Sunday, May 8, 2016

Thinking of Mom

On the eve of this Mother's Day, I was thinking about my Mom. It has been 15 years since I could wish her a Happy Mother's Day in person or on the phone. She died in early 2002, about three months before that year's celebration of Mothers. To be honest, I don't remember what happened in May of 2001, her last Mother's Day. She was sick most of that year so we may have been together but if we were, it was in a hospital. 

Besides already thinking about Mom, I watched the Adele concert that aired Friday night (5/6) on NBC that I had recorded. The concert was terrific. Adele is a true musical treasure of our time. A talented songwriter and wonderful singer who has a fun personality. This concert hit a nerve with me for a very personal reason.

It was held at Radio City Music Hall (RCMH) and there were several shots of this beautiful theater. Why does that matter to me? Because when I was a very young boy, my Mom would take me to Radio City Music Hall. We would take day trips to New York City when I was 4, 5 & 6 years old. I know I saw the Rockettes at least once, so we probably went to a Christmas show one year. That would have been a special trip. Most of the time we went during the week and saw a movie, one that was in general release. I don't know if RCMH still shows movies during the week, they may just do premiers and limited runs now. I think we saw a Disney animated movie or two, but don't hold me to that. Hey, I was five or six years old and that was several decades ago. For sure I saw cartoons there because they were a part of the normal schedule at most theaters. Despite the amount of time that has past, I remember one movie vividly. That would be Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue. It was the story of Rob Roy MacGregor, either an outlaw or Scottish freedom fighter, starred Richard Todd and was a Disney production so I doubt it was historically accurate. There is one scene where the Scots pour out of the trenches and ditches to attack the evil British invaders. I replayed that scene with the kids in my neighborhood and can still see it vividly in my mind. I have about ¼ Scottish ancestry, so I was always Rob Roy in those reenactments. It is a great memory. 

But I digress a little. The Rockettes and that film are not my only memories of those trips to Radio City Music Hall with Mom. The greatest memory is the theater itself. Let's put this fabulous venue into perspective. Some of us older folks used to go to single screen movie theaters. They seated maybe 400 or 500 folks, maybe more with a balcony. I used to go to the rather small San Marco Theater as an adolescent in Jacksonville. The largest theater I remember was the Florida Theater downtown, it held 1,900. BTW, both of those theaters are still going strong. One auditorium, one screen, one main feature movie. Today we go to multi-screen movie plexes. Cookie cutter auditoriums that may only be 10 seats wide if you chose an old or stinker movie. 

So, what was so special about Radio City Music Hall? For one thing, it was at the end of the trip to New York City, always an adventure for a kid. For another, it was elegant. Finally, it was huge. The main auditorium seats over 6,000. This is not a sports venue with folding chair seating on the basketball court. It is a real theater with a sloped floor, balconies and attached theater seats, 6,000 of them. The ceiling was domed and seemed about 10 stories high. The stage was huge and even for movies, they drew the curtains to reveal the screen. Big, fancy curtains. There were also ushers dressed in uniforms and wielding flashlights, big damn flashlights.

A couple of years before the NYC trips
I've written about my Mom taking me to New York City before and I will probably do it again. Those trips are some of my best memories even though I'm sure I have forgotten many of the specifics and details over the many years. Radio City Music Hall, The American Museum of Natural History, MOMA, the Guggenheim and just for me, FAO Schwartz.

I have rambled, but the memories just flowed and the keyboard was right here. What I most want to say is Happy Mother's Day to my Mom. I miss you every day and some days the memories and emotions just flood through me. Today was one of those days. 

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Thanks for the memories.


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