Tales of Rock – The Cool Parents’ Guide to Rock Music for Kids

If there’s one universal truth to parenting, it’s that whatever songs your kid listens to will end up on repeat in your head at 3 a.m. Most of the time we’re fighting off tunes about frogs or balloons or shapes from Little Baby Bum, or we’re reluctantly humming a particularly annoying little ditty about a family of sharks (and just like that, dear reader, it’s now in your head too. Sorry).

Look, we have the power — the obligation — to introduce our kids to better music, for their sake, and very possibly, our own sanity. Nursery rhymes are adorable and learning-shapes songs are valuable. But with the state of things around us, social distancing and staying at home can provide a great opportunity for parents to expose their little ones to better music, some even with helpful life lessons.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite kid-friendly albums from what we dub the “Golden Age of Rock,” the classic oldies of rock ‘n’ roll from the ’50s through the ’70s, to help create a fun music experience for you and your kids. So, clear the living room, turn off the TV and fire up the record player (or Spotify playlist) and, hopefully, get to dancing.

Chuck Berry

The Great Twenty-Eight

Chuck Berry defined the sound and spirit of rock ‘n roll, so it’s only right that our kids hear his music. This compilation album, which Rolling Stone ranked No. 21 on its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, starts off with the toe-tapping “Maybellene,” and kids just know what to do when songs like this come on. Later on the album is “Johnny B Goode,” a fun opportunity for you to mention a great scene in Back to the Future when Marty McFly baffles everyone at a dance with a rendition of this hit. This album is a necessary lesson on the roots of rock ‘n’ roll. Nicknamed the “Father of Rock ‘N’ Roll,” Berry was a major influence on decades of music that followed him.

Little Richard

Here’s Little Richard

With lyrics that go “A-wop-bop-a-loo-lop a-lop-bam-boo,” “Tutti Frutti” is probably the most fun a kid will have singing to a song, and the second you drop a needle on this track, your toddler will light up. It’s the opening track on Little Richard’s 1957 debut album Here’s Little Richard, which also includes “Long Tall Sally (The Thing)” and “Slippin’ and Slidin’ (Peepin’ and Hidin’)” Simply put, these are just fun songs.

The Beatles

Rubber Soul

The Beatles helped define 20th-century rock ‘n’ roll, but not before dominating the pop charts. If we had told fans of the hit “I Want to Hold Your Hand” that the same band would later be making songs like “Helter Skelter,” they wouldn’t have believed us. But, there’s one album, in particular, that is a great introduction to the Beatles for kids, and has both the catchy, pop-like melodies that launched the Fab Four to stardom, but a little more meaningful message than the idea that they want to hold your hand. And it seemingly has no references to drugs yet: Rubber Soul. It’s said that Beatlemania ended on Dec. 3, 1965, the day the record hit the shelves. It was the album that saw the Beatles as men, not boys, similar to a teenager coming of age. And tracks like “Nowhere Man” explored John Lennon’s own dealings with inadequacy.

David Bowie

Hunky Dory

David Bowie is a great artist to introduce to kids early on because he took on many alter-egos, opening up the possibility of a young person to find one that relates to their own personality. His music explores fantasy-like storylines, and he always encouraged young people to be themselves –– no matter how weird. His 1971 album Hunky Dory is especially great for kids, and the song “Changes” reflects those ever-changing personas. He also wrote the track “Kooks” for his first son, which is a great song to dedicate to your own children.

Wings

Wings Greatest

We’re the last people to reduce the fantastic music of Wings to “just another Beatles band,” but once your child realizes that the Beatles broke up in the summer of ’69 and are left wanting more, they may want to hear what one Beatles head songwriter, Paul McCartney, made in the ’70s. Only two years after John, Paul, George, and Ringo parted ways, McCartney co-founded Wings with his wife. Yes, we’re recommending a “greatest hits” album, but it’s a great start for kids, or anyone, who hasn’t taken the time to listen to the band before. It’s a fun record that highlights the best of a great band.

Melanie

Gather Me

This album is packed full of emotional ’70s folk-rock ballads. But track four, “Brand New Key,” recalls the innocent days of young love. A particularly adorable song from singer-songwriter Melanie, “Brand New Key” follows a young, empowered girl thriving off confidence and nudging a crush to play along as she roller skates along — and it’s super fun to dance to. The rest of the tracks are probably more fitting for a teenager, as it covers a lot of heartbreak, but it’s also a great introduction to blues-rock.

