Thursday, February 25, 2010


We don't always choose the situations that we get into. Those unchosen moments sometimes just pop up sight unseen no matter how intuitive you may be. It truly is how you deal with them that will make or break the unforeseen situation. "Staying calm and focused" is the suggested route but for me it was usually the "Quietly panic and exit" that seemed to be the most favorable route in the early years before adulthood. We all handle uncomfortable scenarios differently and I would bet that we all wanted to exit as soon as possible, all giving way to a little panic just before our feet started walking. Admitting that is half the battle. If I knew that there was something brewing that would put me in a precarious situation my presence would not have been there. I trusted my mind guidance but there were countless times when the noise was too loud and I did not get the signals.

I have had instances occur suddenly and just as they started to unveil themselves before my eyes I suddenly flashed at how and where it was going and how it would end up, but by that time of realization, there was no stopping it. The rock had been thrown down the mountain and there was no way to stop it until it reached the bottom.
I couldn't have stopped the outcome even if I wanted to and believe me at those moments I wanted to badly. It was always worse when your peers would be present and then you had to also take the pain of embarrassment. That never felt right for me and I could never seem to let it go during those school years.
Thirteen was just around the corner and the warning signs of adolescence began to take their shape. Parents were definitely extraterrestrial and I became even more brazen and unabashedly abrupt. I would walk away leaving them bleeding in their tracks if anyone tried to tell me what to do, afterall I was the "Know It All" and my attitude exuded total denial of anything that was not my way.
I was soon to be left to my own devices as the sibling rivalry was coming to an end as the tour of military duty began to beckon for my brother. This would finally leave me alone with no brotherly restraints and total freedom from his presence. With the parents working and not home often, it left me to design my own kind of world where no one was allowed in and everything was as it should be....all about me.

Or so it would seem....I have often wondered what the outcome of my life would have been if it was not for the self preservation that existed so strongly from day to day. I had mountain views and I felt so directed to doing a lot of things that would not include others, so that it would not take away from my choices. I could control the outcomes pending my own comfort zone. No one taught me the method to being so independent, it was if it had been inbred and I had no control over it. Of course as I sit here and write this, it all seems so misguided but at the time it really was the only way I could feel unobstructed. I was able to enter and exit on my own and preferred no one telling me the way to go. I realize now that it would become a way of life that was being nurtured daily by my actions. It is only now that I am trying to relinquish the need to nurture any further selfish attitudes. A feat that must be worked on daily to not slip back into any repeat performances.

While walking to the edge of any mountain I have climbed I always have the fear of falling but the climb is so worth the risk and the view can be exciting. I know that I took my first steps up my first mountain the day I realized that being where I stood at that time was not enough, I wanted and quietly demanded more. I had set my sights to the ultimate peak and that was where my eyes wandered daily, and time just had to catch up. Time is my worst enemy. To this day it still is only now I have a better handle on patience....(not much) but it now is a race as time is speeding up and now I find myself wanting it to slow down so I can squeeze out more in a day's conscious activities.
As our family home life began to crumble I knew that a huge change was closer than ever. I would often feel the intense desire to just disappear, as I did not want to witness the finale. It would not arrive for a while but I had premonitions of where it was headed, and eventhough we were not informed of a day or time, the aura continued to loom over me. My self preservation cloak kept me hidden anytime I needed it too and would so for many years to come. I would find myself immersed in a vat of hopes and dreams all waiting to happen and never soon enough.
Being a preteen allowed for so much fantasy but I somehow knew that reaching the summits would always be a lifetime goal, that I would have to succumb to. My ideals did not have room for error and I made it my passion to not get sidetracked. There would be no room for love as I saw what it did to people and I wanted no part of it. It would become my mantra and for the most part stayed away which made it easier to move around. Yes, my comfort zones had no area for human commitment. I developed a fear of cupid and decided I would shoot back if an arrow headed in my direction. This attitude led me to dead end roads of unexpected situations and unhappy scenarios. I used these experiences to confirm my original affirmation of total independence. These trails led to tribulations that I would later find out to be fraudulent immature conclusions.

I still daily hike the trails of my mind. I am still in search of the next hill or mountain that needs to be conquered. The situations that I find myself in now are of a different genre and I am inclined to include others, still with reservation, but all in all it is not totally solo. Those long shorelines of my mind have weathered the constant tides going in and out. Now I am able to see the debris that came with the tides. Some debris has been left in the valley at the foot of the mountain while other pieces were carried to the top. All in the name of ego.

So...remember if you start walking a new trail up an unknown mountain watch out for the falling debris along the way. It can slow you down on your way up.

NOW, when I set out for a journey to a new summit peak, I use all the old weighted unnecessary debris and make fires with the pieces. The fires keep me warm with memories and it passes away the time and it also lightens my load going back down the trail towards an unknown road that will lead me to my future life experiences and human connections.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Today I happened to walk by the same mirror that I see everyday, yet today I looked back at the reflection and wondered who that was staring back at me. It resembled me but it reflected back more than my image. As I took a closer look, reflective memory flickered like the individual negative cells from a movie. All little photographs running together to form the complete picture of myself. Only this movie starred me and my co-stars were all the people who played a major role in my life. The leading man no longer had dark brown hair, in it's place stood white hair and the smooth skin of his face showed life lines from the years of living. The co-stars however still seem ageless in my mind's still-photo's from my movie. Some are still present yet other co-stars are no longer here.
I took the moments to recognize that the star person I was in the beginning of my movie is not the same aged star that is present today. The camera angles have been restaged and the sets have been remade. Some finished scenes previously filmed were bumpy and some were smooth and yet the future scenes still have to be played out.

My starring role took on a most exhaustive script, most of which has been being rewritten as the shooting of the film wears on. I couldn't allow a boring loosely scripted movie to be made, I seemed to want the drama and confrontations that life choices had to offer. I required straight dialogue yet part of it had to be a musical. It couldn't follow a typical Hollywood farce but it had to outshine all the others thus far. It had to get nominated for an Oscar as the leading man was giving a bravura performance.....I thought....but wait the ending hasn't been written yet.

