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Growing up with a Chicago Police Sergeant for a dad was the most normal thing in the world for me. In my South Side neighborhood, it seemed everyone’s dad was either Police, Fire, or Streets and San. As kids, we all understood the need to keep quiet in the house because Dad was sleeping, whether it was our own dad or our friend’s down the block. Oh sure, there were kids I knew whose fathers had other jobs. Business kind of jobs. Insurance or something. I never really knew what they did, but they wore dressy kind of clothes. Not uniforms.
But no one’s dad had a better detail with the CPD than mine. He was in the Task Force, later named Special Operations. And for my siblings and me, it was our way of life. My dad worked all the ball games and special events in Chicago – the White Sox (yeah, that’s right – I listed the Sox first because we were South Siders through and through and in MY blog, they get listed before the Cubs), Bulls, Blackhawks, Fire (that was soccer, for anyone who cares) and, yes, the Cubs, along with the Barnum & Bailey Circus, Ice Capades, and all manner of concerts, theater and parades.
Oh, and riots too. The scary kind. He was injured working the 1968 Democratic Convention. I remember seeing my mom crying as she watched the news coverage that night. I was just a little kid back then, but I still remember that.
Without question, the best part of my dad’s job was going to all the ball games he worked, often when my mom was at work so he was kind of babysitting. And he was a great babysitter. He’d bring my brother Paul and me into the stadium and sit us down in random seats. As people arrived with tickets for said seats, we’d just bop around the park and find somewhere else to sit. We knew if we needed our dad for anything, we could just approach any police officer and ask for him. But that rarely, if ever happened, mainly because most of my older siblings also worked at the games. My brothers John, Dan, and Tom were vendors at the games and my sister, Mary Beth, worked at Cubs Park (Cubs Park, never Wrigley Field. Sorry, Purists) in the disgusting bowels of the park known as the Coke room (which had about a 2 inch layer of sticky Coke on the floor) and the Beef room (which was about a billion degrees). As far as I know, my oldest brother, Kevin, managed to escape those coveted jobs. But I could be wrong… I just know that Paul and I were the beneficiaries of everyone else’s hard work.
One of the coolest things, though, was after the games, my dad would bring us to the door where the players would exit the park so we could get autographs and pictures with them. And they were always happy to do that. Well except for one time when my sister called out “Hey Peppy” to Joe Pepitone and he did not like that. We’ll just leave it at that. Maybe he’d had a bad game… It was a different era, that’s for sure. Professional athletes back then were approachable and happy to put a smile on a kid’s face.
I can also remember cold winter nights my poor mom would get a call to bring the kids to the Chicago Ampitheater so we could see the circus. She’d have instructions to meet him at such and such intersection to make the drop. On one occasion, we were parked at the predetermined corner only to find my dad involved in a “scuffle” with some thugs. My mom was like, “Are you kidding me?” but we thought it was pretty cool.
My parents are no longer with us but, man I’ve got great memories. What sparked this post was the announcement of the passing of Chicago Blackhawks great, Stan Mikita. Pictured at the top is my brother, Paul, circa mid-late 1970’s with the legend at an annual Blackhawk dinner that my dad treated the boys to. Yeah, life was pretty sweet for the kids of a Chicago Copper. Never a cop. Always a copper.
How can you tune in to my Where Are My Glasses Podcast?? I’m so glad you asked 🤗 It’s SUPER easy!! Just tap on the Podcast App on your smart phone & type in the Search Bar: “Where are my glasses” and BOOM, you’re there! Now just sit back and enjoy your status as a cool podcast listener 😎 http://www.wherearemyglassespodcast.com/?p=443
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. -Eleanor Roosevelt
There are those who scoff at the notion of “having a dream;” at the idea of following your passion. They say it is a foolish waste of time. They are the ones who follow the safe path. And I am very sorry for those people; because a life worth living is so much more than taking the cautious route and steering clear of daring choices. It is challenging yourself to try new things and when people smirk and ask, “What makes you think you can do these things?” you simply answer, “What makes you think I can’t?”
My son, Brian, has had a dream since he was a kid to become a filmmaker. He made movies on a $25 Digital Blue video camera we bought him for Christmas one year. He and his younger brother, Peter, and their friend, Alex, would post signs around the neighborhood announcing casting auditions for their upcoming projects. These signs also promised concessions which Alex’s mother learned while driving down the street one day, catching sight of one of the signs. We laughed when she informed me about the concessions and wondered if they were just planning on raiding our pantries for half-empty boxes of stale crackers and a few rogue pieces of old Easter candy hidden behind cans of tomato sauce. There was never a real need to worry, though, because no one ever showed up for their auditions. Ever. That didn’t deter them, though. The boys just ended up playing several parts. Or twins – that option was always on the table. And I believe that someday, those kids from long ago who laughed at ours for thinking they could be anything special will regret not having been a part of those early dreams.
