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 area.it 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.