Sunday, July 14, 2019

Look for the Good (Surviving Kearney Flood 2019)

We should always look for the good in everything.
Chloe, age 9

Sometimes the best advice comes from the least expected source.  I discovered that last week during one of the most bizarre adventures I have ever experienced.  What began as a highly-anticipated Nebraska road trip to visit family ended up being a Mother Nature freak show.


a hotel across the street

The drive across Nebraska was a bit shaky in the first place with heavy rains, torrential at times, ushering us into Kearney.  It seemed to have all passed, though, when we checked into Hampton Inn Kearney.  My sister Peg and niece Micki and her family soon joined us, and we enjoyed a fun evening watching the kids swim in the hotel pool and eating pizza and playing board games in the lobby.  It started raining again, but we all just thought it was a typical summer storm.  If only we could have seen the rains as the omens they were.  Instead, we, and the entire city of Kearney, ignored the flood warning alert that blasted on our cell phones.  We went on with our visit, drinking a little wine or tea and enjoying the silliness of the kids. Micki and Tyler decided they would drive home to Elm Creek, twenty miles away (they made it home safely with no sign of a flood).  Peg stayed with us at the hotel.  We watched a little news (no mention of anything weather related) and called it a night.

The storm returned with a vengeance during the night.  The lightening and thunder were scary--I had trouble sleeping.  I almost called the front desk to see if there were any warnings, but I figured a siren would go off.  I had no idea how hard it was raining out there. Who would have guessed when the morning dawned with blue skies and sunshine.

With the sun shining brightly, Peg left for work the next morning at 7:00.  Mom and I planned to have a leisurely morning before heading to Elm Creek for the day.  We turned on the news and heard there had been some flooding in Kearney, particularly by the high school.  I texted Peg to see if she encountered any on her way to work. She didn't.  Micki also didn't see any signs of flooding in the Elm Creek area.  So we took our time, enjoying coffee and breakfast and the newspaper.  I looked out the window before we headed out, and to my complete shock and horror saw this.



And then five minutes later--



Girl, you ain't seen nothing yet--a few minutes later--


complete with a little sass to my mom (sorry!) and an s word


Yikes!

We decided we better kick it in gear.  Peg texted and said she would meet us at the hotel and help us. It took ten minutes to gather what we needed.  Leaving the rest on the beds or chairs (just in case), we headed toward the lobby and the exit to my car.  That is as far as we got.  Hotel staff stopped us and told us to stay in the lobby--no one was allowed to leave or enter.  Peg texted saying she couldn't get to us, the streets were flooded.

And then





At this point I thought maybe I should ask about getting our room changed to a second floor, just in case.  I asked the desk agent if that could happen.  She politely said she would check later, but at that moment she had been instructed to have everyone move to the second floor hallway.  I looked to the main entrance and understood why!



As we headed up to what would be our home for the next few hours, not one of us thought about evacuation.  We all (about one hundred) thought we were riding the storm out on higher, drier grounds.  We were all joking and trading names and backgrounds and just waiting for the all clear.  Instead, we soon were informed that the police were on the way to begin the evacuation process.  My heart sank as I'm sure did all those other hearts around me.  

Hotel management arrived with water and clear, calm instructions.  They told us exactly what would happen.  Members from the police and fire departments, state patrol, City of Kearney, and the Red Cross would arrive and assist us to buses waiting as close as possible to the exit.  There would be a small area of knee-high water before the bus, but crews would be there to assist.  There were five or six other hotels that would go before us.  And so the wait began.

At my end of the hallway, we formed a close little group as we chatted about our homes and families.  Everyone was so helpful, making sure Mom had a chair and water.  I was a little unnerved--I worried about Mom and stressed about my car.  When we left the lobby, I could see that there was some water around it.  I knew the water was still rising, and I had no idea how much had accumulated by that time.  Margie, a new friend, was worried about her car as well and offered to go to a window and take a picture of the parking lot.  This is what we saw--


I couldn't really tell if the water was up to the doors.  I felt a little better knowing at least it wasn't completely covered.  A little.

