LESSON #60 – FRIENDS INDEED!

Stop and look around.  Interesting people are everywhere!

Republished here with the approval of AROUND WOODSTOCK, “Our Woodstock Neighbors” April issue, 2018, by Leigh Cutrone.

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Once in a while we meet someone with whom we just click.  That was the case when I met this dear woman.  We just happened to be next door neighbors when I moved to downtown Woodstock.

Simply put I was fascinated by her.  She is quite a lovely lady.  She has the most gorgeous blue eyes which are full of life along with a sense of humor that would make anyone smile.

Her full name is Marita Hallberg Walsh.  Born in Sweden in 1943, she was the only child.  She still remembers the food shortages resulting from the German blockades.   But her parents came to the United States looking for a better life which they found in Brooklyn, NY. where Marita grew and began her love of art.  Her father was a fresco artist so, perhaps,  Marita inherited that flair early on.

Parsons School of Design accepted Marita and with several scholarships under her belt she graduated with a Graphic Arts degree from Parsons.  This is impressive since today only about 35%* of applicants are accepted.

Graphic art was Marita’s forte’ which took her into the advertising world.  In fact, her first job was in an advertising firm in NY in the 60’s.  Remember television’s, ‘Madmen‘??  Was this world accurately depicted?  Actually, Marita said the men were.  The women, in her experience, not so much.  Women were typists and stenographers.  Not any room for a Peggy becoming an advertising executive in those days nor for a Joan Holloway rising to part owner of the firm.

The young and married Marita lived in the West Village of New York.  She ‘painted’ me a picture of the West Village as an area where the aspiring musicians, actors, and young artists lived and socialized.  Marita, in fact, knew Bob Dylan‘s girlfriend, Susan Rotolo.  Suze and Dylan lived around the corner. Suze actually was pictured on Dylan’s 1963 album, ‘The Freewheeling Bob Dylan’.  It must have been fascinating living there then.   I can picture Marita with her blonde hair and bright blue eyes walking along Bleeker St and running into Suze and Dylan.

Marita has always had a love of traveling and adventures.    Marita has been to 19 or 20 countries (but who is counting?).  Always independent with a sense of purpose.  With each move (and there were many) came a “new adventure”.  “It was fun” and along the way she has met Woody Allen and Woody Harrelson.  With a bit of wistfulness, Marita mentioned she may not have actually worked FOR Any Warhol but she was close enough to “touch his robe!”

Marita and her husband moved to downtown Woodstock about 6 1/2 years ago and has had no regrets.  Woodstock suits her lifestyle and she has no plans to move anytime soon if ever.  Today she paints and is humble about her work as she pointed to a painting she was working on in the corner of her living room.  The easel was beautiful as was the painting.

I asked Marita if she had any advice for the younger people starting out in their careers.  She was quick to answer.  “Work hard and put down the phones!”

Any regrets?” I asked.   “Anything on your bucket list?”   Marita had to think.  Maybe not a regret but a ‘wish’.  She still wishes she had landed that job with Lou Dorfsman.   She explained that Dorfsman was a graphic designer who was hired as the Director of Design for all of CBS in NYC. Marita informed me that Dorfsman was responsible for everything and anything that had to do with design (print advertising, marketing communications, etc.) for CBS…”down to the design of even the pencils”.  We agreed she may not have had half the adventures in her life if she had landed that job!

As Marita enjoys everything Woodstock, we all should be happy to have her living among us.  Cheers Marita!

 

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LESSON # 71 – SPECIAL MOM DAY

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Most of us probably have a special Mother’s Day that we hold on to.

Mine was when we lived in Phoenix.  My son was about 2 and my daughter maybe 4…I think.  My husband was on a business trip.

My two dear children came into my bedroom carrying a tray.  They had one piece of burned toast on a large plate.  The coffee cup was filled to the brim with cold water.  Coffee grounds were floating while Lauren proudly explained that she had made me a good cup of coffee.  Both children were proud of their accomplishment.  My heart filled to capacity and then some.  It still does to this day when I remember this special Mother’s Day.

Tomorrow is for all Mothers in all forms, all colors, all everything.  A day to remember Mothers who have passed and are no longer here to hug and give us guidance.  Missed beyond words.  Mothers in name only, Mothers who are yet to be and Mothers in the thick of it.  Young and Old.

So, we thank our Mothers,  but we don’t have to think long about all ‘we’ have done to deserve this special day.  Humbly I say.