I always thought that having a Hollywood style life was to be the ultimate life. Glitz, glamour, money and lots of attention to detail. However somewhere along the way I became aware of the reality behind the movies. It was such a great thing to be young and innocent of just what life had in store. You grow up to become the director and producer of your own life movie and you get to write it and play it out till the ending credits roll. When those final credits are rolling down the screen I will be able to say thanks to all who contributed in the making of my movie.
In all sincerity I believe we have a lot of thanks to be said to those who surrounded us with all the sub-plots and sub-titles, and dialogue. Even those times when the camera used black and white film, it would always end up in living color once again. Just like Dorothy who opened the door to Oz and everything blended into color then, once again back at home, it was in black and white, well actually sepia tone but still colorless. It seems that the fantasies that dance around in our minds are full of color and life and the whole cast is happy and stressless. Then when you get back to reality it all seems so black and white and just a bit out of focus every once in a while.

Through the mind's camera lens a million different images are being shot every second of your conscious day. All being stored within a place inside your brain and edited according to your needs and desires. We will never comprehend the amount of film it would take to film it all or the amount of storage it would take to house all that the mind sees in a single day. Yet we are constantly being taken away by work or home life and never have the time to look at what the daily film log may have captured and shown us when screened. I think we would be quite surprised and aghast at what we would be viewing in a day's time period. Instead we just use what we needed and cast the edits in the trash can, yet the can never seems to get emptied regularly. We assume that those edits that are in the can don't contain any vital scenes that could have an impact on the sub-plot within. It is by trusting your instinctive acting skills that will always guarantee you top billing on the marquee.

If life truly is a candid movie then why aren't we trying to make a lot of sequels to our life's big box office hits? Let's just dispose of all the flops that were made and for god's sake let's not repackage them and make them into another bad rental movie. Keep a keen sense to the direction being given to you and don't ever give up on the producer as he always will be your support when the life line's need rewritten.

For me,...... well I am currently having a script rewrite as the dialogue in my life was getting to mundane and repetitive and I needed a current writer.
When the cameras begin to steadily roll again I will definitely be on cue and ready for my scenes. I will have a clear view of the lens that will shoot my next sequel of living color...high definition......and in surround sound...for all to see and hear.
TITLE........ AIRPORT 2010-THE SEQUEL ....other titles still being considered.....
RATED........ AL (amazing life)

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Within my intricate little world, there came a time when my clairvoyant capabilities seem to consume every moment that I was conscious. I would walk around somehow knowing exactly who, what, when and where things were going to happen. I knew that I was not to speak about it, as it would only make me seem more weird than I already was according the "normal" scale. At times I would not have recollections of passed minutes of present reality and sometimes under stress would completely have no awareness of time segments that took place while I was physically there yet not consciously there. It truly was discerning at times but would always allow me to be on my guard before the event would take place. I skirted many situations that would not have been in my best interest and had a keen insight to people and their deceit.
I would keep the friends away from impending disasters and would allow the others to fault and let them learn from their own mistakes. It would create an eerie feeling to be able to know a conversation ahead of time or know not to go somewhere that had been planned because intuition told you differently. It lies within all of us to have that extra sensory ability, you just have to be ready to listen to it.
Having this ability did not fare well with the parental group. While they had their own problems I added more with my stubborn attitude. My Mother knew the reasons why I didn't want to do something, yet she seethed angrily if I did not follow the group plan. She was not happy about leaving me alone at home but nine times out of ten she would later tell me that I was right about not going. She was parenting the best she could do with the child she had to work with. Most of the times when the feelings were strong, I would plead my case but it would go without any merit. Those were the times when she would come back with a whole new attitude, at least until the next event.
There were moments in school that played out like a movie that I had already seen. In the most poignant of times I was able to avoid situations that were unavoidable for others. I would dream at night of things yet to be and have dual images in my head when reality would strike and the event would be happening. Those with intuition know of what I am speaking of. You can alter the outcome if you are quick on the draw when it begins its descent into reality. Such was the case of my bittersweet old Florida neighbor who knew nothing of happiness and a lot about crankiness.

You first have to understand what is was like growing up in the "Land of the Living Dead". The city was over populated with retirees who came to the south to take in the ultimate daily sunshine. Being young meant that you were a minority and a nuisance. I made sure I was the latter and took judgement on them as they were the enemy. They ruled everything and the retirees took precedence over shopping, restaurants, post offices and beaches. I was a very defiant boy who did not cower to their expectations and I often let them know it. On rare occasions they would be sweet and gentle and you couldn't help but let them go first but the vast majority were hateful of children and young folks. I remember the many times I would erupt if I did not get my equality since I was there first. My poor Mother would melt as I went off on them. There were funny moments at the beach when you would see one of them rolling back and forth in the tide. I thought they were asleep and even with our loud laughing they just kept moving with the tide, in and out. The laughter never ended until we later would find out they had died. No one had wanted to disturb them, as they also thought they were sleeping. I would see many of them in this state before I was ten, so it was all moot from there on.
If we made to much noise outside we were scolded, so I made sure we made even more just to aggravate the situation.
Our neighbor was a disgruntled old war vet who knew nothing of children except that they should never be seen or heard. I made it my duty to do both, BE SEEN AND HEARD....LOUDLY. I suppose I would have been given the award for "most provocative" but it did seem that we both played our parts equally.
We would refer to him as "Hairy Ayres" as he strode around with a tank top undershirt and his upper torso was strewn with white furry body hair. He always wore dirty khaki pants with scarred wingtip shoes. From his lips there always dangled a half burned smelly cigar. On his front steps there would always be stubbies of used cigars in an old coffee can. He had a decrepit cocker spaniel dog that was blind in one eye and possessed the same unhappy qualities that he did. His wife was an older stunning beauty who seemed to be having an affair with someone as she was always out and hardly ever home. I would listen to his heated conversations with her on the "party line". That was my link to everything that no one was supposed to know.
At times he would reek of liquor and those were the times that he would be witty and not grumpy. I would later understand what loneliness he always felt, I had no idea that one day I would find that out.
One spring weekend my brother had left for the weekend with my Dad to go fishing at my grandparents and Mother had weekend overtime work to do, so I was left to my own devices, which was just fine with me. The moment Mother's car left the driveway, I went into overdrive and cranked up the stereo and began my weekend with the Beatles. It was all about the music on Saturday's, only day this felt different from the rest.
About 20 minutes into my songfest I began having extreme deja-vu and realized that I had not seen any sign of Old "Hairy" since the music started and found that to be quite odd, as "I Want To Hold Your Hand" always popped him out of his cage, with verbal accoutrement's. After a while my curiosity got the best of me so I went into the back yard hoping that I would be seen so he would come out to do his dose of verbiage.
Ah... but he did not come out although his car was parked in the driveway as it had been all morning.
I couldn't shake this odd feeling that kept creeping in on me and that is when the dual images began to appear in my head. Like methodical planning I took a walk over to his house, quietly, so I would not be noticed. As I did so, I could hear what sounded like moaning coming from the half opened front window, I merged in between the bush to get a closer view and ear shot and confirmed the sound once more.
It was as if someone inside me took control, as I had already experienced this and just went through the motions as planned.
I checked quickly to see if the front door was open, yet somehow knew it was not and I intuitively knew that one of the bedroom windows was open and I knew that I could fit through that space and with the aid of an upside down tin garbage can busted through the window screen and found old "HAIRY" lying in the kitchen, almost unconscious. I kept calling his name until he made a response and quickly called for help. We did not have 911 then, so it was the police who were called and they called the medics.
As I laid down with him on the floor I told him I called for help and stroked his head and held his hands. Next door I heard my "Beatles" music repeat it's playing of "I Want To Hold Your Hand". I then realized how apropo it was at that moment as I lay holding "HAIRY'S" hands. I was already aware of how this would all turn out and was not frightened and told him that he would be fine as I explained the dream and knew how the ending would be. He looked at me quizzically and being unable to speak, squeezed my hand as if to confirm my conclusion. I stayed with him until they took him away in the screaming ambulance to the hospital. I felt sad as he went alone to the hospital as his wife was nowhere to be found that day.

