Saturday, December 29, 2012

Turning 60: A Day for Me


So, I wondered what I was going to write about in December with regards to “Turning 60?” As with most of us, December is filled with doing things for others, and that’s as it should be. My job provides me with the knowledge and the opportunity to help those in need, even if I don’t do it myself, I am involved in the process; be it the paperwork, or follow-up.

Not unusually, I have been shopping, wrapping and getting all the things done that need to be done. I didn't send out cards. My plan is to make a “Happy New Year” card with a wedding picture and send it out in January. I did do a Christmas Letter via blog and it is found here. Last year’s letter is here. These are busy times.

I did make the decision to forgo exercise the first week of the month. I had a slight sprain in my knee and I wasn't doing ANYTHING that would keep me from enjoying my son’s wedding on New Year’s Eve. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am perfectly capable of tripping over my own feet and hurting myself, but I am simply not taking chances.

By not going to the gym six days a week, that gave me six or seven hours a week to do something else. Sometimes that was for other people, and sometimes it was just time for me. I read some books. I am working on a women’s Bible study that I downloaded from the Internet. I made wedding favors. And by watching what I ate, I found that it was OK to take this break. I shall return and I know that.

I had lunch with three friends, and had another over to our house for dinner. I gave a party. I attended two parties. I did eat, but I kept track, and incorporated those splurges into the rest of that day or week. Other than that, I really didn't “cook” much.

I got my nails done—twice! I got my hair done once.

While doing for others, I did for me too!

I think the biggest thing that I did for myself only, was take a day off on the day that I gave my Class of 1971 Christmas party. I had cleaned some over the weekend; so all that really needed done was spot-cleaning (bathrooms!) and fixing two dishes, as well as getting things together.

Then, I sat down and just listened to the nothing. It was fabulous! I read some, but did not turn on the television or even the music. Both of the men I live with were out of the house, and I had time for just me. This is really unusual and does not happen often. I work a 9-3 day and my husband is retired, volunteers and substitute teaches. All of those activities pretty much take place within the time frame that I work, so I don’t sit and listen to the quiet very often.

I thought, as I was raising children, that I would have time to myself when this stage of life got here; but I find that I don’t.

So therefore, in 2013, one of my goals is to develop a “Woman Cave” in the basement where my son lives right now. I think that process may spawn at least ONE blog; although I am by no means special when it comes to decorating! The idea is to have a place where I can watch the History Channel or HGTV while someone else is watching March Madness. Perhaps for the first time in thirty six years, I won’t be MAD! (Disclaimer: I always love watching our Ohio teams in the NCAA tournament or Wright State in its tournament. And, I also like Michigan State; and we follow our son-in-law’s team, North Carolina)

Re-doing the basement will be a BIG thing “for me.” Of course, we will use it for family purposes, but it’s going to be my cave, make no mistake about it. Grandma will have a “play corner” for her grandchild(ren).

So that’s really about it for December. There really wasn't anything of great note. I am just another wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend and employee doing what we do during the Christmas season. I made it a priority to read a good Advent book, to keep my focus on why I do all of this!

Next up? The Twelve Days of a Wedding! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Fitness Journey: End of Year Report 2012


I am really not on a mission. I kind of get annoyed at all the fitness "gurus" out there. I don't know what I did to deserve a first-born who got her Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Studies and my next child with a Bachelor's Degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Ugh, they were always talking about this or that thing.....as I piled on the weight, became too tired at the end of a day to do anything, and since I hate cooking, indulged in unhealthy eating habits.

As we face a new year, I do not stand in judgment of any person. But as I am out and about; I notice how obese our society in general has become! And like any BIG problem, we as individuals are only ONE person and we can only do so much at a time. But let's remember, although we care about our society and its woes, we really want to live longer, healthier lives OURSELVES! We want to be there for our grandkids and great-grandkids, and we don't want to be a burden on anyone.

One of the things I do in my job as Social Worker for the Fairborn Senior Center is assess our clients, ask them what medications they are taking, with the purpose of helping them get the best and cheapest health and prescription coverage possible. Don't get me wrong; I want to help people and I am beyond helping them fix problems that began decades ago. But when I think of this--I want my remaining years to be DIFFERENT!!!

This is why I encourage my readers to DO WHAT THEY CAN! Every year, my New Year's resolution was to "lose weight." This year it's different.

Let's begin by looking over the last year. I am not going to win any big awards; I am not going to make it on the Biggest Loser, but here are quantitative results.

1. I have lost about 15 pounds in the calendar year 2012. I had begun losing earlier, for a total of about 30.
2. My blood work looks entirely different. While I still take a statin, I have halved the dosage. My sugar is lower by about 20 points (always a concern as I have genetic issues with diabetes).
3. While I still have a bum shoulder and arthritis in my knees, I have gained stamina and strength.
4. Some of my body parts that you aren't allowed to see look different! These are small things, but I can tell it. My bathing suit is too big. I need to get some new bras.
5. My clothes fit differently, and I am in a smaller size than I was last year.

