the road doing what he loves to do; entertain by telling his lyrical stories. Once in awhile if he is performing within driving distance, my husband and I will make the journey to his concerts and a few moments of private time with him.  But in a lifetime that is not much. 

You might say we are distant groupies most of the time, however, this time, my only positive Irma experience is that I was given a performance day  with my son that I would never have had.  

Squeezed within the sixteen day visit of watching my son be a good husband and great father, was a full day of a mother’s heart singing with joy that her son is able to have a satisfying  creative life, doing what he was born to do.  

Can’t get much better than that. Come along with me for a capsule of my day before a concert hall performance of Songs and Stories in Nashville. 

Copyright Sandra Hart©2017

THE SHADOW OF MOTHERHOOD 

As mothers, especially a single mother, as was dealt to me with the death of my husband, we sacrifice, nurture and work selflessly with both the heavy weight of parental responsibility and at the same time struggle to embrace the joys that come from raising humans we love like no other then, now and into eternity. Did I ever dream that when they were ready to leave the nest, it would be so far away? 

Diaspora. How times have changed in just one generation. I often envy those families whose children are able to settle near them. It would be so nice to have family gatherings on the spur of the moment. Sunday dinners around the table with grandchildren and extended family members is but a dream for me. Sometimes that is a hard reality to face. 

Fortunately for them, my children have had to move to where their interesting work took them. Unfortunately for me, they are all a long, long drive, or a winged trip away. It’s doable now, but the older I get I think about when it will not be so easy to hop a flight to be near those that I love so dearly.

I moved away from home when I went to college and never called my parents home mine again. I had dreams of my own that couldn’t be realized there. But, honestly, I never thought of how it must have affected my mother. Until lately. The shoe is on the other foot now for me and It doesn’t feel good at all. Isn’t the saying ‘just walk a mile in my shoes’? I now know how my mother must have felt when both of her children never permanently returned to her warm nest. 

They say a good mother raises her children to be able to fly from the nest and spread their wings. Even though we know that is true and the unbridled happiness for our young is real, our mother-wing feathers are plucked bare, knowing life will never be the same. 

In the end I have comfort in knowing that I have been blessed, that part of the way,  they were to walk with me. 

https://youtu.be/K7hMJ8Xvyf4

Music by Emerson Hart and Tonic©

 Life and thoughts and just about everything under the sun. The only order to it is life itself as lived. Natural chaos! I am married and have three grown children who are interested in breeding horses, flying and creating. My youngest is the lead singer/songwriter of the Grammy nominated band, Tonic, Emerson Hart. So here I am, wanting to read about you and at the same time bringing you along with me to mine. I hope you will find me just as interesting as I do you! Hop aboard.

Find me here:

https://sandrashart.com (blog)

http://sandrahart.net

@screenactor on Poshmark

@sandrashart/ twitter 

@sandrashart on Instagram

https://Pinterest.com/SandraHart

amazon.com for Sandra Hart books
Copyright©Sandra Hart 2017 All rights reserved
Find me here:

Life Over Sixty With Sandra YouTube Channel

https://sandrashart.com (blog)

http://sandrahart.net

@screenactor on Poshmark

@sandrashart/ twitter 

@sandrashart on Instagram

https://Pinterest.com/SandraHart

amazon.com for Sandra Hart books

Growing Wings Of Their Own

( Author Note: As former Romper Room Teacher and Pittsburgh CBS affiliate anchor, my children began their lives with Romper Room and Mr. Rogers as their ‘normal’ family. We relocated with my late husband to New Jersey 43 years ago, but no escaping for them – their friends here in New Jersey always remembered me as the lady on Romper Room.)

Growing Wings Of Their Own
It has almost been 20 years since one of my children took his sisters out from under the ‘Romper Room Mom’ shadow they had been living with for most of their lifetime. A new dimension was added to our lives and nothing would ever be the same again.
In 1996 my Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey singer/songwriter son, Emerson Hart, and his band Tonic released their first album, Lemon Parade, which rocketed to multi-platinum status and garnered him awards, including the Billboard Award for the #1 most played song on rock radio.
What followed in the ensuing 19 years would be world tours, six Tonic albums, two Grammy Nominations, ASCAP Award, movie soundtracks, two successful solo albums and concerts in war zones entertaining our American troops – even being knocked off of his feet by a bomb blast while the band was staying at one of Sodom Hussein’s Palaces in Iraq.
Springsteen. Bon Jovi. Both New Jersey icons, were already firmly established within the 80’s Rock frenzy by the time Emerson and Tonic came along. But the ‘new kid’ on the block from New Jersey, the late ’90’s talent entry, came into the game like gangbusters when music tastes were were changing. Emerson was on the tail end of Rock’s biggest roll, but he and Tonic have survived.
So have his sisters. Each of them with their own quiet, or not so quiet victories growing up and out from under the ‘Romper Room Mom’ memories.
So a toast from parents to our children and their victories growing up and out from under our wings. A toast for 20 more quiet and maybe not so quiet years!