Bob Dylan

Another Side of Bob Dylan

Is your child an aspiring poet or songwriter? Look no further than Bob Dylan to inspire that creativity. And his fourth studio album, 1964’s Another Side of Bob Dylan, is a great introductory album for your little one. OK, this is a folk album, but Dylan has become an influential figure in rock ‘n’ roll. Like the album title suggests, this was the first album Dylan released that didn’t reflect his usual politically driven songwriting, making it easy listening for kiddo. In fact, it played on his humor quite a bit too. Give “All I Really Want to Do” and “I Shall Be Free No. 10” a listen with the kids around for a good laugh. “To Ramona,” though, shows Dylan at his best on this album. A beautiful, lullaby-like song, the melody alone is likely to capture your child’s attention.

The Beach Boys

Endless Summer / Pet Sounds

It’s hard to decide which album is best for introducing your little one to when it comes to The Beach Boys. Endless Summer, a great album for those summer pool days in the backyard, captures the best of The Beach Boys’ 1963-1966 catalog. Be sure to pick up the vinyl reissue that includes “I Get Around,” “Surfin’ USA” and “California Girls.” These are all great introductory songs to surf rock and capture a great slice of the band’s career. You can almost feel the warm sun and sound of the hot rods driving by.

Pet Sounds is universally regarded as The Beach Boys’ best album. So, go ahead and save your kid the future embarrassment of admitting they haven’t heard this album by introducing it to them now. It begins with the super catchy tune “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” which captures the thoughts we have when we’re lovesick teenagers. It’s been said that Beach Boy Brian Wilson was aiming for tracks that kids could relate to on this album, and we think he did a pretty good job.

The Monkees

The Monkees Greatest Hits

Yeah, we’re recommending another greatest hits album. But look, this one cuts out some of the more experiential songs the band did (oh, you didn’t know about that?) We’re not going to recommend that you introduce your kids to The Monkees by having them watch the film Head, or listen to The Monkees’ soundtrack for it. Trust us. And, The Monkees didn’t have an endless catalog of amazing songs, but the hits they did have are upbeat, really fun, and definitely kid-friendly.

The Byrds

Mr. Tambourine Man / Turn! Turn! Turn!

This double album (not to be confused with a greatest hits album) was partly taken from earlier writings from Bob Dylan. It contains Dylan originals in a pop-rock-friendly tone, including: “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Chimes of Freedom,” “All I Really Want to Do” and more, so it’s a great opportunity to show your child how songs can be made differently.

Dusty Springfield

Dusty in Memphis

Dusty Springfield was an anomaly among the usual British female pop stars of the 1960s. Her voice was deep and rich, and her music sounded not unlike the hits coming from Motown or Stax. Her singles include “I Only Want to Be With You,” “Wishin’ and Hopin'” and “Son of a Preacher Man.” The latter of which is on one of the singles from her best-rated albums, Dusty in Memphis. A hallmark of the oldies we so love to wax nostalgic, Springfield’s music is a great lesson in love, and perfect for any lovelorn preteen.

Buddy Holly

20 Golden Greats: Buddy Holly Lives

Buddy Holly was a pioneer in 1950s rock ‘n’ roll, with hits like “Peggy Sue” and “That’ll Be the Day.” His signature “hiccup,” unique spin on rockabilly and as-innocent-as-can-be songs make him perfect for introducing a young person to rock ‘n’ roll. After all, he’s said to have inspired greats like Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Unfortunately, he died shortly into his blossoming career, so his discography mainly includes compilations. But 20 Golden Greats: Buddy Holly Lives is listed on Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and includes tracks he made with The Crickets — his band he played with before going solo.

Wanna be a better guitarist? Click this link to learn the secret!

https://beginnerguitarhq.com/guitar-exercises/

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The Top of the Stairs

1970 – Philadelphia

I have three sisters. Janice who’s eighteen months older than me, was born in 1961. My sister April, was born in 1966, and Gabrielle born in 1970.

Sometimes when we went to bed and my folks had people over, we’d leave our rooms, and lie at the top of the stairs and listen to our parents downstairs. It was probably just out of curiosity. What are the adults doing downstairs? What are they talking about? Different voices and laughter. The sounds of adults having fun grownup time with their friends and neighbors. Kids don’t like to go to bed. They want to be up and a part of everything. But we could only listen from the top of the stairs.

Sometimes, we’d lie at the top of the stairs in our pajamas listening to my parents when there weren’t any guests over. Maybe we were hoping we’d hear some secret info about what Santa might be bring us this year. But sometimes, more often than not, there was no laughter. Their voices sounded angry with each other. What could they be angry about? We didn’t do anything. We were in bed. We would hear them fight and argue downstairs in the kitchen. I don’t remember what they argued about. It wasn’t so much their words, but the sound of their voices.

If I think back to the sound of our parents voices when we were little, the sound was more important than what they were saying. Children respond more to tone than to meaning. A young mind only has so much capacity for complex emotion. If the voice is soft and gentle, it’s usually followed by a smile and praise. But if the tone is loud and sharp, it’s probably followed by admonishment or punishment.