Through the group of nosey neighbors, I walked back home knowing that he would survive and kept things quiet for the rest of the day as I was emotionally drained and awaited for some news about his condition. When Mother returned home later that evening, I told her of what happened and how I had dreamed about it before and that I broke in through his window and found him laying helpless in his kitchen. She was concerned for him, yet asked quickly if I told anyone about my dream. I replied no and her face reflected her immense relief to my answer. She reminded me to keep it to myself, but I knew silently that old "HAIRY" knew the truth, and I knew it would remain hidden between us.
Old "HAIRY" did survive and came home a couple of weeks later, sadly his dog had passed away during his hospital stay and he came home to an empty house once again. I can't recall what happened to his wife but upon his return I had noticed a change between us that we never spoke about. His speech, at times, was very slurred from the stroke he had but the communication that passed between us did not need words, as his actions, as slow as they were, spoke mountains of words. I spent quite a good bit of time listening to his broken worded stories of his youth and realized that we had a lot in common. He told me that he felt that his own intuition saved him from being killed in World War II. He reminded me that he was an older soldier and felt his duty to fight the enemy. He was aware of the platoon that my Dad was Sergeant of. The explanations of his stories were gripping and brought to me the certainty to never be involved in any military responsibility. I never felt the need to be a nuisance to him anymore and the "joy to annoy" took an alternate route that afternoon.

I realized that behind the grumpy faces and sour dispositions of the older people, lied a bevy of information that glazed over the personality that was once held. All you had to do was ask about them and be genuinely interested. It would make their day to share their story with a young person. Their stories were better than a book you could read as they spoke of life and the river of tribulations that led them to their shoreline. FASCINATING...

Now, for me, that time is just around the corner, but I will not become grumpy and sour. I will try to be calm and jovial in my latter years from what I learned in my young years. As I still have many planes to catch, my intuition tells me to keep on schedule and watch for the exit rows when an emergency occurs. I am still watching, and waiting for tomorrow as the air has been cleared for landing.

Monday, February 15, 2010


"A View Through the Windows"....sounds like a great Alfred Hitchcock movie, but no.. it is not. It's just another insight into my memory bank that holds the personal movies that were both tragic and comedic. This particular memory and viewing would become life altering. If I had been given a choice, I would have voted no to the screening, bought some popcorn and went back home to enjoy it.

As 1963 was drawing to a close, I was becoming even more aware of just how quickly people come and go in our lives, and just how quickly life can change in a split second. It was our weekly TV lesson at school on the local public station. On that November day we all stared at the screen viewing President Kennedy arriving in Dallas, where he was going to give a speech we were to hear. We were abruptly startled as the camera that was showing the live coverage of President Kennedy's arrival filmed the shooting. The whole classroom would witness the actual shooting that took the President's life that day. It was a first to see the live footage of what had just taken place. We were stunned and frightened to see what a was being played out in front of our eyes. Suddenly the teachers were gathering all the students and taking them outside where they began sending us home early. It may have been nice to get an early release from school, but that day I left with trepidation at what I had just seen. People were weeping and overwhelmed at the news that our President had died from a bullet to the head. This was not something that happened often and to see it on national TV was incredible. People were in a state of shock. The television was turned on the moment we arrived home and, like everyone else around the world, we stayed glued in our seats to witness this horror over and over again.
I saw the sadness from the nightly TV anchors and witnessed tears falling from their eyes. The nation mourned the loss and feared the worst. School would be canceled for a few days after this catastrophic incident and I began to be afraid that the world was going to end because of it. It didn't...........that night..............and I awoke the next morning with a whole new perspective on just how out of touch humans can be when mentally off balance. The sudden death of a President, fear of communism and Cuba's missles were just too much to try to understand what was happening.

The days off from school were quiet and rang of melancholy. The odd sadness prevailed over everyone you would see and their conversations were perplexing. The country was definitely in mourning and live television would never be the same. A few days later while watching more of the coverage I witnessed the shooting of Oswald, once again on live television. It frightened me so much that I ran from the room in total fear that someone else would be shot and I wanted no part of seeing anyone else killed before my eyes.... The immense impact of seeing that happen led to many fearful and unrestful nights in the days after. I had no idea that people would actually do that kind of act. Of course it happened in the movies and on TV but, after all it was just acting. It totally took away some of my young innocent thinking and I began to look at people differently.