WHAT DOES MOTHERHOOD MEAN TO YOU?

  

Someone asked me recently what are the things important to you about being a mother. I never really thought about it. It just is. I’m just a mother and that’s part of my DNA once I had children. When the nurse placed my first child in my arms I became a different person – a mother first and foremost. My children’s welfare has always come before mine and no matter how old they are now, I still think about them. I share their joy’s and their burdens and I am forever subservient to their happiness.

That doesn’t mean that I had selfish desires and wants that I followed through within my life as a mother, but basically my mind is always with them. Motherhood has always been such a strong scope of identity for me. 

My husband was killed when the children were very small, so basically my family depended upon me as the sole provider for many years. Until I got back on my feet after the shock of losing my husband, sometimes we had to exist on my children’s paper routes money. We shopped at thrift shops for clothes and did without the luxury snacks that normal homes had in their cupboards. Salted carrots were a treat for my children.

This sounds so unrealistic for the successful anchor person and television personality that I had been most of my adult life. Until I relocated to New Jersey to be with my husband and his career, money was no option. When I had to return to work I quickly, very quickly, found out that once you step off of the carousel it’s very difficult to get back into a regular 9-to-5 job versus one in television. 

Why would an anchor woman want a regular job? Because I love my children and I want to be with them as much as I can. That answer didn’t seem to muster with any of my potential employers. 

For a solid year I sent out thousands of resumes without one successful result. As time droned by I was forced to ask my aging parents for a small loan just to survive. It was my worst nightmare having to do that because my parents were not wealthy people and were outliving their own resources.

Finally, in the depths of my darkest days through an employment agency, I went on a job to be a secretary. After all I did graduate from Katherine Gibbs, so at least I knew I could type. I was lousy at shorthand, but I could type. The job was an hour’s drive on the Garden State Parkway from my home, but I went praying all the way. I was at the end of my emotional and financial line. 

When the human resources person held my resume in her hands, she looked at me and said she didn’t think I was right for the secretarial job. My heart sank. Another dead end.  I couldn’t believe my life.   Then she said I would be a perfect fit for the assistant marketing manager position. 

Well, my life began again because of that smart woman. Within two years I was VP of marketing and used my television skills and celebrity contacts to travel the country promoting our company until they relocated to Los Angeles.

Because of my love for my children, my life went in another mysterious direction that eventually led me to my second husband and to my children having advantages of furthering their lives and careers that perhaps they would not have had. 

For me, letting go and letting God, is no joke. The circuitous road traveled was the right one for me and my children. 

What has motherhood done for you and what does it mean to you ?

Copyright Sandra Hart 2016 ©

 All Rights Reserved

EMPTY NEST SYNDROME

( Author Note: As former Romper Room Teacher and Pittsburgh CBS affiliate anchor, my children began their lives with Romper Room and Mr. Rogers as their ‘normal’ family. We relocated with my late husband to New Jersey 43 years ago, but no escaping for them – their friends here in New Jersey always remembered me as the lady on Romper Room.)

Growing Wings Of Their Own

It has almost been 20 years since one of my children took his sisters out from under the ‘Romper Room Mom’ shadow they had been living under for most of their lifetime. A new dimension was added to our lives and nothing would ever be the same again.

In 1996 my Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey singer/songwriter son, Emerson Hart, and his band Tonic released their first album, Lemon Parade, which rocketed to multi-platinum status and garnered him awards, including the Billboard Award for the #1 most played song on rock radio.

What followed in the ensuing 19 years would be world tours, six Tonic albums, two Grammy Nominations, ASCAP Award, movie soundtracks, two successful solo albums and concerts in war zones entertaining our American troops – even being knocked off of his feet by a bomb blast while the band was staying at one of Sodom Hussein’s Palaces in Iraq.