Like dogs, we learn the difference in those tones very quickly.

When you’re a little kid, and it’s time to go outside, what’s do your parents always say? Go put your shoes on. We’re going. Where are your shoes? We have to go. Because when you’re a kid, you like to run around in your stocking feet. Normally the shoes come off when you got home, because your mom doesn’t want you tracking dirt all over the house.

One morning, my father was getting ready for work. He couldn’t find his shoes. He looked all over and it just didn’t make sense. His closet was always neatly arranged full of ironed shirts, ties, and suits for his job at the bank.

He asked my mother if she’d seen them. Having no idea what had happened, she joined in the search. They finally found his shoes, and several other pairs stashed away behind some boxes in a different closet.

They began to ask us kids if we knew anything about it. Gabrielle was just a newborn so it couldn’t have been her, and Janice and I simply shook our heads.

My middle sister April, who was a very little girl at the time, but always outspoken, took responsibility.

“Why did you hide daddy’s shoes, April? You know he needs them for work.”

“I heard you and daddy fighting last night. I heard what he said to you. I thought if I hid his shoes he wouldn’t leave. You can’t go outside without your shoes.”

Such a simple act, but what an elegant plan for a four-year-old child to conceive in an attempt to keep her family together, and her daddy from leaving.

I’ll never forget that.

 

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The COVID Quarantine Is Scarily Similar to the First 30 Years of My Life

Here is a piece written by a friend of mine. It’s incredibly revealing, and I never knew this about her. I can understand why. She’s shown incredible courage and patience growing up in that situation. I think we all take for granted how ‘normal’ most of our childhoods were. I’m happy she’s in my life, and honored I had the opportunity to work with her. This is one case where the cypress not only grew in the shadow of the oak, but actually flourished.

https://medium.com/@jackierupp215/the-covid-quarantine-is-scarily-similar-to-the-first-30-years-of-my-life-ca2da29d9906

 

View at Medium.com

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View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

7 Clear Signs It’s the Right Time to Meet the Parents

Look at those cute kids!

Whether you’re meeting your partner’s parents or your partner meeting yours, timing is of the essence! These signs will tell you if you’re ready.

Do not introduce your girlfriend or boyfriend to your parents just for the sake of doing so. Do it when you are both ready. Figuring out when the right time is will, of course, have a lot to do with how strict or relaxed your parents are. If they are laid back then go right ahead and plan something casual. Just remember to be sure that your partner is comfortable with it as well.

It may not be a big deal on your part, but it will be a big deal to your partner as meeting the folks is a surefire way to validate the seriousness of your relationship.

If your parents are more formal in the sense that a suit and tie at dinner is called for, then perhaps you should take more time to prep your partner beforehand so he or she knows what to expect. Either way, all parties have to be ready for the meeting if you want it to be a success.

I have a friend who has very traditional and conservative parents. They have made it very clear that they are only interested in meeting their kids’ partners only once they have decided that they want to marry them. Some parents are just that way and you cannot fault them for being so set in their traditional ways. If you have parents like these, then just play ball with them and only introduce your partner to them when things are very serious.

7 signs it’s time to meet the parents

In my case, I met my fiancé’s parents at his brother’s birthday party. As wonderful as the meeting was, it was probably not the best idea for us to meet at such a huge and lively event. We were not able to talk very much as there were too many relatives and friends stopping by to say hello.

My advice is to plan something more intimate so that everyone has the chance to properly get to know one another, but of course, that is your prerogative. In any case, here are 7 signs that it is probably time to meet the folks.

#1 You are mutually exclusive. You will know that it’s the right time to meet the parents once you are mutually exclusive. There is no point in putting everyone through the paces of getting to know one another if your relationship is not going to last. Once you have decided that you are going to be saddled with your partner indefinitely, it is probably the right moment to make the introduction to your parents. [Read: 16 signs you’re not ready to be exclusive]

#2 Your partner has met your friends. If your partner has hung out with your friends on more than one occasion, then it is safe to say that he or she may be ready to meet the folks. There is less pressure when it comes to meeting a group of friends and if you partner passes with flying colors, then think about amping it up a notch and introducing him or her to your parents.

#3 Your partner has met your other family members. Whether your partner has met other family members by pure chance or intentionally, once he or she has met an extended family member, it is probably time to meet the parents.

For example, you and your boyfriend may have run into your aunt at the supermarket and you introduced them so as not to be rude. Remember that people talk. And if your family is anything at all like mine, they will talk a lot. News will spread like wildfire that your aunt met your boyfriend before your parents did.

