Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Songbird of NY

It is my two girls birthdays this month and This is a story of my middle daughter, Mary.
 She was a surprise when she was born because I had been told that I would not have any children after I had my first child. She was born and then another came later, telling us that sometimes things happen that we least expect but they are treasures, none the less.
She was an easy pregnancy until the 8th month when my gallbladder decided to rear its ugly head. I was at the doctors several times that last month when finally the doctor said, we are going to hurry this along so I could feel better, and she came into the world beautiful and crying a couple of hours later.
She had the most beautiful shock of dark hair and she was such a good baby, just like my first one was. She rarely cried, laughed all the time and made me smile every day. She was the baby that I talked about at 2 months old when we visited Daddy, the year before he died. The passengers on the plane fell in love with her and my older daughter Wendi , who visited the pilot and got her wings. I was thankful that the trip had gone well because I was 2 weeks post-op and 2 months post delivery but daddy had said come home lil ole gal, and I came.
You all have read of that tumultuous trip and landing and the first few years in Upstate Ny. Mary was 4 when we arrived and she was such a trooper. When she got old enough to help shovel, she would go outside and help, alongside my oldest daughter. There are 11 years between the two girls and it was more like mom and sister than just sisters. I knew what this was like because my older sister is 12 years older than me.
From the time she was throwing toys over her shoulder and scooting around on the floor she was singing. It may not have had words when it first started but she cooed and hummed her way into being some kind of singer. She was in chorus in school and was singing solo's by 2nd grade but it was not until she was 12 that I really understood just what a gift she had. There was a talent show at the school she attended and she was going to sing. "Think of Me" from The Phantom of the Opera. I had not heard her sing it but was at the school to hear her on that special night. When she came out to sing, I could tell she was a little nervous. She was moving her fingers on her hand but when the music swelled but when she opened her mouth to sing, every one stopped. I remember how silent it got in the auditorium, except for the lady behind me saying, wow, where did she come from? She sang that whole song and hit every note like she was on a theater stage in New York. When she finished, there was a huge standing ovation and clapping such as I had never heard. The lady behind me said, "that parent has to be really proud of her" and I turned around and said, " I am." She then said in wonder, "that is your daughter?" and I replied with such a smile, "yes."
There happened to be in the audience that night a judge from The Crane School Of Music in Potsdam and she made a point of finding out who Mary was and who her parents were. We talked some and she told me about their summer program where you go away to college for 2 weeks out of the summer and she encouraged me to have her attend. I wanted too, so badly but we did not have the tuition and expenses that it would cost. Almost a thousand dollars when all was said and done. She then offered Mary one of their scholarships that cut the cost for parents to have her attend. I could tell that she really wanted her there and Mary wanted to go also. We scrimped and they paid part of the tuition for us so that we could afford the other expenses she would have there and off she went to summer Music School.
I could tell how much she loved that world and it was evident that she excelled at it. We attended all of the judging and her performances, my heart swelling with pride at how beautiful she sang. I was there back stage as she was judged and she did so well along with other kids from her school.
One of her classmates Jim sang too and he and Mary were friends. They both have a gift and sometimes they sang together which would bring the house down.
She continued to sing and one day she asked me for a clarinet. I asked if she wanted lessons and she said, no. It can't be too difficult. She already played piano and read music so I went to the Music Store in Potsdam and bought her a nice clarinet. We came home and six hours later, she was playing the theme to the Titanic. Talk about gifted Musically. All of my children played instruments growing up and I encourage all children to do that because there is a sense of self worth and accomplishment in learning and playing music.
She often went for walks on East Road where we lived in DePeyster and she would belt out a song or two while she did. The neighbors would hear her and come outside as she passed. One of them stopped in one day and told me that when she first heard Mary sing, she thought it was the radio. I beamed with pride as if it were me singing. lol
I am so glad that although we may have struggled in some areas, I made sure that Mary could have Chorus, Band, Crane School of Music and I attended her plays and other things she was in at school. She was something and I am so glad that I got to be a small part of her musical journey.
Happy Birthday on June 7th sweetie. Love Mom...

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