I am reminded once again how it all began…this thing they call motherhood.  In my case, there was a lot of pushing involved without meds both times, and, in return, I have a nice homemade yummy breakfast once a year if I am very lucky!  Pushing…..pushing,  b r e a t h i n g  in and out, more pushing until insides feel like they are coming out along with a beautiful baby!  TMI?? Yes, perhaps.  Yay for us! All that work and a good breakfast besides.  Perfect.

It has been a ride and a lifetime of love, pain, love, guidance, hospital runs, love, worry, tears, heartbreak, love and maybe the best breakfasts one can only dream of!

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!  Enjoy!!  I, personally, wouldn’t trade any of it… for anything.  Except, perhaps, for the best dinner in the world!  Wait for it….my children are taking me out to dinner tonight.  Just the three of us.  What is better than that I ask you?

I am so excited!!

Love and Miss Both My Moms,

Leigh

(Some of this blog may have been republished because of lack of time but it’s ok since I wrote both!)

 

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LESSON # 70 – LOOK INTO MY EYES

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I think I was always tired and the children kept me very busy.  I was considered an ‘older’ Mom.  I was almost 37 when my son was born.  Not old according to today’s standards!  A couple of years flew by as they do and suddenly my son was two and my daughter, four.

This was a precious moment.  I remember this because as young as he was, my son needed one on one attention from his Mother and I was wrapped up in everything else.  Not odd for a young Mother with young children.  My thoughts then are very much the same now when I think of that moment.

My son crawled onto my lap and put his little hands on my face and turned my face toward his own.  He stared at my eyes and we looked at each other for what seemed minutes.  We looked into each other’s eyes and very souls.  It was a moment I will never forget.

I stopped what I was doing and looked at this little child of mine and felt all the hopes and dreams every mother feels.  That moment, too, I felt guilty that my young child would feel that he needed attention and he had to show me!  He was beyond his years with the ability to say without words what he needed… to look into my eyes and see my love for him.  That particular day, sad to say, I had forgotten the most important job I had.

Today as a “Nana” I often think of that second in time so long ago.  Being part of the Senior Class, we now have much more time to give to our Grandchildren.  In my case, they are quite young.  I find myself looking into their eyes as I hold them close while telling them I love them.  Part of my ritual is to give each Grand a ‘million’ kisses and a big big hug when I see them.  I often hope each one will remember our special ritual because it is very special to me.

My Grandsons will grow up fast and feel awkward with my kisses and I fear that may be happening sooner than I want to realize.  Girls are easier.  They giggle when receiving their Nana’s love and kisses.

How often do we really look into each other’s eyes and see the love and the feelings we have for each other?  Eyes do certainly give a glimpse into the souls of those we love.  A loving light will shine there. We might see love but also, perhaps,  all the rest of our human emotions.  When you see love shining back from someone’s eyes, that is the most precious to always remember.

Our Grands will grow up just as fast as our children.  I am careful.  I stop what I may be doing and look into their eyes and make sure they know and feel my love.  It’s important to me.

My memory of my son on that day will never fade.  My memory of those I love looking into my eyes with love will never fade.  This may be what it’s all about!  Maybe.

Leigh

                                 “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within”

                                                                                                                              Maya Angelou

 

 

 

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LESSON #69 – HAPPY PASSOVER!

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This year Good Friday has a different feel than last.

Easter has come a bit too fast for my liking and my mind has been on everything else except where the focus should be!

Easter is a time for celebration and our thoughts should be turning to Jesus who, after all, is what this weekend is all about!

This year, however, Passover and Good Friday is TODAY.  I have always believed we should celebrate Passover along with our Jewish brethren but we seldom hear about this most important Jewish holiday.  Sad, really, many Christian churches can’t celebrate this part of our Christianity as it coincides with Judaism.

“Good” is connected with Friday because Jesus died for all our sins…which is Good.  Sunday, Easter, HE rose from the dead and we praise HIM with thankfulness.

Today, we recognize Passover.  It is a festival to freedom; the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt.  Liberation by God of those led out of Egypt by Moses.

Passover begins today and ends on April 27.

So, for this weekend I will praise HIM and try to forget everything else happening in my life.  I will put aside any worries and put my trust in the Lord.  Gather around the table whether it be on Easter Sunday or for your Seder meal and give thanks!

HAPPY EASTER AND HAPPY PASSOVER.

Leigh

 

 

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LESSON # 68 – SPRING: THE SEASON OF RENEWAL

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It is Spring in Georgia.  This time I’m sure of it.

The trees surrounding our house are opening their new delicate light green leaves ever so slightly.  The daffodils are bending low and seem quite tired.  Our Japanese Maples are showing off their new red cloaks.