Even chance encounters such as these can lead to massive family drama, so take the bull by the horns and set up a lunch date with your parents sooner rather than later. The same can be said if you introduce your girlfriend to your sister over cocktails and tapas. What makes you think your sister is not going to report everything to your mum? Expectations will be set, pre-judgments will be made and before you know it, your parents will be harping on you to introduce them to your special someone.

#4 You talk about the future. Once you start thinking in terms of “us” instead of “me” then you know that the timing is right. If you see yourself being with your partner for a long time, then the next course of action is to make him or her a part of your life. That means meeting the people who created you. This step will certainly make your partner happy as it serves as validation that you are taking things to the next level.

[Read: 9 foolproof signs to know if she’s a keeper]

[Read: 11 sure signs he’s a keeper]

#5 The idea isn’t intimidating to you. If the idea of your partner meeting your folks does not scare the bejeezus out of you, then what are you waiting for? This is a good sign as it indicates that you are comfortable with the two worlds colliding. Ensure that your partner feels the same way and not to push him or her if they are not ready.

#6 You are proud of your partner. It is undoubtedly harder to introduce your parents to your slacker boyfriend than it is to introduce them to someone who has his shit together. If you are proud of who you are with, it is inevitable that you would want everyone to know about his or her accomplishments. You want the people you care about to see just why you are so in love with this person.

#7 Everyone is ready. I suppose if you cannot figure out when the “right time” is, then just take it easy and only set up a meeting once everyone is mentally ready. Speak to your parents about this special someone and gauge their reaction when you suggest a meeting. Do the same with your partner. Once you think that everyone is comfortable enough to take the next step, then you will know that it is the perfect time.

Meeting the parents for the first time is a huge step whether you think so or not. You will be surprised at how many relationships go awry just because the initial meeting with immediate family members did not go as planned.

As much as you love your partner, what your family thinks also carries weight, especially if you are close to them. Never underestimate a parent’s intuition when determining if their child is with the right person. Parents have a bizarre sixth sense when it comes to stuff like that, so take you time and do not rush it. You will know when the time is right.

[Read: 8 important things to remember when meeting the parents]

With these clear signs for checking if you’re ready to introduce each other to your respective families, you can find the right time to make the proper introductions. Now all you need to worry about is making a great first impression on them!

 

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Wildwood Daze – 1980 – I’ve Had It With This Town

I love the summer. I’ve been dropped here against my will by some other person. My father. I have no control over my life. I have to go to school at a new school as a stranger. I know you have a problem with my dissatisfaction and depression.

I excel in school and start a band. I thrive in this shit hole you’ve dropped me off with no concept of how that will break your son’s spirit.

Janice is off in college so you’re good. If anything is of kilter your going to lose your shit and that is me.

What did you think was going to happen?

Let’s rip the 17-year-old son from all of his friends and his band from Philly and drop him off in Wildwood, New Jersey. A retirement and resort town the you already know is a deathtrap for young people.

You dropped out of high school to get away from this hell hole. You joined the army rather than turn to crime at 17. You fucking asshole that I love.

I get it. I worked in banking just like you for 30 years. You were making a bunch of bad loans at the Provident in Philly and got out when the getting was good.

You retreated to NJ. your little safe haven to escape, but you never thought of what that would do to the children in your life.

The little ones were fine. April and Gabby didnt;t know any better. But I was a senior in high school. I never got to graduate with my friends at Frankford in Philly. I had a band. You destroyed that for your little escape plan.

But what was that. You replicated your life in NJ as the regional manager at First Fidelity Bank. You’re a great manager and a great man. But you really have a taste for some of your employees, man.

I remember telling you about a girl I met once how I was in a relationship and I told you about how I had feelings for her.

You said, “Why don’t you just move on her”

I said: “Because that would be wrong. I’d be cheating on my girlfriend and that would betray her trust in me.”

You were pleased and happy with my answer.

I knew it.. because you could never be that. I could see it in your eyes you were relived that I wasn’t like you in that respect.

That respect.

Bitch, please.

If you’re unhappy in your liffe, divorce mom and just send the check and leave us the fuck alone. Then you can bag Jennifer Sweeten or as you call her “sweet meat” all you want until her husband finds out.

You’ll figure it out.

 

You and your brother Jack were dropped off here after your parents divorced. Nobody got divorced back then.

Why the hell would you think it was a good idea to drop me off in this shit hole?

Wildwood is a glistening sand castle of magical fun and romance in the summer… and then it turns into a bleak shroud of dark depression where there is nothing going on in the winter. It is a desolate hole of isolation that is impossible for a teenager to escape.

Here I am. I know you and there is a part of you that is me. Some great. Some awful. But you have the chore of raising the shitty you and now the shitty son you don’t understand who is too much like your brother Jack.