Springsteen. Bon Jovi. Both New Jersey icons, were already firmly established within the 80’s Rock frenzy by the time Emerson and Tonic came along. But the ‘new kid’ on the block from New Jersey, the late ’90’s talent entry, came into the game like gangbusters when music tastes were were changing. Emerson was on the tail end of Rock’s biggest roll, but he and Tonic have survived.

So have his sisters. Each of them with their own quiet, or not so quiet victories growing up and out from under the ‘Romper Room Mom’ memories.

So a toast from parents to our children and their victories growing up and out from under our wings. A toast for 20 more quiet and maybe not so quiet years!

Why Read To Your Child?

  
As early as I can remember reading and books have always been a part of my life. Growing up on a farm far away from all of my neighbors when I was young provided me time to use my imagination through the stories in the books that I read.  The complete tales of Charles Dickens,  the Bible, and Bible stories that were brought to the farm by the Jehovah’s Witnesses traveling the  backcountry roads delivering their message. Any of the books that I could find on the dusty bookshelves on my grandfather’s farm – I read them all.  Each of these stories within the pages of the books made me feel less lonely and took me on adventures that I could live and gave me friends that I didn’t have. 

I credit those early days of reading with developing  both tools that I’ve used my entire life; the ability to use my imagination and the ability to express myself.   Together these skills have allowed me to live a more creative and successful life. 

I do hope parents won’t be caught up with today’s technology  that makes it too easy to bother to stop and spend quality time with their children  with a real book with words weaving stories that will help them express themselves throughout their lives. Words and how to use them will prove to be one of the strongest platforms in their lives.  Ever.

* Please click on the link attached to ‘Ever.’ To watch a short video that fortifies my thoughts.

Copyright Sandra Hart©. All rights reserved.

  
 

 DANCING AT THE LOTUS

  

She heard the sounds of the piano stridently rising above the restaurant chatter and began to squirm in her seat. Whenever the music started it was hard to sit still. She looked at her parents busy with their menus, then over to her brother who was attempting to make a paper airplane from a cocktail napkin and slowly slid off her seat and ran toward the dance floor. 

 She loved music and the sound always made her want to move and swirl and swing around the floor with her arms open wide. She couldn’t help it. Something inside of her four-year old self just made her do it because it was fun and made her happier than hugging the cat or eating ice cream. Swinging and dancing and moving to the music until she was dizzy was out of her control. It was just what she loved to do on Sunday afternoons at The Lotus.

It was 1943 in Washington, D.C.. The Lotus restaurant was popular among military and government personnel during the war years. The Washington Daily News called it “a sort of a poor man’s Stork Club where the average Joe can put on a dog without pulling more than a five spot out of his billfold.” 

The restaurant occupied the top level of a two-story 1926 building and her little dancing legs looked forward to those stairs each week when her family lunched at The Lotus. It was not the food for which she had visions in her head, it was the music. Most of all it was the music that made her love those stairs.

In movies of the 1930s and 1940s, supper clubs were portrayed as places where big stars and popular bands such as Glenn Miller’s played, but far more common were the sort that hosted local musicians. Still, patrons dressed up and enjoyed a time out, dining and dancing, and maybe a floor show, without spending a fortune.

 Located in the capital, The Lotus got the best bands of the era and she got to dance out on that shiny floor with them all. Twirling in and out between the soldiers and their girls taking that last dance of leave, or when she was held in her daddy’s arms, the thrill was always there. Music was in her heart and she just had to move and be a part of the magic she felt.

This particular Sunday she had the dance floor for a few minutes all by herself and she swirled and dipped to the live music with her curls flying in the air and was just having the best of time before her father interrupted her short solo by leading her back to the table. It was also on this particular Sunday that her life could’ve gone in another direction. A talent scout from Hollywood just happened to be lunching at the Lotus that afternoon and thought that this little dancing girl should go to Hollywood for a screen test. After all Shirley Temple was a big star and he thought he saw something with the same star quality in this little curly haired girl who loved to dance. 

Her parents said politely to the Hollywood gentleman, “Thank you very much, but no.” They didn’t want their daughter to be in the movies. That was the end of that, as far as her parents were concerned, but certainly not the end of her love for music, or dancing, or just being herself. 

The author Virginia Woolf once said, “Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.” 

 And so, my friends, that was my life during the war when I was four. And in the end, it turned out, I did it anyway. All by myself. My way. Written large.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2015. All rights reserved.