In addition to Margie and her husband Dan, we bonded with Ann who was supposed to catch a flight to Denver at 4, Bill and Deb from Wyoming, Travis and Jill from Wisconsin.  And Chloe.  Sweet, beautiful Chloe.  We all fell in love with nine-year-old Chloe from Denver.  She entertained us with jokes and stories and dreams and wishes.  She gravitated from not a care in the world to being almost in tears, worried that she would get separated from her parents.  We did our best to assure her that would never happen.  Just when I was close to tears myself, Chloe proclaimed that "we all should find the good in everything."  Her words quickly became my mantra for the rest of the trip. I wanted to take her with me.  We all need a Chloe in our lives! (I'm so sad I didn't get a picture of her--my mind was in survival mode, not selfie mode.)

I began to stress a bit about how I would get down to the ground level.  I can't do two stairs let alone a flight of stairs.  I didn't once think I would be left on my own, but nevertheless, not knowing was worrying me.  At about that time, things began to happen fast. A police officer appeared and had everyone line up as he explained the evacuation process.  He came over to me and calmly and kindly walked me through the plan to help me and two others in wheelchairs.  They would carry me down to either an airboat or a loader (oh dear Lord!) and someone would be with me all the way.  I did tear up then--the reality hit me.  I grabbed Mom's hand and said we couldn't be separated (there's a little bit of Chloe in me!).  We weren't.

It was go time.  After those who didn't need assistance were down, firemen came for Mom and me.  Before I even had time to think, one had swooped me up, and we were headed down.  Mom was right behind, escorted by another fireman.

My relief at reaching ground level was quickly replaced with horror.  We were in about two feet of gross water.  We had to make it about fifteen feet to the loader (I so wanted the airboat!) I had no idea what a loader was.  Although not ours, the picture below is almost identical to our chariot.


Two firemen assisted Mom, holding each of her arms, as they helped her in.  My hero firemen carried me all the way and rode with us as we headed three or four blocks for dry land.  

Rescued
   
Thanking our hero firemen profusely, we boarded buses bound for the Salvation Army.  Waiting for us, along with hundreds of others, was Peg.  I have never been so happy to see her!



THE AFTERMATH

What seemed like an eternity in reality was just a few unbelievable hours.  It all felt like a dream.  I kept asking "Did this really just happen?"  We headed for Micki's in Elm Creek at about 1:00--a mere 3.5 hours after it all began.  

Determined not to let Mother Nature ruin this trip, we did what what we would have done had there been nothing but blue skies the entire time.  I played with Quinn and her dolls and kitten, played Sequence with Ethan and Drake (and lost), lounged on the patio, watched the kids jump on the tramp, made s'mores, watched the kids chase fireflies--exactly what we came for.  

At one point Tyler asked me, "How much better would you sleep tonight if you knew your car was okay?"  Because of course that was in the back of my mind the whole time.  I just didn't know.  I saw it briefly out of the corner of my eye when we got on the loader--water was definitely up to the door.  Following updates on Twitter and the local news, we learned that the water was still rising throughout the day.  I had no way of knowing what was going on with my car.

The next day brought more sunshine and blue skies.  I felt confident that the water surely receded during the night, and we would be able to get to my car and assess the damage.  I was not confident that my car was okay, however.  The news footage that morning showed many cars in the surrounding lots almost completely submerged.  


Micki and Tyler offered to drive to Kearney and check out the scene.  A half hour later I got a text from Micki with this:


And this

For perspective, Tyler is 6' 3"

And dear Lord, this



They couldn't get to my car.  My heart plunged.  It just didn't look good.  How would we get home--we had already heard there were no rental cars available in the area.  Would my insurance cover flood damage? Where do I even start??  Such silly worries.  I heard sweet Chloe's words.  Look for the good.  Sheesh--I was surrounded by family.  I'm retired and didn't have to get back to work.  We were safe.  Why worry??