I was in amazement at how a few weeks later, the world just picked up and moved on. Each day the memory of that fateful day merged into an acceptance and everyone just carried on and picked up where their lives had left off. It left a blanket of unrest among many and it would not be very long until my generation began to rise up and tell it like they felt it. We were on the verge of a societal change and the music industry would soon turn a whole new generation around a corner that would remain very pivotal in our history. Science and industry was moving as fast and technology would always make for new headlines. I was heading towards the teens, yet physically my body was not catching up as fast as my mind was growing. To have witnessed a moment in history of that magnitude was rare and unforgettable. It would prove to be just the beginning of more and overwhelming tragedies that now are a regular everyday event most of which are just shrugged off as normal. But how is that normal?

As the seasonal holidays approached that year, I still continued to search for that silver lining that would hopefully encompass my life and shroud me from the realities of human misbehavior. I wanted to believe that everything would be alright. Christmas was coming and I hoped that the bright tree lights would somehow color things happy. Inside the facade of a home life there was a growing unrest among the parents. It would begin making it's appearances unannounced and would make an impression on how I would view relationships in my future. I was tuned into a home life TV station that did not display the life of the Cleavers or the Stones. It was your typical dysfunctional all American household, where divorce was the mode thing to do. Divorce would not come for a while, but it's impending reality lurked around every room.

All of this culmination of people, relationships, and everyday life within the world would begin to represent the future of many things to come that would affect my view of life as I knew it to be. In such a short time there occurred many things that put a new contrast on reality. It was not for my viewing pleasure, but served as the cable that linked many other life changing events that were yet to come.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


For me there was always a need to procure a window seat whenever a holiday vacation required air travel. Sitting in my seat I would gaze in amazement as the scenery changed moment by moment. The white clouds would build high and then they would disappear as fast as they appeared. The land below looked like squares and circles and rectangles and obtuse triangles all seemingly etched out just for me to see. Inside the plane looking through the glass, in my mind I would color the views I saw with all sorts of ideas and dreams of how my holiday would turn out and the fun things that would occur from having a trip away from reality. Each twist and turn of the plane would add a new addition to the vision that danced in my head. On the many trips that I would take to this date, each window vision still reminds me that the view from the top is still reachable no matter how gravity tries to keep you down to earth.
While all of this may sound trite and whimsical, it has been my life experience to still be able to float away to points high above no matter how many weights are tied to my feet. The view from any window can still transport me to places unknown and can show me the correct trail I will need to take to reach my destination. We all, at some time have looked out a window and yearned for some thing or had a daydream of what you would like to happen, but no matter what we see when we look out that window, one thing is for certain there is an incredible sense of peace that comes over you and in those few seconds you feel unchained in your surroundings.

My window's were my seat to the future that I so wanted to hurry up and get to. I can remember the sights of the neighborhood and the noise and the sounds of children, the smell of freshly cut grass and ocean air. The pungent smoke scent of a newly lit barbecue and the brisk aroma of hamburgers and steaks being grilled. In the background the sound of music and all being lived right from my bedroom window view.
Those moments spoke to me as life was being lived beyond my window. It was easier for me to see the view from afar and not get lost in the crowd of it. I had a terrible time allowing myself to be with a group of people as they would tend to be mean and cruel if you did not view things the way the group did.

I had this secret window to my mind. It was like my own TV set, yet I was able to see things ahead of time that would not be of a comfort zone to me. I would not get involved if that inner view was seen first. Luckily I still have that private inner mind TV, only now it is more of a flat screen, wider and thinner and is played to me now on a high definition mind screen. It seems that age allows things to be seen in more vivid living color sans the NBC peacock. My window views now consist of my own reality shows that play out the truths that are seen more clearly through my minds high definition monitor.

I can still see the life being lived around me and still smell the freshly cut grass, but now I see the surrounding colors more clearly than ever. The colors that represented so many things before are no longer attached to emotions. The window streaks have been washed away by the rain from years gone by. My color green is no longer envious and my reds are no longer maddening and my moments of blackness have given way to sky blue. My windows are always waiting for me to look through them, and I try as often as I can to see the views of what tomorrow brings.

Now when I reserve an air flight to any destination of my choice, I no longer require a window seat. If I get a window seat, great, but now the aisle seat suits me just fine also. Sitting on the aisle seat I can have a great view down the center of the plane, and I can see the door to the cockpit. Inside that door sits the pilot who will always point me in the right direction.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I find it so surprising that in the autumn of your life age you finally begin to take a look at various situations that had a major impact on your life. Whether they were happy,sad,compelling or just plain moving. The amount of things one experiences in life is incomprehensible that our brain can file away memories and emotions that can be revived over and over. I doubt that Microsoft or Apple could design a hard drive that could deposit the amount of gigabytes that the human mind can recall via a memory of sight, sound or scent. I would not be the person I am without the presence of those past experiences. For every song from the past there is a valid touching memory attached. The smell of a favorite food, or the scent of a certain cologne all shroud me with warm feelings from the past.
Within the past lies your future and yet we wait a long time to see how it all fit together. In researching yourself you are able to find countless reasons why you do the things you do and the way your emotions all came together. In my life, as juxtaposed as it was I have begun to understand just how I became ME. The battle is still ongoing yet the fight has been almost won.
I understand that genetics play an important role in how you physically grow up but the mind choices are your responsibility. I never felt there were enough choices I always assumed there had to be more or even better ones. It made for quite exhaustive decision's. While teacher's tried to mold the sharp corners of my mind, the choices we were given in school seemed very limited to me. I challenged most every request and would always have an alternative idea that always got squashed. I had to LEARN how to play by their rules but I inserted some variation to those rules along the way. Eventhough some teachers found it annoying, others applauded me in thinking outside the box. I became the outspoken one and usually made sure I got a word in as often as possible. There were two absolutely wonderful teachers who moved me and gave me the power to prove myself and to dare to dream beyond just idle words.