What can you DO besides say "I need to lose weight in 2013!" You KNOW you need to lose weight in 2013; but what are other indicators that you are becoming a healthier individual?

1. You KNOW what to eat and what not to eat! When faced with choices, pick the best one.
2. Eat less salt!
3. Just get moving. I don't care if you join a gym, but get moving. Picking up some weights at Target might not be a bad idea.
4. DO NOT QUIT! You will fall off the wagon; I certainly have, but you get back up ON IT! You can do that!

If we don't take care of ourselves, it becomes a vicious cycle, we gain more weight, we have more health issues and the quality of our life decreases. Some of us have genetic factors, but DO WHAT YOU CAN!

If I just said, "I've lost 15 pounds this year," you aren't impressed because that doesn't seem like a whole lot of weight, but if I showed you my blood work report, showed you the parts of my body that I am NOT going to show you; and had you watch me work through an exercise class, you would know that changes have occurred.

And God knows, if I can do this; so can you!

Onward and upward! 2013 is going to be a great year! I am going to turn 60 in a completely different place than 58! But I must remember, it took 15 years to get this way, it will take some time to correct the situation!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Entitled to Christmas!


This started out as a Facebook status report and we all know that Denise can get wordy; so I decided to expand just a little and see where blogging took me.

I personally am having a little trouble with our society believing that we are all “entitled” to Christmases that look like Currier and Ives cards. While I am certainly in favor of helping the less fortunate, ALL YEAR LONG, none of us, poor and rich alike are “entitled” to a certain “kind” of Christmas.

It doesn't HAVE to look like this!
We are not entitled to a big Christmas meal. We don’t have to have a ham or turkey to celebrate the holiday. There are many who do not have the ability to cook the big roast that has been given to them by some well-meaning group. Another option might have been better.

We are not entitled to a lot of gifts. Christmas is NOT defined by gifts, number or cost. I have memories of "big" Christmases and not so big Christmases. My father worked on commission.We always had something, and our needs were met. It built character; not expecting more than we could afford.

We are not entitled to warm, fuzzy feelings about Christmas. Music transports us in time to other eras, and that is what it is; but there are going to be years and seasons of life that we don’t feel warm and fuzzy, for any number of reasons. We may be ill. We may have family that cannot get to us for some reason. We may be lonely; and we may be able to do something about that. We can get together with friends and neighbors, or volunteer to serve at a community meal.

What we ARE entitled to is the celebration of the Birth of Our Savior. If you do not share those beliefs, you ARE entitled to that also. But Christmas is about ONE THING, and that’s its origin. The Birth of Christ. 

Worship. Awe. Adoration.

If you have that, you have everything you need to celebrate Christmas!

Have a worshipful day!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Back To The Future


We can all relate to being transported back to another time and place, when we visit an old home, school or other public building that was part of our childhood. I feel it sometimes when I visit the older buildings in Springfield, such as the Post Office, or Covenant Presbyterian Church, where I worked in 2002-2003 and was the place in my parents were married (ok, I wasn’t there for that!) and where I was baptized as an infant, and went to Sunday school as a child.

This is the lowest level: looking
towards the south. The door on
the right would go into the
auditorium if it were used.
Usually these places seem so small; smaller than we remember them. The simple answer is that we have gotten bigger, some of us more than others.

Upon my recent employment with the Fairborn Senior Center, I found that many of my clients lived in the Fairborn Central Senior Apartments, AKA Central Elementary and Junior High from my youth. I find myself in this building almost once a week for one thing or another.

I have always had an interest in architecture, and it always thrills me to see older buildings “re-purposed” for good uses. In the 1980’s the Fairborn City Schools realized that it was just too costly to keep Central School open and it was closed. It sat empty for a very long time and I don’t know when the sales transaction occurred; but I remember touring it under construction in the time period of 1997-1999, because I remember where I was working when we were invited to take this tour.

After it was finished, there was a public Open House, and Jerry and I attended that, leaving our children, 14 and 9, in the car, because they couldn't have cared less. I, on the other hand, was fascinated.

Some of the apartments actually kept the old blackboards, the windows were all kept intact—as much as for the historical façade as anything—and the lockers were still lining the halls. Each apartment is somewhat different, although there are some that are similar, such as the end units.

I was absolutely amazed at what they did with the gym. I have to admit, I was a little sad too, but it was great design. On the second floor (street level) there is an open lounge/ game room area, and you can see the bottom 5 or 6 rows of bleachers. I believe there is an apartment on the other side of the game room. On the third floor, the ceiling is much higher in the multi-use room, and you can see the TOP 6 or so rows of bleachers. I do know there is an apartment on this level. This third floor room is suspended.

All the halls have carpeting in them, but the marble is visible around the edges, giving the remembrance of the marble floors. The lockers have been kept as décor; I don’t believe they are in use. The area that is at the top of the front entrance steps is a lounge area also, kind of a “hang out” for the residents.