So if there were any questions as to why Chaz wanted to load up the ’69 Volkswagen minibus and drive across the country to go live in sunny California let’s put all of that to rest right now.

I love you, you selfish, self-serving prick.

I really do.

Thank you for teaching me to read. Thank you for all of the books. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for teaching me to ride a bike. Thank you for teaching me how to catch a fish. Thank you for teaching me to drive a car. Thank you for teaching me about wine, art, and literature and film. Thank you for teaching me about women. (To an extent) Thank you for everything.

I’m not going to mention all of the bad stuff here.

All ready did some of that.

 

Time to load of the 69 VW minibus and head to California.

 

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My Family – The Phoenix – Part 3

Tell My Mother, tell My Father, I’ve done the best I can.

I stood at the grave of my parents with my sisters and my daughter.

Yes. I have something to say.

I read the Eulogy I had written.

I knew my sister Janice thought I wouldn’t deliver based on my track record.

 

Hello all. Thank you for coming.

To quote an artist I love: “Your bodies may be gone but we’re going to carry you in. In our minds, and in our hearts, and our souls. And maybe we’ll get lucky and we’ll all meet again.”

Over the last few weeks our hearts and minds have been filled with visions of you both.

Although your vessels are gone, you are both so much alive in us all. In our thoughts, our words and our deeds. You’ve achieved immortality in your children… and their children.

And we all have the wonderful children to prove it.

Just like all of the home movies we still have. We can watch them anytime we want. I watched some the other night. You were both so alive that I could almost touch you both.

But only almost. And I won’t be able to anymore.

I want you both to know that every time we did anything, we saw you both in front of us. Your appreciation and love accompanied us every step down the road, and our lives were always shaped by your teachings and values.

Others greater than I will eulogize you both, but none of them will ever have the sweet pleasure that my sisters and I have had to feel the gentle touch of your hands in ours.

To merit your words and warm embrace that was reserved… only for us.

To see your smiles and hear your laughter, told us so much.

 

But those are no longer. Only in our memories.

There is so much to say about this wonderful family that has come to Earth through both of you. We will share our stories as long as we all can draw breath.

I once asked you both, “What was the key to a happy life?”

Mother you said, “Do everything in moderation. Moderation is the key to a happy life.”

I turned to my father and said, “Dad?”

He replied, “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.”

Well, we always went big, and our family is rich in history… and most of all… love.

Anyway, rather than go into every wonderful Christmas we ever had, or the summers at the shore, or how my mother was the greatest person I ever met, or how my Dad taught me how to ride a bicycle, or drive a car, or taught me how to read, or taught me how to catch a fish, or how to talk to girls, or art, or music or everything that is essential to living in this world and being a better person, and moving us all forward as a family.

You’ve both done all of that and so much more.

More than any words can ever describe.

Thank you.

 

I’m not done yet…

My sisters and I are left with no alternative.

Janice. April. Gabrielle.

And my only daughter… Lorelei.

We will say goodbye to you, Mother and Father. And we will ask that you rest in peace.

I know you will think about us all down here and miss us.

We will always love you both so very much, and we will never, ever forget you.

You both are all of us.

And we are you…

Until the white wings of death scatter our days.

 

I will leave you all with this:

“Life is fleeting and fragile.

Enjoy yourself.”

 

Thank you.

 

That’s it. That’s the eulogy I wrote for my parents.

I read that at their burial.

I always felt like I failed them both my entire life. But I always loved them.

 

 

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My Family – The Phoenix – Part 1

When I started writing this blog it was a bunch of crazy dates and series about past relationships. But I knew it would grow and evolve. Now that the dust has settled in my life I can get to the business of writing about what I really want to express. My life. (Don’t worry there will always be crazy dating stories!)

Last year my sisters and I buried our parents.

My mother had died the year before at 86. She was a wonderful woman who was a good wife and mother. She lived with RA (Rhematoid arthritis) for 40 years but never complained and put up with my father for 60 plus years.

She was in assisted living for the last year of her life. She was happy there and said she was never going home. She was with her peers and I know she was comfortable there in her final days.

She always said she wanted to go in her sleep. I think everybody wants that. Just go to bed one night and then just disappear peacefully and quietly. No fear. No pain. Just gone.

The day breaks tomorrow and the world does what it does and you’re just not in it anymore.

Your memory lives on with your loved ones for a while but after a generation, unless you’re famous you’re simply gone. It’s as if you never existed.

She went to bed one night in her pajamas, snuggled down in her bed and just went to Heaven. Just what she wanted. She deserved that.

My mother was a good woman who was really good at taking care of children and a house and animals that she almost seemed born to it. I don’t know if she ever wanted anything more, but my mother never even learned to drive. She didn’t need to and liked to be in her home, doing her thing and drinking her tea.