The first teacher came in a pint size package that barely could reach the chalk board. I will never forget that first day back at school. The noise level and craziness in the classroom was at an all time high and in she walked with her freshly carved cane. She may have been small but the wig of her choice reached to the heavens above. I was mesmerized by how high the wig hair was. She commanded your attention by slamming the cane on the desk and demanding silence. Like I would ever allow that to happen, I rose to the occasion by letting her know that it scared all of us by slamming her cane and to not do that again. much for getting on her good side. She implored me to keep my mouth shut until I was spoken to as she was the "Keeper of this Castle" and I was to do as I was told with absolutely no back talk. This was not going to be easy, for one thing I couldn't keep quiet and the back talk idea was just going to have to be changed to suit my needs and not hers. She immediately realized who the smart ass was going to be and made a little note on her grade book to remind herself to torture me as often as possible. I promised myself to find her weak point and from there I would maneuver her into a comfort zone. This was not going to be easy.

From the first day the student-teacher war had begun. I made it my duty to challenge everything requested and belligerently did it my own way just for the hell of it. It would soon prove to be both positive and negative. Still that wig had to be tamed in order for me to look at her without laughing. She became known throughout the school as "Mrs. Wigwam". We always felt she would be meeting GOD earlier than most since her hair reached up so high. She was a no nonsense teacher and you always felt the tension whenever she was near. Day after endless day I felt trapped in her castle of school torture. She was the snake and I was her victim and she challenged me to a daily duel with her venomous tongue, and of course I would shake my rattler and bite back. By the end of each day her poor wig would always be leaning to one side as the class really made her work hard to stay focused. As the last bell would ring she would always be sure to have a need to speak with me about something that I found trivial. I would listen with half an ear and shrug it off as I left the school grounds. Yet those few words made a silent impact within me that I was totally unaware of until years later. She was the only teacher that suggested strongly that I should visit the principal for an attitude adjustment. From that suggestion I retorted strongly that she should visit her hairdresser and get a wig adjustment. The principal had to be a latent lesbian who would scare the pants off anyone who crossed her path. I found her charming and mean, exactly in that order. She would not allow you to speak and kept the big spanking paddle in view to try and intimidate you. She mentioned strongly that I had better learn to pay closer attention in class or I would be getting paddled for continued misbehavior. I felt the need to let her know that I would NOT be paddled at any time and that I would hit back if she ever laid a hand on me. That led to a phone call to my Mother and a dismissal back to the torture room. Whatever transpired with that phone call was never disclosed to me, but I was in no trouble when I returned home that afternoon. Evidently a conference was called to discuss the recent situation. Dealing with teachers was not a fun thing for Mother, she defended her A-D-D cub to the end. There would be no paddling and "Mrs. Wigwam" would just have to shrink a few more inches.

Upon returning to school the next week I noticed a change in her demeanor toward me. She left me alone and when called upon to answer questions she allowed me the freedom to speak my answers with my own insights. I began to look at her differently and could sense the tension between us was beginning to dissapate. After having completed a mindful day of quarterly tests, I noticed the wig once again was off to one side by the end of the day. I waited for the rest of the class to leave the room and took a desk in front of her and told her that I was sorry for the way I had been acting and let her know that I was mean to say the cruel remark about her wig. She accepted my apology and then told me the story of why she wore a wig. By the time she was finished I realized just how vulnerable she allowed herself to be in front of me. It seems that childhood scarlet fever had left a lot of physical changes she had to overcome. Not only did she not grow tall in height but lost all of her hair. I really felt her pain and would recognize that all is not what it seems to be. I left that room a humbled boy with a lot to think about. She taught me the meaning of judging the book by its cover or in this case a wig. Because what lies beneath the wig or between the pages of that book is a story that you have yet to read. She explained that the answers to questions can make you wise but the questions make you human and to never stop being inquisitive for it will always lead you to the correct conclusion.

The challenges that I faced with her directed me to be more discerning in my conclusions. I finished that school year even more inquisitive than before. Before that school year ended, I took it upon myself to offer my young styling skills and turned that wig into a more modern hair style. She was very greatful for my help. The hairspray that held the hair in place also held respect from student to teacher. She retired two years later and I have no clue what happened with her after that. The amount of knowledge that she provided still stands with me to this day. I truly believe she knew she got through to me as I got through to her. We both came out the other side of the gate with with a clearer understanding of what it takes to be different and courage to have personal convictions and to see them through, no matter what. The jet stream was tough that year until I learned to fly with it instead of against it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


In the time it took to finally realize that I had actually been chosen to audition for the amateur hour, the fear cycle began it's first descent upon my psyche. It would be the first of many fear cycle's that would encapsulate most big decisions that I would make throughout my life. It was the silent second guessing that took control and gave you the insecurity that you may have made a wrong decision. Now, I truly believe that there are no wrong decision's just complicated choices, brought on by not sticking with your gut feeling. I had no qualms about taking my chance on the show, but I somehow made it feel like it was just another youth center talent show. The innocence of thinking that was very much my saving grace. If I even had one inkling of what takes place on an audition I would have been running away like a crazy boy being chased by a rabid dog.

I think I wrote so many scenarios in my mind of how this would all play out and how great it would be if I got to be on the national TV show, that I never gave any thought to just how many others were thinking the same thing. I would pick my choice of a song and hours later I would change my mind. This would continue for a month before I made the final decision. In those days there were no karaoke cd's and finding the instrumental music for accompaniment was tough. With help from my friends at Lefter's music store, I scored with exactly the song I needed. It was so fully orchestrated and all that I had hoped for. I knew I couldn't lose and had many vying for me.
The day of the audition for my age group was on a Saturday between 1 and 3 pm. Walking into that local hall was very overwhelming. There were people everywhere, singing, dancing, playing instruments, etc...... This was not the vision that I had parlayed in my mind, this was terrifying and intimidating. There was a lot of talented people all hoping for the same result, to be picked above the others. For my age group there must have been over 50 kids waiting. Each had one minute and thirty seconds to perform and then you had to wait for a call back to perform for the show. WRONG... this was not as I planned it....I was already prepared for my closeup and was above having to wait it out like the others.
Afterall they did pick me when they sent the letter. WAKEUP CALL-BACK