Birds are chirping their hellos, “I’m back!”, with friendly but worldly sounds. We have seen our very first Hummingbird of the season!  The feeder is hanging ready to attract any more newcomers.

It has been a very long winter in so many ways.  The weather has been abysmal.  So much rain, no snow, no ice storms and just grey sad days.  Everyone has said so and so it must be true. Generally, I love grey days when nothing has to be accomplished but this year it was the norm.  Glad to see them go.

Spring is a new beginning to be sure.   A new baby has joined our family.  Love gained for others and, perhaps, love lost.  I can’t help thinking that this year will be a new beginning.  I’m counting on it.  My ‘to do’ list is long so I tell myself to STOP OVERTHINKING and get on with life wherever it takes me and whatever it throws my way.

Spring fever!  A relationship expert, April Masini, writes that “spring is still for humans what it is for animals: a time to get out there and meet potential mates.”  Interesting.  You singles?!  Do you hear? No matter what your age, love may be near.  It is fleeting so don’t take it for granted.  Treat it with respect.  It is a gift.

So many of us have been housebound for months and now we want to go out into the warmer air. Walk the beach, the Boardwalk or the Park with our face towards the sun.  Feel the warmth and the love surrounding us.

Our questions and disappointments from yesterday and our fears of tomorrow must be put aside while we enjoy what is happening right before us. It is not always clear. But…

“Don’t wait for someone to bring you flowers.

    Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul”

                                                                                                  Luther Burbank.

HAPPY SPRING READERS!

Leigh

 

 

 

 

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LESSON #67 – FEEL THE BURN!

th-1.jpegThe other day I was at my gym (NO, this is not the beginning of a joke)…

I began thinking about how my gyms and memberships had changed so drastically over these coming of age years.  So drastically that I really had to laugh at the whole gym thing.

In Woodstock, we have quite a few very nice and ‘expensivey’ gyms close by the house.  We have LA Fitness, Lifetime Fitness, Golds Gym, One Life Fitness, 24/7 gym, and many other smaller storefront gyms. I could really walk to a few BUT who wants to walk and get exercise when I can join a gym and pay good money to get exercise?

I have had lots of gym memberships over the years beginning at 40 when we lived in Phoenix. I loved it.  The gym was new and it had childcare!  Praise the Lord!  I could go exercise and my children were happy!  All was right with the world.  I was happy.  They were happy.  We always had a McDonalds run afterward.  Really doesn’t get much better than that.

That was the year I thought my body would start falling apart!  WHAT?  Was I kidding??  At 40 your body starts to fall apart??  What a joke.  Can you say NOT!  Anyway, I loved the gym and I loved working out at 40.  Thinking about that workout now, I am getting very tired.  I think I need a nap.

When we moved from Arizona to Marietta, Georgia I joined another gym.  A few years had gone by.  MANY years had actually gone by.  Somehow my energy level had wained a bit.  I wasn’t that much older (or was I?) so what was going on?  The exercise was more difficult and I didn’t enjoy it much.  I needed a diversion.

For the next years, I was in and out of gym memberships.  I would join and maybe go once a week and then the weeks mounted between visits!  I wasn’t feeling it at all.  After paying for a gym month after month I yelled…”Enough!”  I hate this.  The thrill was gone.  Too many people were so serious about weight lifting and running on treadmills.  I started noticing that the majority of the members were actually younger than me.  OMG.  Was I getting ‘older’?  Say it ain’t so…

There was a tennis period when I lived and breathed only tennis.  People, never mess with tennis in the Atlanta area.  ALTA is serious business.  Tennis was like a gym membership.  I may even get back on the court IF my knees are up to it?  Who am I kidding???

We are now in the here and now.  My husband actually signed me up for a membership at a…wait for it…a GYM.  All through the holidays as I was enjoying all those holiday goodies, as well as lots of vino, I knew a gym would, once again, be in my future.  All I can say is “Damn” (again).

Planet Fitness.   It is very much like going to an Early Bird Special for Senior citizens minus the food of course.  Their motto is “The Judgement Free Zone”.  I think I have found a home.  ‘Young people’ at the front desk make you feel welcome, warm and cozy even. There are 30-minute circuit rooms including an intense one that is for anybody but me.  A trainer 24/7 but I have yet to actually see him.

As gym memberships come and go through the years, for this one Senior Classer,  I realize that my main goal now…is to just keep this body moving at all costs.  Very simple really.  Just keep moving it!  OMG, the pain.

Cheers!

Leigh

 

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