Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Beat Goes On...

My dad with my brother Emery in 1967
After a long winter, I THINK I see spring on the horizon here in New York! People are ready to emerge and so am I.
As I wrote in my blog yesterday, it was 12 years ago today that my dad passed on.
Thinking of my dad's passing AND his life evokes many memories both good and bad. My dad lived with many demons that slowly consumed him as I was a kid and continued to grow as I got older.
My pater, Dan, validates me

Growing up, I will admit, my dad and I were in a constant battle with each other.
He just didn't "get me". Perhaps I didn;t get him either.
When my father passed on, an aunt of mine said it was sad that I didn't get to really know him in his later years.
I agree. He was a changed man after my grandparents had passed on but I had moved on and our times together were all too brief, I left home when I was 18. I have written extensively about the events surrounding that. My biggest regret is that my dad and I were never friends. Don't misunderstand me. I loved my dad. I still do. However, there was always a tug of war between us. Maybe, it is the fact that we were such strong personalities.
I read this morning that we are the keeper of the keys to our inner world as surely as we hold a set of keys to our house.
Our wedding
with our god daughter, Emily
I took responsibility for my life then as I do now.
Looking back, I am thankful for that conflict that propelled me forward. If I had come from a more nurturing background, I'm not so sure that I would have stayed in New York. My dad never supported my art and/or my dreams.

Thank God, I have learned now to surround myself with people who do. I remember the night before I left South Carolina to move to New York.My father asked me what made me think that I could survive in New York. Without hesitation, I said, "You! If I can live through what I have lived through the past eighteen years, I can live through anything."
Looking back, I KNOW I was running away. Life lessons have taught me that success is a choice. I have no regrets of my childhood in South Carolina.

Jane Fonda, who had a difficult relationship with her father, says there needs to be a statute of limitations on how long anyone holds on the anger of the past.
I have no anger. When I first came to New York, I used to cry myself to sleep every night, but I was determined that I was not going to fail.
The first ten years were especially tough. My living circumstances when I arrived in New York were definitely not what I expected.
In a previous blog I wrote about David Johnson, my first room mate in New York, and his offering me a place to stay and a job before I even got here.
From the moment we solidified that on my 18th birthday, I kept in touch with David via monthly phone calls and letter to let him know how serious I was.
I also thought that he was forthcoming and honest with me.
The day finally arrived, August 5th, 1979. I was packed and ready to go. I had an early afternoon flight, my first! We had very close friends and neighbors next door, Mike and Marian Cocchiaro.
When we first moved into our home in 1968, the house next door was occupied by Miss Marian's Uncle Floyd. I have vague memories of him.
When he passed on, Miss Marian purchased the house. Because of our close proximity to Myrtle Beach, it was a perfect summer retreat for her and her family.
 She would arrive anytime after Memorial Day and stay through Labor Day. Throughout the summer, her husband Mike, who was a cab driver in Washington DC (they were from  Bladensburg, MD) and the kids and grand kids would arrive.
 I would anxiously await Miss Marian's arrival every year. She never treated me like a child. I was able to discuss my aspirations and dreams with her. The only thing she said to me was have something to fall back on just in case it didn't work out. She and I would listen to the latest cast albums and recordings on 8 track tape as we discussed Broadway and Hollywood and played Yahtzee for hours!
She introduced me to A Chorus Line and the film version of Cabaret.
I can honestly say she made my teen years, especially in the summer, bearable.
The day that I left South Carolina, Mr. Mike and Miss Marian met us at the airport to see me off. Before going to the airport, my parents, my sister, and my brothers all went and had breakfast at the Holland House of Pancakes.
Mr. Mike and Miss Marian didn't join us for breakfast because they felt that time should just be family.
After breakfast, we headed over to the Myrtle Beach JetPort which was part of the Air Force Base. The airport was served by Piedmont Airlines, later acquired by USAir.
Mr. Mike and Miss Marion were there waiting for us in this pre 9/11 days of air travel. We all sat inside with me petrified of what lied ahead.
My mom and my baby brother were crying. He was eight. All I basically remember is the announcement of "Last call for Flight 86 for New York" and I was off and running. I was practically in New York before the plane got there. I'm STILL here, Dad!
I thank you every day for giving me LIFE and the life I have.

Thank you ALL mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!

 With grateful XOXOXs ,

Check out my site celebrating the FIRST Fifty years of  Hello, Dolly!

I desire this to be a definitive account of Hello, Dolly!  If any of you reading this have appeared in any production of Dolly, I'm interested in speaking with you!

If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!                

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
Richard Skipper Celebrates


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