With the insistence of my Mother telling me to be patient, a trait that I so lacked, I endured what all the others had to endure, the final call back. I was so glad that my brother was out of town with my grandparents, and I would not have to listen to all the comments that would ensue pending a disaster.
They called me in for my song and proudly I gave them my record as I had it marked where to place the needle. I walked up to the microphone and ripped into "I'm Learning About Love" just the way I'd heard it sung a million times before. Nothing went wrong except a bit of microphone squelching at the beginning. While it was supposed to be a minute and a half, my song lasted a bit over two minutes. I could feel my knees shaking throughout the whole number and also noticed how high I felt from the adrenaline that was having its effect on my nerves. I got some applause and was told to wait until the decision was made and they would call me back into the room.
I was nervously thirsty and wanted something to drink so I quickly left the room to pursue a Pepsi machine I saw outside the auditorium hall. As I made run for the vending machine, they started calling people back into the room where the auditions were held, the whole room gave way to pandemonium as each person was trying to hear their name called back. My Mother motioned for me to come back to where she was but I was thirsty and that was my priority. I can look back now and know that I was running outside so I would not have to know if my name was not called, I was terrified that it would not be and would rather find it out later.

Upon my return, hoping the Pepsi would soothe my nerves, my Mother had a grin on her face that told me something was up, and she informed me that I had made the days tryout and would be doing the show at the auditorium the next night. It was at that point I dropped the bottle of Pepsi and suddenly felt ill. Here once again I had been given another leap of faith solely by my own arrogance of looking beyond what I was competing with. I firstly became aware of how to block out things that did not have my presumptive conclusion attached. It would start a total selfish trend of how to look at things that may have an effect on me. I would not get the clearer picture of just how selfish that trend would become until later in my life.

I wish I could tell you that the stars opened up for me that next day at the show but alas I cannot. It was an incredible experience to compete like that and while I ended up in third place for my age group I walked away from it happy. I will never forget the colored lights of the stage and the brilliant beam of spotlight that shined directly in my face. To me it was like a guiding light that surrounded my being and took me to a different realm. It was truly a childhood high like no other I had ever experienced.
I did not lose anything that day, yet I came away with a lot of insight. Theatrical auditions are not for the meek, and you must be prepared and stay focused because the view of others in the same boat can dislodge your oar in the water. It still remains the same with any risk that you may take on in your life. Stay focused and be prepared.
In retrospect I came away with a whole set of new ideals. I watched all the people intensely as they waited and felt the aura of hope that surrounded the whole auditorium. Everyone in there wanted the same outcome, yet only a few would be chosen. I was a lucky one to be chosen, and that experience changed my life and left me with a sensitive feeling that still remains in my heart. I understand so clearly now that it was on that day that the lights I faced on that auditorium stage would then become the runway lights that I still follow on the road to myself.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


It was quite a celebration ringing in the new year of 1963. This was my first New Years party that I was allowed to stay up for and seeing the lighted ball drop in New York was really something. None of us knew just how many events would come that year and how much awareness would arrive at my boarding gate. I could certainly feel the winds of change begin to blow in my direction, not only for myself but also in the family unit. Mother was starting a new career change and my Dad, for the most part, remained status quo. The status quo part was never to my Mother's liking as she always wanted him to seek a better paying situation than having his own business. I would have to say that is one part that I truly inherited from the DNA. I have the most problem with staying status quo. It's as if I am put in some kind of choke hold and can't get any air. I need to be having a goal and always planning something new for me to do. Remaining in a state on inertia is not my game of life.

