Monday, February 24, 2014

All the World's a Stage....for little Mack

February 24, 2010 is the date my mother, Maxine Haworth, died.  That was four years ago.  I have written a number of Maxine stories and still have many more.  Today I am just going to tell a little about her childhood.
Maxine and Uncle Frank 

One story she told us was when she wanted to have the lead part, a beautiful princess, in the third grade class play.  Maxine was a smart little girl with white blond hair and blue eyes.  She also seemed to never lack in confidence and knew that she was the perfect girl for this part.  One can only imagine the dismay she had when "little Gloria with Shirley Temple curls (only black) and  porcelain face with hazel eyes" was chosen to be the princess.  How could this be!!

While walking home for lunch, all Maxine could think about was the terrible mistake the teachers had made.  It wasn't that she did not have a part in the fact she had a big part...but not the lead...not the pretty star.  It just did not make sense.  She was steaming by the time she got home and immediately told her mother about it. 

Her mother was busy getting lunch ready for all four children.  Maxine was following her from the counter, to the table, to the sink and back to the counter...all the time whining about this travesty.
Frank, Maxine, Marge and Harold
Mother's hair is so blond it looks white.

"They should have picked me!  I don't want the part they gave me!  I want the lead!  Gloria only got it because of her Shirley Temple curls!  I already knew the lines for the lead!  I hope she gets sick and can't be in the play"
At that, her mother said, "Stop that right now, Maxine.  Those are mean thoughts.  I am sure the teachers had good reasons for their choices of play parts.  You have a good part and you need to do your best with it."
In frustration, her mother said..."Maxine, if you feel that way, tell your teacher that if you can't be the lead you don't want anything."...hoping that Maxine would realize how ridiculous she was being.  But Maxine took this as permission to plead her case to her teacher.

When she returned to school after lunch, Maxine stepped up to her teacher's desk...chest puffed out... hands on hips and said, "My mom said that if I can't have the lead then I don't have to take the part you gave me." 

"Well, I am sorry she feels that way, Maxine.  It looks like you won't be in the play and we will have to find someone else for your part."  Maxine's ego was shattered twice that day...but it was still strong.  She told us that she remembers standing there in total shock, wondering how her teacher could not be smart enough to know that Gloria was not the right person for the lead.  No...Maxine did not return to her desk with head down a bit shamed...or feeling silly...or feeling sad.  No...she strutted and disbelief that no one else knew she should have that part.

The next morning, Maxine and her mother walked to school together.  This was great!  Her mom would set things straight.  Her teacher greeted and invited them into the classroom.  How important Maxine felt.  The rest of the students were waiting outside of the school until the morning bell.

"Let me apologize for my daughter," her mother began. "I did not tell her that I did not want her to be in the play unless she could have the princess.  I was proud that she received the part you felt best for her.  It was my mistake.  I did not realize that she would misinterpret my words and instead, thought I agreed with her.  This is a good lesson for Maxine to realize that we need to make the best from our disappointments and not blame others." 

This was NOT the outcome that Maxine expected.  But if finally occurred to her that she just might be wrong....maybe Gloria with the Shirley Temple curls did deserve the part...maybe she should have been satisfied with her part....but now, she did not even have that.  At this time she asked if she could help with the costumes...that would be fun!  (Any of you who knew Maxine know that this would have been perfect.)  Here are two future drawings by Maxine.  Fashion continued to be a major interest of hers.

The end of this little story is a bit sad...even Maxine felt bad about it.  She did get to help with costumes and stage props.  She heart still ached when Gloria was practicing her parts...but this time Maxine was not angry and instead helped everyone with their lines.  Two days before the play she was called to the teacher's desk.  Gloria was sick...she had the measles...and would be unable to take part in the play.  Would Maxine be able to take the lead....would she be the princess?  This time, her journey to her desk was full of excited happiness...but with a tinge of guilt.
Maxine said she knew that Gloria would probably have done better, but she was still happy that she could save the day.  She also realized that designing costumes was a lot more fun that memorizing lines...and that was one way she made a positive out of a disappointment.

Monday, February 10, 2014

What's the Magic Word? Who Wins the Prize?