I thought Micki and Tyler would be heading back to Elm Creek.  Instead I got a text from Micki.  Tyler's friend had a truck and gave them a ride through the high water to the Hampton Inn parking lot.

I waited, holding my breath, for the follow up.  And . . .


My car!  On dry land!  And it started right up, water pouring out of the tailpipes.  I felt relief permeate my entire being--I could finally breathe.  The floors were soaked but there didn't seem to be any water on the seats. Micki said it smelled really bad, but I could live with that. They, of course, couldn't get it out of the flooded area, but at least we now knew what we were dealing with.

I had a much more relaxed day with the kids knowing that my car was not a total wreck.  I watched them swim and do flips off the board at Elm Creek's pool, colored and did word searches, and even took a nap.  My brother Mark came through and we visited with him. I thought surely the water would recede by that evening, and we could be on our way the next day.  

But with no updates all day about the water levels or street openings, we were in limbo.  Mark was heading back home to Lincoln in the evening and decided to try to get to the hotel on his way.  Peg went with him in case she needed to drive my car back.  No such luck--the water had not receded and the streets were still impassable for normal traffic.  

But wait--ten minutes later I got a FaceTime call from Mark.  They were by my car!  City workers were on hand to take people into the hotel area (using that wonderful loader!) Management was available at the hotels to let guests in to retrieve left behind belongings.  While Mark checked out my car, Peg went into the Hampton Inn and got the rest of our stuff.  That was one less thing to worry about.  Mark drove the car around the dry parking lot and told me it sputtered a bit but otherwise ran great.  He also mentioned the smell.  Yuck.

Mark on the loader

Peg ready for a ride
They left the car, with windows cracked to air it out, and we all felt certain that we would be able to drive it out the next day.  Surely the water would recede by the morning . . .

Day three brought the news that the hotel streets were still flooded and closed.  I just couldn't believe it.  How could there be so much water when it had been nothing but sunshine for three days?  It turned out that the area by the interstate where the hotels are is lower than most of Kearney and provided a perfect path for the overflowing Turkey Creek to drain.  Just dandy.

A thought occurred to me that morning.  While Mark and I were FaceTiming the night before, I noticed a tow truck preparing to tow the car next to mine.  Why don't I have my car towed out to the dry streets?  I have AAA with coverage for towing, and it looked like a big tow truck could get in and out of the area.  I called them to see if it was possible.  And it was--they would be there in 30 minutes!  Why hadn't I thought of that before??  Micki had to quickly get to Kearney with the keys, and then we were in business.  We had them tow it all the way to Elm Creek since that was covered in my plan.

This sight made me cry.  Happy cry--

My baby!
After a quick stop at Kelly's Sales and Service in Elm Creek for a checkup (Kelly gave us a big thumb's up, seeing no signs of water in the oil, air filter, or engine), we headed home, smelly car and all.  A thorough detail the next day removed any sign that it had been in a flood.
all better

Not once, during the entire three-day ordeal, did Mom or I feel like we weren't being taken care.  During the actual flood, we were never scared that we weren't going to make it.  We never felt abandoned or uncared for.  Everything seemed under control and organized, and for that we are so grateful.  Specifically, thank God for

Kearney Fire Department
Kearney Police Department
The City of Kearney
Nebraska State Patrol
Nebraska Red Cross
Kearney Salvation Army
The Hampton Inn Kearney Staff
Kearney Towing
Kelly's Sales and Service

With cool heads and warm hearts, these heroes selflessly ensured that my mom and me, and the 1000+ other evacuees, were safely reunited with our loved ones.

And for our fellow guests at The Hampton Inn Kearney.  For two hours or so, these complete strangers put forth their most compassionate and trusting hearts and became friends.

