Tag Archives: parenting

Glo Column October: On The road Again

College tour        It’s been a long time since I have done any touring (seven years in fact) but once more, I am out on the road, saying my lines and meeting a wide variety of people from all walks of life.

It’s a rough gig. Probably the toughest of my career and because I will probably never do this again I have affectionately Christened it my “farewell tour.” In the past few months, I have made appearances at a number of venues that all look exactly like the one before it. Some are bigger, some are smaller but essentially it’s all the same. Only the names will change.

The guy in charge of this operation helps keep me on track by wearing a t-shirt from each location but I’ve got to be honest, it’s all beginning to blur. I am tired of being surrounded by questionable catering, smug industry insiders, overzealous fans and an entourage of people that I suspect only like me for my money. I know that once I am gone, another act will blow into town behind my little band and they will roll out the red carpet for them as well.

Yes, I am on the college road trip.

The college road trip is a time-honored tradition and an important part of the high school experience, but if you have never been on this kind of whirlwind adventure before, let me clue you in to what goes on behind-the scenes of this three-ring circus. I have visited campuses that act like my son is a visiting dignitary they can’t suck up to enough. They have given us a designated parking space, put his name up on a plasma screen, and presented him with a swag bag that some celebrities would fight over. He’s even been led into a VIP lounge with so many complimentary snacks and beverages that it’s caused me to wonder what is so terrible about the cafeteria food that they are trying to ruin his appetite prior to lunch.

We have also seen schools that are much too cool to care about whether or not you are impressed by their campus atmosphere. Some student guides only point in the vague general direction of different buildings and those that buzz by some of the most prominent features of the campus like they are mere dots on a map. I’m sorry, but if it is the attribute your school is most known for, shouldn’t it be on the tour?

I have met guides who are way too perky about their campus and spend the tour peppering their commentary with stories you had to be there in order to understand. I have met guides who can’t answer any questions beyond “What was the football team’s record last year?” and those who have the uncanny ability to walk backward and talk at the same time. (I’m telling you, if they can chew gum as well then they have achieved the trifecta of talent as far as I am concerned.)

We have encountered professors who seem genuinely interested in my son, who have encouraged me to apply as adjunct faculty (my son was not amused) and admissions directors that have all but dashed his hopes for admission only after he was convinced that he wanted to attend this particular school.

It’s a grind, and as we head into home stretch of application season, I am ready for someone to pour me into a suitcase and send me home. After being at this for so long, each school seems to be singing the same song and at this point, I have no idea where Boy Wonder will end up. I do know that I am tired of the long two-hour sets, cheesy lines and stale encores and I am ready for the curtain to fall on this act so that it can rise on the next phase of his life.

 

 

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Glo Column for August: Little Pitchers

Me and Mom     It was the scariest sentence ever uttered by the woman who brought me into this world. Five simple words that gave me a complex and caused me to scrutinize my facial features out of fear that history would repeat itself:

“I look like my mother.”

It all began on a Sunday morning in which my mother stood before the full-length mirror in the hall closet teasing her hair into the shape of a brown football helmet just prior to making the pronouncement that caused me to fear my genetic future. It wasn’t what she said, but how she said it. A look of horror crossed her face and her tone became so terrifying it convinced me that this was not only a fate worse than death, but that I should spend the next hour in Mass praying for a biological intervention. Are you there, God? It’s me, Julie. Please let my father’s DNA dominate my chromosomes. Thank you.

Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of beautiful women on my mother’s side of the family, but apparently my grandmother wasn’t one of them. I have an aunt who boasts a petite frame and platinum blond hair, cousins who could pass as super models and extended relatives who had classic 1940’s pin up features before age and gravity got the best of them. However, my grandmother who died when I was seven was small, sickly and sported shocks of snow white hair. It’s the kind of thing that can freak a kid out, and not the kind of family tradition one wants to carry on.

In the brief time that I was around my maternal grandmother, I never saw her in real clothes. She always had on a housecoat and pajamas. Her hair was never styled. Her posture was hunched. Her fingers were stained with nicotine and once, while playing on the floor near where the grown-ups were sitting, I got a peek at her toes poking out from her slippers. Not only was the second toe significantly longer than the first, but also they were purple for crying out loud. Purple! Every four-year-old on the planet knows that’s just gross!

Though my mother still had her brown hair and only faint wrinkles at the time of her statement, I understood why she was so panicked. If she was already seeing the similarities then I knew we were both doomed! She was the daughter of the crypt keeper headed for a life of bad circulation and chronic illness while I was an innocent victim drowning in the gene pool. From that day forward, if anyone commented on my resemblance to my mother, I was quick to point out that I looked more like my dad. I seriously hoped that if I said it enough, it would turn out to be true.

In actuality, I am a pretty good mix of both of my parents, something I later learned that I have in common with my mother (who knew?) After my mom died in 2008, I discovered a bunch of old pictures of my grandmother I had never seen before. Prior to the orange fingers and purple toe era, my grandmother was quite average looking and possessed features consistent with a blue-collar woman living in a rural farming community. She may not have been a beauty queen, but her looks were nothing to be ashamed of either.

I never told my mother how her comment affected me as a child, not even after she apologized to Boy Wonder when he inherited her hairline and bone structure after his birth. Maybe I should have. After all, people are sensitive about the way they look. Words can hurt, off-the-cuff comments can make a big impact and little pitchers have big ears.

Chances are they inherited them from you.

 

 

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