Those who did not know what happened 50 years ago on February 9th...must have been living under a rock...or if you live within the Polar under the snow.  The Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan Show!  This was their first performance in the USA!  But...there was another thirteenth birthday!  Needless to say...I felt quite special and felt each song they sang...each shake of their heads...and each oooh was directed at me.

I got this picture from the web.  I did not get to sit this close...and this picture
is from the Ed Sullivan Show.
  So...on Sunday evening, February 9, 2014....I was watching the Grammy Tribute to the surprise to my friends and family.  And...when Paul McCartney sang, "They Say It's Your Birthday"...well, of course, he was singing that to me. :-)

This all brought memories of my friend, Toni.  She got to go to their concert in Indianapolis.  Oh how envious I was, but loved listening to her relate her adventure.  Just walking into her room was an adventure to me.  Her walls, doors, (even the door knob) were covered with Beatle pictures.  I can't remember if the ceiling was covered...but it would not surprise me.  There was a small box with a "Do Not Open...Beatle Germs" sign taped on the top.  Curious as to what Beatle germs were...I almost opened it...but Toni rescued the box from my hands...opened it a crack...and inside was what looked like crumbled leaves and dirt.  One of the Beatles stepped on this stuff.  I have to admit, I felt a bit of an adrenaline rush as she closed the box and returned it to it place of honor.
Another picture from the web

Another friend, Greg Keeker, was able to go to the same concert.  He remembers that he needed binoculars and that girls were rubbing dirt from the sidewalk on their arms and faces...yelling "Beatle Dust!" that makes me wonder if Toni's box contained Beatle Germs or Beatle Dust.  I will have to ask her.

So what does all of this have to do with the title of this blog...about a Magic Word?  This could be a sad post with me pining to see the Beatles in concert and never having the opportunity.  We moved from Indianapolis to Toledo in the middle of my 8th grade year.  My parents got me a guitar...maybe to help the move since I would be leaving all of my friends.  I wonder how many kids got guitars after the Beatles?  It was one of the best gifts ever!  I learned chords for Beatle songs and found many friends through singing and playing the guitar.

But what about this Magic Word?  It happened when I was 15.  The local radio station, WOHO had a contest for tickets to the Beatles concert in Detroit.  All I had to do was send in a postcard or envelope and write my name and phone number on the back.  The station would draw names during the day and call the person.  The catch had to know the magic word for that hour...and to know the had to listen to WOHO and hope to hear it when they announced it.  When I heard about this contest I was visiting a friend who lived in my neighborhood.  She was not my best friend but we got along well.  One of us (not sure who) said that we should send in cards and if one of us won...we would take the other.  So...I found a hot pink envelope, wrote my information on the back, and mailed it that day.

A couple of weeks later, I had just walked home from school, passed my sister who was sitting on the couch, went upstairs to change clothes...and of course, turned on the radio.  Swingin' Sweeney was the DJ.

This is the only picture of Swingin' Sweeney
I could find.
I was halfway down the stairs when the phone rang.  It is strange that I remember this so well.  Should I go up to my room to answer the phone or get the phone in the dining room?  I opted to continue the direction to the dining room...lifted the receiver and heard Swingin' Sweeney's voice.  I did not even wait for him to ask the question.  "JOHN!!!" I shouted. "It's John!"

My sister looked concerned.  I was garbling to her what had just happened...all the time forgetting Swingin' Sweeney.  He finally got my attention...and yes...I did win two tickets to see the Beatles in Detroit. 

The concert was fantastic.  Up until that time, any concert I had attended was at the Peristyle at the Toledo Art Museum...classical this was quite a change.  I have to admit...I did not scream.  I was never that kind of fan.  The moment the Beatles stepped on stage the screaming started, the energy of it almost lifting me from the stands.  My ears buzzed for hours afterward.  That was one of two disappointments.  The other was that I was not able to take my sister or my good friend, Ann, because I had already promised the ticket to someone else.  My parents said that since my friend and I had agreed to share tickets...that there was no question as to who was going with me.  I knew they were right...but I still feel a tug of guilt that I could not take my sister, Linda, or my friend, Ann.
This is a program from the concert...but not mine.  Mine is packed
in some box in the garage.

For my Facebook friends who participated in my contest:  What was the magic word?  You now know that the magic word was John.  As you know....Lewis guessed the right word, but he as informed me that he will bypass the prize. (I think he will still get one though.)  I hope you all had as much fun as I did.