For my family

Peg, for braving the flood, waiting forever at the Salvation Army, going to Target to get us essentials, taking time off work to help, and just being you.
Micki and Tyler, for discovering my car on dry land, putting up with us for longer than planned, feeding us, supporting us, and for Ethan, Drake, and Quinn whose love and laughter got us through.
Mark, for coming through Elm Creek and trudging through flood waters to check everything out
Joy, Kyle, Jake, Rog, and Kerri for keeping it positive through texts and FaceTimes
The Schultz/Alldredge crew for checking in, even from Macedonia, halfway around the world, where Max wanted to see the flood

And for Chloe.  Your little nine-year-old heart and wise words touched everyone in our little bonded community.  You will never know the lasting effect you will have on so many adults, but I know I will never forget you.  Yes, Chloe, I will look for the good in everything, even the Kearney Flood of 2019.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

YAY! Kindergarten Teachers!


If it's not already out there somewhere, there really should be one of those YAY! magnets for kindergarten teachers.  You know the magnets I'm talking about--I have several:



I am in awe of kindergarten teachers.  I've aways thought they were amazing, but I came to see them as extraordinary when my first great nephew Ethan started school three years ago (read the story here).  Mrs. Aten, his teacher, provided him and his classmates a classroom filled with books, learning opportunities, comfort, safety, and so much love.

This year, three more Royal Babies stepped into the world of kindergarten.  Drake, Max, and Madi couldn't wait for that first day of school--they arrived with backpacks, curious minds, and big hearts.  While all three were in different classrooms with different teachers, the growth achieved by all has been nothing short of miraculous.  



Nebraska Kindergarten
Drake has the same teacher that Ethan had.  Mrs. Aten's kindergarten classroom buzzes  with activity as five and six year olds count and say the alphabet and write letters and stories and sing songs and read.  Yes, READ!  A few months ago I helped Drake with his sight words for that week.  At that time, he recognized quite a few words but wasn't reading books.  Low and behold, being in the hands of Mrs. Aten for six months, Drake can read.  An entire book!  I truly believe she has super powers.  How does one even begin to teach someone to read??  I ask this as a retired English teacher!   I am in awe, Mrs. Aten.
(press play!)

Can I please be at Table 3???
A complete sentence, with correct capitalization and punctuation.



Colorado Kindergarten
Madi's teacher, Mrs. Smith, is amazing.  She has nurtured and guided Madi this year, allowing her natural personality to shine.  Mrs. Smith uses an online portfolio where students showcase their growth.  Here is Madi discussing her love of numbers.



And here is Madi reading.  READING!

click for Madi reading


And if that's not enough, Madi has gone from writing her name to writing letters of the alphabet to writing words and now to writing complete sentences and stories.  
I went to Macedonia. I went to Greece. I went swimming. I felt happy!
Mrs. Smith has known Madi for six months.  She encourages Madi to be confident, to be a helper, and to be a leader, and Madi's light shines brighter than ever.  I am in awe, Mrs. Smith.  You are a superhero!

Max's teacher, Mrs. Levett, does it all.  Under her guidance, Max not only counts past 100 and recognizes a variety of site words, but he, too, READS!  How is this possible??  And to top that off, Mrs. Levett has brought the Picasso out of Max.  He loves to draw and create, and his work is nothing short of stunning.  His colorful drawings are truly works of art, and his multi-dimensional projects show his advanced spatial development.  Mrs. Levett, I want your super powers--I am in awe!

a summer moth, complete with antennae
this flower is pure magic
bulletin board worthy!
(press play!)

Mission accomplished

When asked what makes a superhero, the late great Stan Lee said 


A superhero is a person who does heroic deeds and has the ability to do them in a way that a normal person couldn't.  So in order to be a superhero, you need a power that is more exceptional than any power a normal human being could possess, and you need to use that power  to accomplish good deeds.

