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.

Let’s Band Together

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I was 11 years old. I was a cheerleader. It had been a great football game that Saturday afternoon and we were on our way home. I was a happy six grader full of achievements and good friends. I grew up in a Ohio Valley steel town with of all types of immigrants and religions, but I didn’t know prejudice, none of us did. We never thought about our parents bank accounts or status. We were all friends and liked each other because we were classmates, we were neighbors, we were girlfriends.

My emotional slate was clean. Every small dream I had was realized. Every goal I wanted was achieved. I loved my parents. I loved my brother. I loved my friends. I saw no fences and I knew no fences. The meaning of hate and envy was never a part of my life up until ‘THEN.’ And it was when after that football game on Saturday that ‘THEN’ happened and my life changed forever and my perfect childhood world came crashing down around me.

My girlfriends and I used to walk together the few blocks from Roosevelt School to our homes on LaBelle View after the football games together. One by one we would say goodbye as each girl would reach their house until the last cheerleader was left to walk a few blocks to her house. This afternoon was different though as all the girls walked me to my house first. As we were saying the cheerful goodbyes, all of the sudden one of the girls started saying mean things to me. Then a couple of the other girls chimed in while the rest stood silent looking at the sidewalk and their feet.

I think I have permanently blanked out a lot of the conversation, but words like ‘snob’, ‘stuck-up’ remained in my mind, permeated my clean slate and cracked it wide open. The pieces stuck in my throat and I remember having no response other than to turn and walk up the cement steps to our front porch and into the safety of my house.

I was stunned and heartbroken. I remember lying across my bed and crying for hours as though my life had ended. This was the worst thing that ever happened to me in my life since I had been on this planet. I was so humiliated that I couldn’t even share my pain with my parents. I suffered in silence. I felt my life was over.

I am a firm believer that mind and body work together to keep us healthy. So it is of no surprise that a few months after this incident of embarrassment and abandonment by those I thought were my good friends that I became very ill. Diagnosed with rheumatic fever I was bedridden for four months. This was the pendulum swing in my life. I returned to school a shy and introverted girl, never in my teens to recapture the self-esteem that was broken and beaten down by my small group of friends that I loved.

I have since shared my story with several of my close friends and at least two of them have had similar experiences as young girls whose lives have been altered by what we now call ‘bullying.’

It’s amazing, although we’ve matured and most of us have had great achievements on our own since leaving the torturous girls behind in their small dust, the scars remain.

I understand. I really understand every time I read a tragic story of a young person reacting to being bullied. And of course today it’s so much worse because of the cyber bullying that is so easy to do. It is so easy to destroy a teenage psyche because they’re thin and fragile and not yet hardened to the reality of life and have strong self-esteem.

So today I was especially delighted when I discovered that my cousin’s daughter is involved in a program, Lets Band Togetherto help stop bullying.

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Lets give peace and civility toward one another a chance.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.

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.)