Brian did pursue his dream. He is a filmmaker. And an award-winning one at that. He is now in the process of shooting his thesis film for his MFA degree and this short film will blow you away. It is a story of perseverance. It is a story of overcoming adversity. And it is a story of choosing to see the beauty in our world when only darkness surrounds you. It is the story of a young music prodigy who must come to terms with a devastating loss suffered following a brutal assault. It is a story of the power of the human spirit to rise and conquer.
I am immensely proud of him and his beautiful talent. His short film, Making Beethoven Proud, is making this mama very proud. 😌
A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work. -Colin Powell
I’ve heard this question or some variation of it more times than I can count on my fingers (and toes). And every time I hear it, I just think of Benjamin trying to answer questions about his future. Because when someone asks me a question like that, they’re not just curious – they want an explanation, dammit! Explain yourself! And the truth is that I can’t really explain it. My goals in life aren’t confined to a paycheck. A few weeks ago, an older fella (and by older, I mean forty-something) was asking me about my major. And, word for word, this is what he said:
“Well yeah I know you’re studying music, but, are you actually gonna DO something? I mean, you can’t make a living by playing music.”
In his mind, playing music isn’t actually doing something. It’s not a contribution to society. And he’s not alone. There are a whole lot of people who think the same thing. If I don’t have a business model or some smarty-pants math equation to back it up, I might as well just be a bum. I shook it off because I’ve heard that reaction countless times, but it actually is pretty insulting to me. You wanna know what I’m gonna do with my degree? Here, I’ll tell you:
I’m going to be happy for the rest of my life.
Music isn’t just something that I’m interested in. It’s not just something that I’m really good at. It’s not just something that makes me happy. It’s not even just something that I care deeply about. Simply put, music is a calling. Believe me, there have been times when I wanted to do anything but music. There have been times when I’ve flubbed rehearsals or auditions. My audition at Indiana University was a colossal flub. If music was something I was only interested in, I would’ve quit back in high school. I’ve never been able to get away from music because I’ve always been called back. Music is a calling.
I was in the Hawkeye Marching Band my sophomore year. The Hawkeye Drumline (HDL is what the cool people call it) does a 10-15 minute show of its own before the game. One time after an HDL show, some lady who was probably like 105 years old came up to me and said, “I just love watching the drums. It makes me so happy!” And that’s why this all makes sense to me.
I don’t just play music for myself. As much as I truly enjoy playing for myself, that’s not what I’ve been called to do. I play music because it makes people happy. I do what I do because this world would be a sad, sad place without music. I play music because my parents told me that I have a gift I can share. I play music because I would be tremendously miserable doing anything else. As Paul Simon puts it, “Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die.” I love music with all my heart and soul. So the next time someone sarcastically asks me, “What are you gonna do with THAT degree?” I’ll just say, “I’m gonna be happy for the rest of my life.”
Are you into podcasts?? Check out my latest episode of Where Are My Glasses Podcast – it’s kind of an extension of my Box Wine Budget blog. I’m having a blast hosting this show and finding fun things to rant about. It’s so easy to listen to – the episodes are short and independent of each other so you can scroll through and choose an episode topic. Simply click on the link below to listen on the website or tap on the Podcast App on your smartphone, type in Where Are My Glasses in the search bar and listen from your phone! It just don’t get no easier n dat 😉
On today’s episode, Marilyn is joined by her daughter, Mary Kate, and they talk about the show “My Strange Addiction.” You won’t believe the crazy things some people are addicted to. It’s some wild stuff…eating rocks, snorting baby powder, and a woman in love with a rollercoaster. This is honestly one of our best episodes. Be sure to rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes. Don’t forget to tell your friends!!!
It’s Back To School Time and you know what that means… Tons of tears, globs of used tissues tightly clenched in palms and lots and lots of legs dragging unwilling bodies from their cars. Yes, the wailing and gnashing of teeth can be heard across the globe as this universal scene plays out every year. You know what I’m talking about: parents sending their precious babies off to college.
Which brings me to this question…are you “that mom” who is already weepy thinking about the day your world will come crashing down when your toddler moves into his dorm room? Or are you a NORMAL person??? As the mother of four amazing, gifted, sensitive, brilliant, tall, and attractive offspring, all of whom had the audacity to continue their schooling in institutions of higher education, I say…OMG GET OVER IT PEOPLE!!!! This is a NORMAL part of life; a rite of passage which calls for dancing in the streets, not sappy stories about how you cried for five straight hours in the car on the way home. It means you did your job and now you can have a little bit of a life.
In case you’re not sure where I stand on this topic (or even if you might have an inkling), check out my short podcast episode. Seriously, it’s only, like, 15 minutes long or something. You can do it. I believe in you. Just click on the link below or click on the Podcast App on your smart phone, type in “Where Are My Glasses” in the search bar and BOOM! You’re there. Oh and don’t forget to subscribe. I will love you forever. And, no that’s not a weird thing to say.
PS: Confession: my kids are pretty cool, but I might have exaggerated a little – they’re not all tall…