When she passed she was cremated and her remains were put in a lovely wooden box with a pretty bird carved into the top. My mother always loved birds.

Maybe she always felt like a caged bird. I don’t know.

My father kept the box on the dining room table after she died. I think that’s morbid, but maybe he just wanted some semblance of her there in the big old house with him.

Because now he was alone there. No one to listen to his stories, fears and ailments that didn’t exist or whatever.

My mother was the greatest listened I’ve ever met. The absolute apex of a good listener. I know this because my middle sister April can really talk a lot. So can my Dad. She was always sweet and genuinely interested in what you had to say. She kept her opinions to herself.

There was a surge of attention around my father when my mother died. My father loved attention. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a very charming man and is absolutely great with people. He knows how to get it done in a unique and elegant way. Where do you think I learned all of my moves? I took the best of him, and have done my best to discard the worst.

Before my mother died I had conversations with my dad about how he was worried he would run out of money because the facility she was living in cost so much every month. He actually said, “I’m going to end up in the Veteran’s Home because I’ll be broke.” Healthcare in this country is a financial nightmare, but why would he think that?

Why would he say that?

Fear. But it seemed contrary to his character. I think she was living too long. “She’s very frail” he would say to me all the time. It’s like he needed her to go. I get that. I have a really firm grasp of what life is and what death is too.

I’ve been alarmingly close to them both and although one is priceless and precious, death can swoop in on its black wings and snatch the innocent away for no reason.

So dude… live for today.

Have you met your first-born daughter that you love and loves you more than you can even grasp?

My sister Janice.

You’re never going to end up in the Veteran’s Home, man. Not under Janice’s watch. You should rest easy and smile that you have the strongest person in the family looking out for you and Mom’s best interest.

Free of charge.

But my mom passed and it was sad, but she was ready to go. I’m grateful to all three of my sisters for being present through all of that because I was not. I was just living my life here in Philly doing my thing and popping into the occasional holiday party with one of my young girlfriends.

They did it all, especially Janice.

So once the surge of attention, mourning, adulation, cards, letters, love, and people faded as they always do. My dad decided to fold up his tent and go home.

Initially the loss of mom was sad but she was a really old lady, and we all loved her but we were all prepared for her to leave. You have to prepare yourself for that. Forgive me, but I don’t understand why I see people suffering so long after losing their parents. They lived their lives. You had them for so long but everybody has to leave. No one gets out of here alive.  You have to be ready for that.

The dead have a responsibility to the living and vice versa.

But there is a sense of relief that Mom is now at peace and not suffering with the pain of RA and old age. She was ready to go and she went in her chosen way.

I’d see Dad and he was happy and his usual jovial self. I’d talk with him on the phone and we’d be trading stories and it was amazing. He was finally telling me all of the wild stories from his past that I was never old enough to hear. It was great! I was even managing his Netflix because we both love film and that’s something we’ve alway been really close about.

 

But once the light completely went out on my mom and he was alone in that big house he started to want to get out of here himself. I still don’t full understand it but I think my sister Janice may because she was so much closer to the day-to-day grind of watching him plan his going from this world.

Something changed. He just gave up and got tired of playing onstage anymore. He just wanted to quit the band and work on his solo career in heaven.

It was like he was slowly trying to commit suicide. That’s not allowed in this country but I think if it were and he wanted to really go. I know my father well enough that if he wanted me to I would have been okay with him blowing his last breath in my face.

Because he put my sister Jan through hell that last year. No one will ever know how intense that was but I’ve heard from my sisters. It was as if he was this crazy tiger that kept all his powers, weaknesses, greatness and demons locked up in a den somewhere and then the old cat was left inside that den to suddenly deal with them. All of the things in himself that he had never been fixed came to the surface and cooked him alive.

I’ve lived with anxiety and depression my entire life. I turned it into art and sometimes turned to alcohol just to turn off the pain for a few hours. I like it, but I never let that shit own me. I have a strong sense of identity.

I know my father intimately. I understand his psyche. I forgave my parents for everything in my forties. You have to do that to move forward in your life.

 

Let go of the bars of your cell. Let them fall to the ground and take a step. Embrace who you are and how hard they tried to raise the four of you with not a lot of money. How they had challenges with each other in their marriage and how they should have gotten a divorce but didn’t to hold it together for you and your sisters.

How they became husband and wife and then parents to little new minds and did the very best they could with all they knew.

Much of it was so wrong but for the most of it was pretty darn right. My family is super normal and so are their children.

Even though I have felt much more of the scorn of both of my parents, I’ve managed to rise up from my own weaknesses and be a decent and wise father to my daughter, Lorelei.