Mr. Stan Lee, I present to you Mrs. Aten, Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Levett, and every kindergarten teacher out there.  Heroic deeds?  Exceptional powers?  Good deeds?  Check, check, and check.  Their heroic and exceptional powers give five and six year olds the ability to uncover their very own super powers by teaching them to count and add and draw and write and think and reason and dream.  And READ!

Thank you, Mrs. Aten, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Levett, Mrs. Smaha (my kindergarten teacher!), and all the superheroes who love, nurture, guide, encourage, and, yes, teach our kids.








Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Super Bowl LIII Prediction

(a little project I made 😁)


Can you tell which team I'm cheering for? Sorry, Rex, but I just can't with Brady.

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 and Those Hidden Messages

I'm taking time during this lull between Christmas and New Years to reflect on my first full year as a retired English teacher.  I promised myself that I would take a year before I even thought about what life after lesson planning and essay grading would look like for me.  I wanted/needed to just have some time to breathe.  And that's exactly what I've done.  Some pretty clear themes emerged over this past year (and a half 😊) that give me a glimpse into where my heart gravitates and perhaps are messages just waiting for me to hear.  I noticed them as I put together my Christmas letter and summarized my year in the shape of a Christmas tree.




or as Instagram would put it






Here are the themes that popped out at me.


Wanderlust

I love to travel!  I always have.  Whether road trips back to Nebraska or leaving on a jet plane to Minnesota or big cities or warm beaches, just say the word, and I'm gone.  This year my travels took me to Nebraska twice--to celebrate birthdays, to see Jackson Browne, and most importantly to be with family.  I also got to go to Christmas Lake twice, too--to spend Easter with my family and back again to celebrate Mom's 90th birthday.  2018 also brought me my first ever trip to New York City--to see Springsteen on Broadway and to explore Manhattan.  I've had the Big Apple on my bucket list for a very long time, and how fun it was to check this one off.  And oh how wonderful it was to return to San Diego.  My sister Kerri and nephew Gabe were the best traveling buddies for Mom and me as we continued Mom's 90th birthday celebration at the Pacific Terrace Hotel on Pacific Beach.  We stayed there five years ago, and we were delighted to find that the hotel is as fabulous as it was back then, and many of our favorite restaurants are still there.  My wanderlust definitely was satisfied this year.


Travels near and far

Royal Babies 

I don't know where I would be without our Royal Babies--all ten of them!  Being an aunt, and now a great aunt, has been my greatest joy in life, and now that I'm retired, I get to experience so many of their events and celebrations.  This year, two more sweet babies joined our family--Nora Marie (Nate and Lindsey) in June and Atlas Thompson (Amy and Austin) in October.  I met Nora when we were in Minnesota in August, and I fell immediately under her spell.  She is a little doll!  Since Atlas was born right here in the Denver area, I got to meet him when he was 36 hours old.  I didn't want to stop holding him then, and i still can't get enough of him.  They join Ethan, now 8 and a big, happy 3rd grader.  Three of The Royals started kindergarten this year--Drake, Max, and Madi.  These 5 year olds love being in school and are learning so much.  Lucy Mae is 4 and loves dresses , Barbies, and singing.  Quinn, 3, is our animal lover and Little Miss Smiley Face.  Archer is 3 and in pre-school and loves being Atlas's big brother.  And finally Russell turned 2 in November and has everyone under his thumb, especially his grandparents Kerri and Marty and his three uncles.  How grateful I am to be their great aunt.


The Royals

Family

Always the clearest theme in my life is this big, beautiful Thompson family of mine.  I am happiest in the midst of them, especially when all 35 of us are together.  That happened this summer as we all gathered to celebrate our Mom/Grams for her 90th birthday.  We spent the Christmas Lake weekend boating and swimming and tubing and eating and laughing and celebrating Mom, and despite the unique personalities, that Thompson blood runs strong through all 35 of us and binds us together, forever.  And speaking of my Mom, at 90 years and 4 months, she is vibrant, smart as a tack, happy and as loving as ever.  We are all so grateful to have her in our lives.


