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Monday, September 2, 2013

Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Stevie Nicks, Wendy Cleverly and me.

So today is my birthday, I never thought I would be 59....until I turned 58 and then it seemed like a very good goal.  The good thing about getting older are all the people getting older with me.  Did I ever think Stevie Wonder would be over 60?  Or James Taylor?  Forget Stevie Nicks getting older, I can't bear that.  She will always be that beautiful girl twirling around on stage in a long black skirt.  She epitomizes my youth, a time when everything was possible, and I could wear belts with great confidence.

The fact that the Rolling Stones got old is not a shock, they always looked old, even when they were young.  Now they look.....older.  But I am thrilled they keep performing.  I hope they do until they just can't anymore.  When my friends start retiring I get nervous....  Retire?  Yikes...So Mick and the guys are just going to have to keep singing.  And I am glad....

I have been blessed to basically start over.  After my children really didn't need me the same way I was eager to explore other purposes for myself.  I looked ahead at going to lunch, maybe learning to crochet or make pottery.  I thought I could go back to college, or learn a language.  But necessity prevailed and I joined my husband in a catering business ( that seemed improbable in the beginning, but now seems perfect.  I will be the first to admit I did not want to, it seemed too complicated and honestly I thought I was just too old.  I was not sure I wanted to work that hard.  As a friend said to me, "I used to cater, but then I quit to do something easier, now I lay asphalt."  I have watched our life take a new shape and I stopped fighting it.  It's scary when we don't have work and exhausting when we do.  But it will be a great story someday, hell, its a great story now!

We just won't give up.

James Taylor was the voice of my high school years, with my friend Roxane we listened to his albums and wondered what Carly Simon had we didn't.  He was enigmatic.  And I think he still is.  He has aged perfectly, in great shape, bald with wrinkles.  It feels dignified...

I have to put Stevie Wonder together with Wendy Cleverly.  Wendy was my dear friend, mentor, and beautiful, beautiful girl.  She was the DJ at the Hilton and got all the attention from the guys you could imagine.  It was fun tagging along with some really famous people she attracted.  She played music in the Hilton Disco (I know it was a long, long time ago) for 20 minutes while the live band took a break. So for 40 minutes we were on our own.  We could go to other clubs or stay there and dance.  Wendy is a great dancer and won every contest.  When she was DJing I always requested the same songs, Stevie Wonder and that song from Car Wash.  She finally got the album for me so I would stop bugging her to play it.  We did the hustle to "I will survive"  and went to bed really late.  I had to be up early every day because I played tennis about 3 hours a day and then I worked at a racquet club.  I went to every tennis court to play and sometimes all in one day.  We would go to the Desert Inn (no longer there) and then to the Frontier (no longer there) back to the Tropicana because they had indoor courts (no longer there) stopped by the MGM, now Bally's and then back to our home courts at Ceasar's.  I met lots of very famous people and found out right away they mostly all had clay feet.  I played tennis with Bill Cosby every time he came to town, which was a lot back then.  He loved to make me run from one side of the court to the other.  His entourage assumed he was a great player...he could be....challenging.  And one of my best hitting partners was a woman named Mirha who was a topless dancer in the Folies.   The only person left in my life from that time is Wendy.  I am happy to say she has been married for 33 years and has 3 beautiful children and 2 grandchildren.  She still looks like the disco queen she was.  Oh did I mention she was the card girl for the Ali fight?  That is a very big deal....

As for me I started over and finally got a real job.  I gave up scooping balls for tennis pros and coming in at four.  About a year after finding a real job I married the love of my life who still loves me.  We have 4 beautiful children...all of this is a shock to me.  Talk about a long shot, although Raymond comes from pretty stable people, my mother was married 7 times.  Hardly the kind of stuff long term marriages are made from.  But that has been the theme of my life....improbable situations with surprising results.

This isn't an epitaph, I have a lot of things to do yet, but I wanted to look back at my life and check out the road I have already traveled.  For everything I wish I had done, I did 10 things I never thought I would.  One thing for sure, music has been the background to my life.  I was thinking about changing my theme song, which is "Feelin' Alright"  by Joe Cocker, but I couldn't find one I liked as well.
I am optimistic about our future, grateful I feel good, happy to have challenges to keep us young, and glad for all the family and friends who will be traveling this part of the road with me.

Happy Birthday to me!!!