I’m blessed with a lovely child that I barely deserve. She too has a strong identity and risen up from the flames of her upbringing with her mother to shine beautifully like the morning sun.

Tune in tomorrow.

I’m you about the day that my parents were really gone.

 

 

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Kim – 2016 – The Animator – Part 2

“I liked her. She’s pretty, funny and smart. She’s like a hot Margret Cho. Lovely hair. Luxurious dark brown tresses. She’s wearing a blue dress and fish nets and cool little boots. So I approve.”

She was on time for lunch. She looks good. A bit thick, but forgivable if she’s as interesting as she seems in her profile.

We meet at one of my favorite lunch spots, Misconduct at 18th and JFK. She’s excited about it. She texts too much for a woman her age. Seems juvenile and desperate, but I think that’s an Asian thing.

I liked her. She’s pretty, funny and smart.  She’s like a hot Margret Cho. Lovely hair. Luxurious dark brown tresses.  She’s wearing a blue dress and fish nets and cool little boots. So I approve.

Here’s the intel I gathered from her over chicken tenders and sliders.

She has her own animation studio located in Langhorne, PA.  She specializes in all types of animation, and is currently creating 2d, 3d, and flash animation, motion graphics and graphic design for various clients, ranging from small businesses to Hollywood studios, media companies, and pharmaceutical companies around the world.
A little bit of background on her…. When living out in L.A, she worked in Children’s TV for Cartoon Network as an Art Director, Animator, Storyboard Artist, and Character Designer for popular TV Shows (“Dexter’s Lab” and “Power Puff Girls”).  Her own pilot appeared on CN, was optioned by Disney, and was critically acclaimed.  Once moving back East, she moved into Commercial Animation as the Creative Director for a company in 3D Pharmaceutical Animation, and then Creative Director and head of Marketing and Interactive Design for a Clothing Manufacturer.  She started her company to continue with her passion for all types of Animation.

The premise of the show she created is roughly based on her life as a Korean adoptee; the main character had previously been featured a comic strip by her.  The pilot aired in August 17, 2001 on the network as part of their Big Pick competition, a marathon of ten pilots with viewers selecting one to be produced for the network’s fall 2002 season. The series lost second place to Codename: Kids Next Door.

The pilot was created by she and her husband who is also a Korean adoptee. Kim, an adoptee of American-Jewish parents, based the main character on her life experiences as an immigrant. In years prior to making the pilot, she had started a nonprofit organization for helping adopted children locate their biological parents. Her husband felt much of the impetus for the pilot came while searching for his birth family in Korea. However, Kim later remarked that the pilot “had nothing to do with” her life.

The pilot was optioned by The Walt Disney Company  before being turned down. Cartoon Network first approached Dunn in Los Angeles, then a comic shop employee who had just moved in. The network, impressed by her work in independent comics which had spread through word of mouth, landed her a job at Cartoon Network Studios, and a few years later, she and her husband produced the pilot.

 

This all seems amazing but why is she in PA nad not L.A?

She created all of this little greatness with her husband in L.A. He apparently banged his assistant while they were married. Cheated on her with her for a while. Got said assistant pregnant.  Kim was already pregnant with a daughter. Kim divorces him and moves back to PA to be around family to raise her little daughter. Career in ruins. Pilot’s a fail. Doesn’t get picked up.

Pregnant assistant has an abortion and leaves Kim’s husband. (Piece of shit) He’s now remarried and has some other kids. Don’t know what the child support number on all that is but I’m sure its steep.

Red flags are waving proud at this lunch but I’ll order an Old Fashioned to steady the nerves.

That was 13 years ago and now she is living here in PA with her daughter. Apparently the kid is amazing and I’m hearing nothing but good things, so as a parent I’m always jubilant about that kind of success.

She said her 13-year-old recently just got boobs but still looks like a little girl. My dark side is struggling with the evil here but I hold fast as a parent and don’t fall into an Asian human trafficking fantasy. I wish Kim hadn’t told me that shit on a first date. It’s just a little weird.

Her daughter is an amazing child who is an A student and a pianist. Dad is out of the picture. I guess that POS is still in L.A. and I can’t believe he isn’t even a presence in his daughter’s life, because even when I felt like I was on my ass I saw Lorelei every other weekend.

Kim hates what’s she’s doing right now. It’s probably some animation/graphic design bullshit because she keeps asking me if we need anything like that for the gym we’re opening. It sounds like she’s on her ass.

(Red flags are still waving proudly in the May afternoon sun outside Misconduct)

We leave the restaurant. The lunch has been good. I walk her to the car park and give her a kiss. She’s hesitant because there is a fat black woman sitting in the lobby of the check out. I don’t care. I wanted to kiss her. I like her.

Sort of.

 

After the date, we texted over the next few days.

“Morning!”