The Thompsons

The Writer in Me

Although not an obvious theme, I do continue to enjoy writing.  I wrote blog posts for most of the major happenings in 2018.  If you're interested, you can click on any of the red words, and you will be directed to a post on that subject.  I also branched out a bit and wrote a few articles for Cavalier Rescue USA, a non-profit rescue group for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.  Several of these articles took me out of my comfort zone, but I learned so much while researching and writing.  I adore this group--it helps me fill a hole in my heart.

Which brings me to the elephant in the blog post.  2018 had barely started when I lost my Sweet Juliet.  I was so unprepared for the sorrow her death brought--my heart was broken, and the sorrow shadowed most of my year.  I felt it most in the fall.  Jewel and I loved our walks around our neighborhood, and we especially loved crunching through fall leaves and stopping to enjoy the colors and smells of autumn.  I couldn't bring myself to take walks without her, but I made myself go in the fall.  I needed to see the beauty again, and so off I went, searching for color.  But it just wasn't there.  I thought maybe I went too early, and so I made myself go a few weeks later, but the leaves were already dropping, leaving trees almost bare.  Even my favorite spots lacked the reds and golds I love so much.  This fall was disappointing, to say the least.  Maybe it had something to do with the weather we had, or maybe my timing was off, or maybe it was that shadow dulling my view.  Whatever it was, I truly hope next fall is better.

Shadows aren't ever permanent, and it took a baby to shine a light through this one.  Our little Atlas entered this world in the most miraculous way, a story for his mom and dad to share, but his strength and will ushered him in on his terms.  When I held him for the first time, 36 hours after his birth, I felt the light shine all the way through my heart.  That feeling of emptiness was gone, and I finally felt a true sense of happiness.  I'll always miss my girl, but I smile and have a warm feeling now when I think of her.


A baby changes everything
I'm smiling now as I get ready to bid adieu to 2018, thinking about Jewel and Royal Babies and family and hidden messages just waiting to be discovered.  I'm watching the ball getting ready to drop in Times Square (hey--I was there!).  


My champagne glass and heart are full as I toast to Jewel and see her tail wagging, her big brown eyes shining, and hear her softly snoring.


And here's to our Royal Babies and all the big, beautiful Thompson family as I carry your laughter and love with me into 2019.



And here's to travels near and far as I dream of home and beaches and sunshine.



And here's to retirement as I piece together themes and messages and look forward to discovering a new direction.



And to you, my friends, as I reflect on the joy of kindred spirits and soul sisters.




Wishing you all a new year full of love and happiness--Happy 2019!



Ringing in 2019 with books and bubbles

Sunday, October 28, 2018

In Hard Times, Put on Your Dancing Shoes--Bruce on Broadway


I somehow did it again.  I lucked into impossible-to-get tickets to see Bruce Springsteen, up close and personal.  (See HERE where I actually got to meet him!!)  After months and months of trying, I finally got tickets to Springsteen on Broadway at the small and intimate Walter Kerr Theatre in NYC.  If you're not sure just what Springsteen on Broadway is all about, one thing to know is that it is NOT a concert.  It's a one-man Broadway show consisting of Bruce, his guitar, and a piano on a bare stage where he shares stories from his memoir Born to Run interspersed with his music from whatever time period the story is in. It is a chance in a lifetime to see Bruce in a personal and emotional setting.  Of course I had to go!




I got my tickets in early April for a mid August show, and waiting for the day to finally arrive was almost as hard as getting the tickets in the first place.  And since I could only get two tickets, deciding who the lucky one to accompany me was equally challenging.  In the end, it worked out for my sister Peg to go.  Neither one of us had ever been to NYC, but we were both over-the-moon excited to go.  (You can read all about our 48 hours in The Big Apple here.)


Is this real???
So much has been written about Springsteen on Broadway.  You can find reviews and critiques in every major magazine and newspaper, from Forbes and The New Yorker all the way to the LA Times and The Economist.  Each writer offers a personal look into the 2.5 hour performance, often with a play-by-play account.  I won't do that here, but I highly recommend reading one like this review in Rolling Stone.

