Not only do I not know where to begin when talking about my mom's elementary school music programs, I also wouldn't know where to end. I was a part of them as a participant for 7 years... 9 if you count the times that she was also the junior high school band instructor and I was in junior high. 13 if you count the next 4 years when I was recruited to help set up and take down risers, run the spotlight when necessary, or be an all-purpose general helper/roadie for mom. These programs were a logistic network coordinated by mom, but the generals on the ground were all the teachers that helped pull their part and got each class in to place when they needed to be and out of the way when they needed to be. They were the supervisors of the busy little mouths that were all aflutter and excited to be both in their classroom in the evening (which was always kind of cool for the kids) and then to be all dressed up and ready to sing for their parents and their grandparents.
The above care instructions were written by my mom, Mary Susan Simko, for anyone taking care of their cat, Tommy John. This is 100% real and legitimate and NOT ironic. Mom didn't have a sense of humor when it came to Tommy John
"Rosemåling, or rosemaling is the name of a traditional form of decorative folk art that originated in the rural valleys of Norway. Rosemåling is a style of Norwegian decorative painting on wood that uses stylized flower ornamentation, scrollwork, lining and geometric elements, often in flowing patterns. Landscape and architectural elements are also common. Many other decorative painting techniques were used such as glazing, spattering, marbelizing, manipulating the paint with the fingers or other objects." - Wikipedia, Dec. 1, 2016
My mom had a time when she was a rosemaling fool! She was painting all the time. She'd practice, practice, practice and practice. I remember the smell of the oil paint... it was really my first exposure to those art supplies. Her steady hand and beautiful floral patterns mezmerized me and I longed to be able to do it too. I remember taking matters into my own hands at one point at the clearly early age of about 5 and made my attempt at rosemaling with a felt marker, as evidence above. I just wanted to share this as I was thinking about her today and I stumbled across my drawing and thought it was pretty funny.
I had a date night with my daughter the other night. We went to RENT. It was her first time seeing it and my second time. (I don't include all the times that I've watched the movie or the dvd of the Broadway show.... "IN PERSON" is all that counts when keeping score.
My first time seeing it was in New York a few years ago. I unfortunately missed seeing it when it was in it's big run on Broadway, but luckily for me, An Off-Broadway production of it had just opened and I wasn't going to miss the opportunity.
The following poem was thrown out on facebook on November 26th, 2014. This was just over 2 years after my mom had passed away and more than a year after we lost dad. I was having vivid dreams that led to me wanting to begin writing more and more. I utilized facebook as a place for this to happen, knowing that it would be a place that it would be shared with my brothers.
Swimming in a dream
I built a ladder of mac and cheese and memories
my mom moved deftly my way
my dad held my steady hand
Together we laughed
at little things we had all forgotten.
Soda Stream, owls in trees,
routes to school by Grandma's house.
Give the house a knock,
Give Gert a wave,
Off to learn everything and nothing.
I'm just a creative guy that's looking to throw all this spaghetti onto the wall and hope something sticks.