This new year I became more aware of the trends that were coming at us furiously in the 60's. From the news to the fashion trends, clothes, hairstyles and all the incredible music that moved the Pepsi generation, I was hell bent on knowing it all. My music collection just kept growing and I kept the top fifty records according to billboard magazine always in correct numerical order each week as the artists climbed up or down the charts. I would always be the one to ask to a get together as the records were glued to my hips. I moved into the STEREO sound realm and so did the sound volume on my record player. Keeping the music playing became my escape from the rivalry of my brother and the unhappiness that seemed to seep slowly into our family life. In retrospect I realize that the music was my distraction to the realities of what was happening in my home. I preferred solitude as it was easier to cope and selfishly I knew I was in control of my time and beyond those four walls it would,at times, be a little unnerving for me.
The work schedules of the parents were very different. Dad worked in the day 9 to 5 and Mother worked the night shift 4 to 1 am, which left us on our own. Dad tried to fill in for Mother but he would be fatigued from working all day and he would always be asleep early in the evening which left a lot of time to be able to go off and do the things that would not occur when both parents were home, especially on those school nights. We managed, and for the most part, we did whatever we wanted to do.
For myself it made for many nights of quietude as I did not have to deal with a lot of sibling irritations. These nights compelled me to read and to strategize my hope for the future. In books and magazines I could disappear and become whoever I wanted to be and dream intensely as the fantasies took their shape. I became more acutely aware of my intuition and somehow always knew the runway that I needed to sail down in order to reach my planned destination. On those humid hot Florida nights I would read outside in the glow of the yellow bug light that made an amber glow of everything it lit. I deemed it to be the genie light and I felt that if I basked in its ambiance long enough that all my wishes would materialize. Those soft silent evenings gave way to many unexpected realizations. I could sense when something was about to happen and would try to make it an easier conclusion.
Weekends were family oriented and all the chores that went along with it. I would not be much good until American Bandstand was finished on the TV. I recall one rainy Saturday morning while watching the TV, I saw an ad for The Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour as it was coming for auditions to the bay wad the original American Idol of it's day. They wanted you had to send a letter explaining who you were and what you wanted to do for your audition. Since it was an inside day for the most part, I decided that I would send in my request and see if I would be picked. The chances of getting picked were slim but I felt the desire to take a chance. I started a new cycle of anxiety until the letter would arrive, either allowing your audition or denying it. I did not feel the need to inform anyone of my letter and did make it to the mailbox before the postman arrived and was not noticed as I slipped it into the mailbox. Incognito once again.
Since that show would not be happening in our area for three months I knew I would have enough time to plan my song. It would be a local show on a local channel and if you won first place you would be on the BIG national show to compete for money. Money always talked to me, so what did I have to lose. One thing though,
I forgot about was who always got the daily mail, Mother, and realized that I would not always be home before the post arrived. I could only hope that I got to the box on the day the answer should arrive, as I had no definite time or day when the reply would show up. I wanted to make it a surprise, but fate did not cooperate. I sensed something when I came home from school the day the letter arrived as she told me she needed to talk with me about something I had done, and for the life of me I knew of many things I could have gotten caught for and never once thought about the letter. DREAD!
She produced the letter, which had already been opened, and my heart sank. She already knew the outcome. When asked why I wrote the letter I explained it in great detail, and told her that I really wanted to do this, still anxiously awaiting to read it. Mother was surprised that I had written it and told me I should have told her about it but told me I had chutzpah( I had to look that one up) and then she handed me the letter but I was too afraid to read it. I asked her if she knew what it said. Shaking her head, she let me know that they had said yes and the date for the audition. With nerves suddenly overtaking my body and the quick loss of appetite, I made a beeline for my bedroom, as I needed to think.
I laid there not thinking about what I was going to do for the show, but about how incredible it was to be asked back for the audition and that all you had to do was write a letter, take the risk and go for it. I don't think I ever thought of a negative outcome, all I could feel was the rush of exhilaration that came with the fantasy. The outcome would not be the end all. Stepping over the line and putting your hopes out there produces the energy that will prevail. It will connect you to where you need to be and creates the information needed to complete the action taken. I felt prepared for a safe landing. I had the understanding of what you could achieve as seen through my youthful eyes, yet I would just begin to learn about the insight to how amazing life choices can be when you just stretch your wings and peak over the horizon just ahead.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Have you ever taken the time to think about the amount of people who have criss-crossed their way in and out of you life? Now ....take a moment and seriously consider the truth of how many people that you can truly call your friend. The word friend connotes a lot of emotion, be it both happy and sad. A true insight is that while we all try to choose our friends carefully, the truth is that the ones who are still with us you today are the ones that were NOT chosen. They have been cultivated by years of many life happenings and shared experiences. These friends just appeared unexpectedly and the pull of similarities in your life made the glue that cemented the bond that you still adhere to today.
For me, I have been incredibly lucky to have the few long term friends who still consider me important in their lives. It has been a workout for all involved. If you survive the highs and lows of any kind of relationship then you have earned the right to be called friend.
As with any childhood friendships you never had the insight into what it takes to make a long term friend. I derived a very cautious attitude when it came to childhood friends. I had early an early experience that would short out my friend-o-meter. As with any neighborhood there were many kids all growing up at the same time. While we mixed and mingled at different times with each other, I truly could not feel close to any of them. I would put it down to them being the most normal and doing what the majority liked, and there I stood impeccably clean and unscathed from any dirty activities. I usually would bow out of most group activities and stand away from any body damaging sports games. I could never understand the need to pass a stupid oval ball around, then run terrified down a field to only be smashed face first in the dirt while pain surged morosely throughout your body. HMMMMM that was called fun, I called it stupid and singled myself to ridicule for trying to stay safely in one piece. My indifference to the rest was the fuel that was needed to begin the verbal and physical torture that I endured by being different. I would rather use the term UNIQUE. I was unique alright, and those couple of "friends" would not know the unique behavior that I secretly had until they pushed the limit button.
Case in point: Being small in stature and height was not a positive thing for me. While the other kids matured at a normal pace, my anatomy decided to take a hiatus and wait a while before inching upward. I was easy fodder for the tall boys who made it their goal to inflict their punches on me and the fact that being small made it very difficult to fight back with dignity. For every punch that landed on various parts of my upper torso, I made a mental note to get retribution when the time was right. In fact I made it my personal vendetta to plan their demise. After all it was just a matter of time before my genie would bestow upon me the timing of such occurrences. While his name shall remain anonymous he was once a friend that I spent playful times with. For whatever reason, genetically speaking he began to grow as if Jack gave him the beans that made him grow tall, much like a beanstalk. With every inch of height, there also grew inches of distance between our "friendship". My candor of playing safe and painless did not fit his needs for future camaraderie. I had the sense to know that I would not be playing in his ballpark any longer. He decided that I was the queer one and made it his ultimate goal to do as much physical harm as he could when I was not on my guard. It took only a few times for me to realize that not all "friends" were true and I made mental note to be more aware in the future. My gut instinct would always provide the options that were needed to complete the problem that I was having. I would dread those endless walks to school knowing that at any moment this giant of a boy would be lurking around the corner to inflict some sort of pain or mockery. I would lay awake nights too afraid to let anyone know what was happening and would often daydream of how I could end this once and for all. I would begin and end my day with the hope that my guardian angel would appear and remove him from earth, but alas he was still there.
My prayers,however, would be answered. It was not in the form of a protective it's shape was far from angelic, but it did however appear as a shiny mirage far off in the distance. As I walked closer, I saw what had been reflecting so brightly off in the distance.
My guiding light was a piece of sheet metal that laid upon a pile of two by fours and old plywood. It was stacked neatly by the road for garbage pickup. It had been removed from a roof that was being redone and I deemed it heaven sent just for me. It was at that precise moment that I realized this little pile of wood could be the end of my nemesis and his torture of me. I had to hope that the pile of wood would still be there in the afternoon and I wanted to time it so that I would be there in front of it at the exact time he would inflict his daily dose of meanness. My anxiety level was at an all time high that day and the agitation of uncertainty of how it would all work out was merciless. I lucked out and did not get the morning dose of pain so I knew it would be coming in the afternoon, and for the first time I was looking forward to it. As the final bell rang, I made it very obvious to him that I was starting my walk home in my usual methodical way but he did not follow at that time. I began to fear the worst but I continued on my way taking slower steps just in case he did start to appear. As fate would have it, and just as I had given up hope, he appeared from out of nowhere. I had to think quickly as my pile of lumber fortunately was still ahead however the timing of things was still to be determined in those last split seconds. My feet grew wings and as I glided those few hundred feet toward the pile of lumber, I could see the piece that I had meticulously chosen earlier that morning had miraculously not been touched. I arrived at the pile grasping crazily for that piece of lumber and as his fist was curled to impound it on my body,
I swung the board furiously at those tall legs and cracked him square in the knees. I felt his pain through the wood that I held. Adrenaline pumped at a heightened speed throughout my body and all I could think of was the count of how many times he had inflicted pain on me and how determined I was to even the scoring. I was blind with rage and began my countdown as he begged me to stop.....I didn' least not until I was pulled back from him by a man who owned the house that the lumber was placed in front of. The man calmed me enough to ask what I was doing and I explained the tortuous details and my reason for putting an end to my problem.
I was totally unaware of the amount of harm I had done. It seems the wood that I had picked came with accessories ..... like nails on various areas of the board. There he laid on the ground with 83 nail puncture wounds (still shy of my 127 pain count)but still mine did not have blood with them. I was suddenly shocked and afraid but not one bit sorry. I helped him up and as he leaned on me, I helped him back to his home where I diligently explained to his Mother what had taken place and why I did it and she sweetly accepted my honesty and said that she was not the least bit surprised and was glad that I stood up for myself. It seems that I was not the only victim of his abuse. Regardless I still felt a bit of guilt and went with them to the hospital and stayed with him for support. After being stitched and bandaged, he surprised me by thanking me for helping him and promised to not bother me again.