Loves to text.

“Hi Kim! How are you?”

“Good. You?”

“Doing well. Just going to work. I have some stuff to do this weekend with friends and the business.” (Bold Faced Lie)

“Is there anything that I can do to help with the business? I can always use extra work if you’re comfortable with that.”

(Sounds like she’s out of work)

“But we could meet up again next week for lunch and/or I was thinking movies next weekend? Sorry we’re on different subjects here. How could I help?”

I’m trying to make a second date. Kim is obviously looking for a meal ticket.

“Yeah! That would be fun! Sorry! Promotional video for your online marketing video efforts, maybe working at the tanning salon?”

Now it’s just nuts. I went on one date with this woman. I get her trying to sell me some shit. I’ve been in sales since the 80’s. Suck it. But work at the salon? We have people for that. How fucked are you in your life?

(This is starting to sound like that chick that tried to sell me Amway on a date!)

“We have a video that’s running on a loop monitor in the salon. We’re all staffed up at the salon. (Bold faced lie, Trish is fucking history) I was thinking of us hitting Mac Mart     (Awesome mac and cheese joint in Rittenhouse where I know the owners.)

“Oooh Mac Mart. Sure!”

A few days later…

“What are you up to?”

“Sorry. Busy weekend with the sisters and daughter! (Bold faced lie) How are you? Hope yours was good despite the rain.”

“Yeah you don’t text much?”

“No.”

WTF? I’m an adult and I don’t need to be constantly texting anyone. It’s fucking annoying!

“I was kind of sick but it was nice.”

“When I’m with family I’m a bit off the grid. (True. But in this case, a Bold faced lie)

“Sick? What happened?”

“My throat hurt, coughing but I’m doing ok.)

This courtship is amazing romance.

“How are things otherwise?” (Being nice)

Good. (Sends me some drawing of her and her daughter. It looks like daughter drew it and it sucks)

“So Mac Mart?”

I figured one last-ditch effort just to see.

“Oooh You’re not going to come out to me!”

Here we go…

“Great drawing of you and your daughter.” (Bold Faced… oh fuck it.)

“I mean are you ever leaving the city?”

This is when Rittenhouse Bubble phicklephille kicked in.

“What’s the point? I could rent a car or do a Zip car to come see you no problem.”

“Oh. Well then it was nice knowing you.”

(Really, washed up animator who would work in a tanning salon?)

“Oh ok.”

“If you can’t try to see me… Then.”

 

And that was it. I never heard from Kim again.

Do I care? Not in the slightest. But I think we could have had some fun going to see some films at the Ritz.

*YAWN

Onward we go!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Kim -The Animator – Part 1

“Looking for: Single Men, near me, ages 36 – 50 for short & long-term dating and new friends.”

I met Kim on OkCupid. She had an interesting profile and we matched. She reached out to me first. I told her I had read her profile and she seemed fascinating and fun.

“Well then let’s meet up and see.”

“Sounds good. May I have your number?”

We exchanged numbers and that was that. It happened that quickly.

So I set up a lunch date and we meet up at Misconduct Tavern.

Here is her profile on OkCupid:

 

My Self Summary

Animator who likes most music. I can’t see likes.

What I’m doing with my life

Designing stuff and trying to make things nicer in the world.

 

I’m really good at

Feeding everybody

 

Favorite books movies shows music and food

I love comic books, indie stuff, wonder woman stuff, software manuals, Dexter, Curb your Enthusiasm, SNL  30 Rock, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, New Girl, Shameless. Hannibal, Dark Crystal, Double Indemnity, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Rosemary’s Baby, Harold and Maude.

 

Music. I’m a vinyl collector. Old jazz, soundtracks well almost everything. Sometimes just for the album art, XTC,  Nina Simone, Iron and Wine, Echo and the Bunnymen, Depeche Mode, New Order, Morrissey, Donovan, Dylan, Lennon, every kind of music on my iPod, I am open to checking out any kind of music.

(Sounds great, right? But not really.)

Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, sushi, Indian, Ethiopian, seafood, pizza, edibles, mostly seafood. No pineapples or mango – I’m very allergic.

Six things I could never do without

Communication

Good stories

Music

Something to draw and write with

Delicious things

I spend a lot of time thinking about

Work, animation, comics, software love

On a typical friday night I am

Watching a movie (out or at home) trying a new restaurant or revisiting favorites, hanging out with friends. I love to be at home if I had someone special to spend time with.

you should message me if

You’re not looking for benefits or games. Serious inquiries only. Laughter often required.

Looking for: Single Men, near me, ages 36 – 50 for short & long-term dating and new friends.

 

And there is her profile. She seems nice, and I want to meet her!

Tune in tomorrow and I’ll tell you how our first date went!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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