Thursday, April 7, 2011

Love, Love Me Do: My Brush with The Beatles

  • I met the Beatles, alone with my cousin, when I was a kid. My aunt was in charge of  'star' relations as the Promotional Director of Pittsburgh's theatrical venue and she met all the stars when they came to do shows and saw to their needs. Carol Burnett always wrote thank you notes and Zero Mostel ("Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", Fiddler, "The Producers") followed her around and said "Can you believe she's Jewish?" My aunt was a stunning woman, a tall statuesque blue-eyed blonde. I should post a picture of her. She was lovely.

    Anyway, I was in 7th or 8th grade and prided myself on not being starstruck, a non-groupie, and, I was shy, didn't say anything, and was distant. My cousin Rhonda, 2 years older, looked like my Aunt Rose, and George Harrison chatted with her. Like many things, I took this meeting for granted and didn't think much of it. It's only later in life that I became interested in stars and star power.

    Rhonda led a sad life, as her mother died when she was eleven, and her Catholic half sister, Velma, took her in and treated her like Cinderella. I never understood why my family didn't adequately come to her rescue. She became a porn star without talent (movie "3 AM"). Later, we heard she was in a car accident in Florida, suffering facial damage. Without her beauty she committed suicide.
  • I met The Beatles in connection with their first US concert tour in Pittsburgh. During the concert, I was in the 11th row center aisle and couldn't hear a thing of The Beatles through the screaming crowd. No wonder John, Paul, George didn't enjoy their US touring, as explained in the new news story in the link below.

    Paste the link below into your browser to see the news article, with pictures, about The Beatles.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

TV's Mildred Pierce and The Great Depression, Blog Part I

Born in 1923, my father grew up during the Great Depression. My father's grandfather, Meyer, was an immigrant from Latvia and he had worked in the local public school system before he owned a small corner grocery store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Hill District. In the early 1930s, people bought their groceries on account. After the Depression hit, eventually many people couldn't pay their grocery bills. In those days because of that, Meyer couldn't pay his bills, either. To keep his store from going under, Meyer approached the Hebrew Free Loan Association and asked for a loan. Meyer took my father, who was a child, with him, to the loan meeting. The men on the Loan Committee knew my great-grandfather from the public school system, from when they were school children. They loaned my great-grandfather $500 which was a lot of money then and sealed the deal with a handshake.

My father's aunt was a ticket taker for a movie theater. So, while my grandmother worked in a millenary shop selling hats, the movie theater was my father's babysitter.

My father has seen Joan Crawford as Mildred Pierce. He saw that movie again on television two weeks ago, and now, we're watching the HBO miniseries, Mildred Pierce, currently in its third installment of a five part series.

It's no coincidence that there is a re-make of Mildred Pierce at this point in time. If you pay attention to the background sound, you can hear Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivering a speech about unscrupulous bankers. There are parallels between then and now.

Mildred Pierce starts out during the early 1930s, when the depression was hitting its hardest, and the turn of life was at its cusp. It was a boom bust period, from the late 1920s to the early 30s, and life's changes were affecting everyone, hitting them right where they lived. Those changes were difficult to absorb, mentally. Moraes, customs, value systems, life's expectations were at a crossroads, but the full realization of the necessary adjustments forced by those changes were difficult to grasp.

The Mildred Pierce story is about a well-off middle class housewife, during that period, who divorces a cheating husband, and how she and those around her handle the near-dire circumstances in which they find themselves in. It's a heart-wrenching and heroic story, an actress's dream.

To be Continued in TV's Mildred Pierce and The Great Depression, Blog Part II


Monday, April 4, 2011

Big Girl Blizzard Queen

When I was a little girl and an only child, my father loved my mother and me with food. My dad would take us out, after dinner, on many a summer evening, riding in the 1960 red Bonneville convertible, with the white top down, the jasmine breeze dilating our nostrils and flapping the silly chiffon scarves tied around our hair. These jaunts invariably ended up at a fast food drive-thru diner.

McDonalds, Wendy's,  they didn't exist back then. Our drive-thru quests took place at Big Boy's for the best Big Boy Hamburger sandwiches in the whole country. They came with lettuce, pickles, special sauce, and a sesame seed bun. Sans cheese, they were called Big Girls. Yummy. I'm craving them now.

More often than not, we also stopped at Dairy Queen, and that fortunate happenstance was the ultimate acme of summer activity, the taste bud pinnacle of delight. My ordered fare was a Jack and Jill sundae, a double scoop with one scoop of vanilla drenched in chocolate sauce and the other scoop, chocolate in marshmallow sauce.

These days, when I'm feeling nostalgic, I go for a Dairy Queen Blizzard, a soft serve milkshake with candied toppings. I belong to the Dairy Queen Blizzard Club. This month the featured shake at DQ is the Caramel Toffee Cookie Blizzard with almonds.
Oh, look at the time. It's after dinner and it is springtime. Hmm. I think it's time to search out a Blizzard.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Blizzard is a Bunch of Flakes with a Lot of Wind

A Blizzard is a snow storm with excessive high winds and drifting snow that reduces visibility. A Blizzard lasts a long time.

Ever had a blizzard happen to you, in life? I have. You probably have, too. Ever had a job that threw you into a tailspin? Or gone through a difficult divorce?

Sometimes, no matter which way we turn, we're blinded by emotion and can't see our way out. Sometimes, people around us just don't seem reasonable. They blow hard and bring chaos and pain.

When these life blizzards occur, it's important to remember that weather eventually changes and that weather differs by locale.

Life is circumstantial.

You can wait for the weather to change where you are. You can put your snow boots on and goggles and your fur coat. You can tether yourself to a sturdy rail to trudge through the blizzard head on. Or, you can go to a sunny spot in a different milieu where you will be involved with people more suited to this time in your life. You can flourish along a different path, in activities that bring reward. You can give yourself a lighter load.

We don't forget where we've been, and we can return to the place where we used to be. Some things will have changed. You will have changed. Most probably, the weather has changed, and, if not, the sun will be shining  elsewhere.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Beginning

April 2, 2011   Today I start my blog, The Blizzard of Oz. Blogging is new to me, and, I expect it will take a few posts before I get the hang of it. Friends of mine have been encouraging me to write a blog for some time now. Through my looking glass, a magnifying glass, life is interesting. Life is good. Even when it isn't.

You know, sometimes, it's hard to see what lies ahead through a blizzard, but not to panic. Try to look  through the snowflakes. And,...when snow falls, harvest the water.

That's what I do.

--- Oz