What I will do is highlight my top three moments from Springsteen on Broadway.  The entire show was mesmerizing, of course, from the moment Bruce took center stage, alone on that almost bare stage.  But these three scenes touched my soul to the core and moved me to tears like none of the others. Don't get me wrong--I had tears throughout the entire performance--just not the streaming-down-my-cheeks-about-to-sob-outloud kind.

Note:  I took notes during the show.  I know--really??  But I wanted to remember EVERYTHING!  I didn't let the note taking interfere with my complete focus on the performance, and my notes were a complete mess as a result.  I kept my eyes on the stage as I wrote, the theatre was dark with the house lights off, and I only had a black sharpie to write with.  But I was able to translate every word the next day!!!

Here, then, in chronological order, are the moments that touched my heart and broke me the most at
Springsteen on Broadway


The Big Man Joins the Band
"Tenth Avenue Freeze Out"


Messy notes and translated notes :)

About an hour into the show, after talking about growing up in New Jersey and failure and small successes in the Jersey band scene, Bruce talked about what makes a true band.  He talked a bit about the E Street Band with a big focus on Clarence.  He said  “I still carry the story the Big Man whispered in my ear and the Big Man in my heart every night when I walk onstage,” he said. “Clarence was elemental, a force of nature in my life.”  Although not my first tears of the night, this moment almost had me sobbing.  Throughout this scene, Bruce played segments of my first favorite Springsteen song, "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out"--on the piano!  It was beautiful.

Bruce's Mom
"The Wish"


The theme of relationships runs throughout Springsteen on Broadway.  Bruce shared with us many of his own, beginning with the often-times dark father-son relationship between him and his dad.  He ended that heavy scene with "I'll take you off suicide watch now" as he segued into the much brighter story of his mom, Adele Springsteen. It is his mom who provided the light during his growing up years.  She loved music, and she loved to dance, a theme that occurred  several times throughout the show.  Bruce's genuine love and adoration of his mom came through loud and clear as he shared personal stories about their relationship.  At one point he recalled her "looking down on me like the gaze of Mary," one of several references to his Catholic upbringing.  He ended this scene with "The Wish," a song he wrote for her some time back, and one that is now one of my favorite Bruce songs.

The Lord's Prayer
"Born to Run"
His Mom Again
"Dancing in the Dark"



The last two scenes of Springsteen on Broadway melded together and brought everything full circle.  After a somewhat heavy scene about the state of our political world (and without mentioning anyone or thing specifically) Bruce returned to the power of music, especially relating to his mom.  He revealed to us that she is in her 7th year of Alzheimers, at which point I swear I gasped out loud.  Whenever she's at their home, they always have music playing.  "In hard times, put on your dancing shoes," he said and then played "Dancing in the Dark."  On the piano.  Amazing.

I felt the show was nearing the end when a tree that Bruce had talked about in the beginning reappeared in the next monologue.  He talked about going back to his childhood neighborhood only to find the tree was gone.  He said, "My heart sank like a rock.  Part of me was gone, too."  He saw the Catholic church still standing majestically, though, and he became quite spiritual.  "The Catholic Church," he continued.  "Once they have you, they have you."  I totally got that, as I sat there with my Rosary bracelet on my wrist!  He began saying "The Lord's Prayer," and I found myself saying the words right along with him, making the sign of the cross when I finished.  "May God bless you and your loved ones," Bruce sincerely said and then ended that scene, and the entire show, with  "Born to Run," a perfect rocking guitar version.



Push play to see how close we were!

After the show, Peg and I had a hard time coming up with words to describe our experience.  It was almost too personal to talk about.  Even now, two months later, I struggle with words, but one thing is for sure.  I am so honored to have Bruce share his memories with me in such an intimate way.  I am forever changed.


Forever changed