It was apparent that I may have been small but I was dangerous when I was angry. We made a pact that day to not share with anyone what had happened and it was an agreement that we both kept through those school years. That day the old friendship was given a new beginning, and it would continue till we graduated high school. I was never bothered again by anyone. He may have shared his moment with his other friends, but I would never know. What happened on that day would be felt on many other occasions in my life. The pain's of friendship may not have been inflicted by a two by four with nails, but nonetheless it still can hurt. The wounds that are made by life's friendships heal with the passing of time.
You can have a scar from the hurtful things that may occur from having friends, but like the scar, it's skin is tougher and underneath it lies one hell of a story.

Monday, February 1, 2010


There are times in our lives when the choice's we make can take us from a smooth high to a rocky low. It can bypass a huge mountain peak or head straight down into the valley. I often ponder the times when air was taken from my gossamer wings and dropped me like a rock off a mountain. The drop's would occur so fast that there was not enough time to prepare for the crash landing. We have been told of the crash and burn experience but for me it would become a crash then create a wake up call. People have asked in past conversations, have there been any regrets in my life, but quite frankly there have been none. Does regret mean, to deny your choices that didn't turn out or to be sorry that the situation even occurred? Either way for me the answer would still be a big fat NO REGRETS. I am however, sensitive to the fact that certain decisions did not work out and often anxiety has filled me with the "if only I had" preface but the amount of incredible realization that stemmed from the outcome's of those unfortunate decisions could never go unnoticed on the path to growing up.

I was a young force to be reckoned with and it was not an easy thing for parental guidance to prevail. No matter how dysfunctional the family unit may have been there were moments of love that prevailed and at rare times was felt in the rooms we lived in. When the moments of trouble appeared for me, I came to learn the art of mind manipulation and strategic planning on how to avoid the consequences of my own decisions. While most parents planned some sort of punishment for the unfortunate conclusion, I had already plotted my way around it. The uncanny part was how did I acquire the mind thought in how to rise above their action. I had seen the results of those punishment decisions laid on my brother and how they never were followed through. I would go beyond accepting punishment and reject anything that did not fit in with my game plan. There would always be the storm warnings and most of the time I would heed them but there were plenty of times that I would navigate from them and be dropped into the eye of my own hurricane.

When I first recognized that the dreams that you so believe in can happen, there would be no turning back for me. I began to spin dream webs as fast as a summer spider could make his web. The ideas and dreams came in units and all with an urgency that demanded my full attention as there seemed to be never enough time to complete one before going on to another. I lived within the walls of my mind and each premonition assured me that I was on the right path. It was a gift that would be recognized more fully in my adult years. When most preteens were caught up in the wake of their peers, I took the road less traveled in order to not get lost in the traffic. I choose to keep myself out of prepubescent evilness and stay within my own private safety range. I was becoming more aware of just how fickle young kids could be. That new awareness would make it hard for me to settle in to friendships. The friendships that I made were all very similar to the kind of personality that I possessed and we had the common sense to look out for each other. We were a unique bunch and stayed out of the maddening crowd.

That summer of 1962 seemed to never end. So much had happened in that time that paved the way for the road that I would take toward many future ideals. I would have no idea to where the roads were to take me but I definitely walked my yellow brick road and never felt the need to look back. Having been shown that anything is possible I would begin to sense the need to leave my hometown. I knew that it would not offer what I wanted to pursue. So much was happening in our country that I became aware of the advances in our culture and took notice of the fear of war. Those day's of Florida living were resolutely recounted by the endless commercials of how Cuba was 90 miles from our doorstep and how we had to be aware in our school about the dangers of a nuclear bomb. The constant drilling of duck and cover became a weekly routine before our classes would start. I found it quite amusing and soon learned how easy it was to stay under my desk waiting for a bomb that never came, but it did allow me five minutes of uninterrupted transistor radio time with my favorite DJ. It would also cost me dearly for the many ear jacks that would be yanked from my ears in doing so.
I lived for the music and the lyrics that spoke of all the unrequited loved and hope of love. I did not know exactly what it was but I wanted my part of it. It would prove to be a bit discerning as I did not have the same biological makeup as most boys came with. My attraction seemed very strongly to the same sex and it would prove to be a hard understanding of what the heck was going on. I do remember that I had a crush on someone who also let it be known that the feelings were mutual. It would begin the journey to recogonizing that other people felt the way that I did about sexual identity. My flight to personal identity was thin and transparent. I had nothing to hide. The air underneath my gossamer wings would support the lift and the energy current would move me to the places that I wanted to be. For I was not afraid of who I was, I was just afraid of who I did not want to turn out to be.