|Empire State Building by Michelle Carol|
I continue my tribute to LOVE.
Parents make some of the greatest sacrifices of anyone for another human being. Although I’m not a mother, I have a great understanding as I watch friends make adjustments once a little one appears. Dads have their roles and every child should be blessed to have one, but there’s nothing like the love between a mother and a child.
My mom always put me first, and herself second. From the moment I showed up, through my childhood and even into my adult years, mom devoted 110 percent to me. She supported and believed in me when no one else did. If it weren’t for mom, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
When I was five, she started me in dance lessons at the recommendation of a doctor. What she thought would be a healthy and practical solution for weak ankles, changed the rest of our lives. One dance lesson led to another, and eventually I was almost living at the studio. Travel began at a young age which included workshops on weekends.
The summer of 1979 was the turning point in my life: we spent a week in New York City. I was just 12, and only hoped at that time that it would be my fate to live here. It was love at first sight, and not just for me. Mom loved New York as much as I did.
Mom traveled with me for the next three summers to Manhattan. Our finances were tight. She saved all year for the longest trip that we could afford. Even then, NYC was expensive. We stayed in cheap hotels, and sublet apartments in Chelsea and the Upper West Side. It wasn’t always safe, but we pioneered our way through. We were always on the hunt for the next place to stay. Those were the frontier days before the internet existed, and all we had was a Village Voice every Wednesday. We’d grab the paper and hit the hotels, using their pay phones. Real estate was sizzling back then; by the time we made the call, our prospect was long gone. Cell phones were a mere embryo at that time.
I remember many day trips roaming around the city with mom. We couldn’t always afford a hotel, so often we took the good old Carl Bieber and returned to Reading that evening. Occasionally we drove and parked at Lincoln Center. (Kind of funny, because Mike and I park our car in that same garage now). We ate primarily in coffee shops and Greek diners.
We could usually be found wandering between 56th and Broadway, Carnegie Hall, 60th and Broadway, and Lincoln Center. This was our stomping ground. She would spend hours at each dance studio on some days, observing and playing stage mother; telling me to get to the front of the class. Believe it or not, I was kind of shy in those days. She wanted nothing but the best for me.
|Fountain at Lincoln Center–-by Nan Palmero-via Flickr|
When we had a little extra cash, we’d go to the the ballet, or maybe eat dinner in a nice restaurant. I’ll never forget the night we saw Nureyev perform with the La Scala Opera Ballet. There must have been nine curtain calls at the Met. Mom and I were on our feet in the orchestra with thousands–applauding and shouting “Bravo!” It was also thrilling because I had been taking class with several of the La Scala dancers at Studio 61 at Carnegie Hall. Mom was proud that “I could keep up with the pros.”
Once we rode the train to the Bronx and saw a Yankees game. I still cannot believe we took the subway to the Bronx in 1981, especially since we had no clue where we were going. The Bronx was a different place at that time and not nearly as safe as it is today. Somehow, good karma rode with us, and after a detour, we made it to the game and landed back in Manhattan.
She was a trooper, forfeiting her summer vacations to take me to New York. If it weren’t for my mom, I wouldn’t have discovered this fantastic city. She brought me here again and again, year after year. Thanks mom for all of those trips. You introduced me to a place that would become my destiny. I owe my life in New York to you.