A new entrance is on the rear, with an entry into the old auditorium. This room looks almost exactly as I remember it. You cannot enter it from the lower level, but you would be able to from the second floor. I don’t think anyone does though. Remember, this is for seniors and the word here is flat. They can come down from the elevator, come into the new entrance and into the auditorium that way. The stage is there, the “backstage” has been converted into a much-used kitchen for community meals. This space is used for meals, bingo and lots of other activities.

It is secure in that a visitor has to be buzzed into the main building by a resident; however, anyone can go into the community room. I went to a “garage sale” a few months back and I found a yearbook from Fairborn High School Class of 2002 with a name on it. It was that of a church friend of my daughter’s; I bought it, found her on Facebook, and mailed it to her.

The other day I had to visit a client and we had a wonderful visit. She lives in Ted Hammond’s ninth grade Physical Science classroom. If you recall, it was on the end of the building, and it has so much sunlight. I told her, “You know, I COULD live in this space!” It is one of the largest units and the rent reflects that, but it was gorgeous! She had a paper that I needed to copy so I had to run down to the lowest level to the office. The office was directly below us.

As I walked down two flights of stairs, which seemed very narrow to me, in my mind’s eye and ear, I could hear the din of children’s voices as they changed classes. It was surreal! It was as if the walls could talk.

Whenever I go into that building, I feel like I am in a time warp. Not all of the apartments are as visually lovely as that one; in fact, another day I was in a space that was built around the back of the elevator shaft, using every available inch. That apartment would set me crazy!

It was a thrill to find our ninth grade football trophy still in the trophy case. This almost-60 person can remember those exciting games like it was just a few days ago. Where does the time go?

It is possible that some of our schoolmates will live in this building some day. It will most likely be beyond my working days, but it will be interesting to see that transition happen.

If you ever have the opportunity to go to the Fairborn Central Senior Apartments, do it! Go back to the future, as I am able to.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Third Annual Class of 1971 Christmas Party


When we built our home in 2007, I told the hubs that I wanted a place that I could entertain. I didn’t really envision having annual Christmas parties for my classmates. I saw family outings, choir parties, Sunday school class parties, and Girls’ Night Out.

2010-taken by the hubs
In 2010, some of us had been getting together periodically at Giovanni’s restaurant in Fairborn, as well as other places. We decided we wanted to have a Christmas party. That first year we had nine people, although the invitation was open to all. This would be pot-luck: I would clean my house and make sure we had paper products, and make a couple of things and everyone else would bring a dish and maybe some pop. We had a guitarist and we sang goofy Christmas songs. I took movies on the phone and they won’t see the light of day, but we had a great time and lots of laughs.

2011-taken by my next-door neighbor
In 2011, we had a few more people, about thirteen; we had some new folks and a few people from the previous year could not make it. There was plenty of excellent food and we all overate. After dinner we sang Christmas carols, with a pianist this time. Pianist may be stretching it, but he could play the piano! We all joined in heartily and enjoyed singing some “silly” songs, as well as some traditional carols. Several people told me, “It has been years since I have been to a party where we actually sang Christmas carols.” Obviously, you have to have the piano, or other major instrument, and someone to play the carols; but it’s a pleasant memory of years gone by.
2011-taken by across-the-street
neighbor

This year, we met again and added yet another four people. We seem to have a core, but each year we have added new people. That is what I have hoped for. It was cozy in our living room and dining room with seventeen people; but we look forward to next year when we can also use the basement, now used by my son who still lives at home. Again this year, we sang our Christmas carols. We are certainly not ready to take this show on the road, but we had FUN.

Meeting together with high school friends and celebrate Christmas is special in that we are making memories and creating bonds that will last as we grow older together, and maybe don’t sing as well. We all have families, extended families, and many other friends and neighbors in our lives, but there is something special about people who knew us as a young person. While we have plenty of stories of back-in-the-day to tell on each other; we are just as likely to talk about our kids and grandkids, and our lives today.

And speaking of neighbors, here’s a shout out to two of my neighbors who have come over in 2011 and 2012 to take pictures of us as a group! We include spouses in the pictures!

I plan to host these Christmas parties as long as I am able to. I have to clean the house and that’s about all! After three years, many of these people know their way around my kitchen, and take care of things! Out of the corner of my eye, I saw one person refilling the ice bucket, and another replacing the kitchen waste can liner as I took the first bag of garbage out to the garage. Hopefully, people feel comfortable enough to be able to make themselves at home!

To those who have not made it (yet) but have thought about it, we hope to see you next year! Practice your singing!

P.S. I am thinking about a white elephant gift exchange too!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Fitness Journey: You Can't Make This Stuff Up!


You just can’t make this stuff up! The other night I sat down at my computer desk to check email (and Facebook) and shut down the computer right before going to bed. I had a shiny, satiny, full-length nightgown on that I have had for fifteen years; when some lady died and her heirs brought all her clothes to the church I was working for at the time. This was the only garment I was interested in, and it was brand new.

So, I sit down at the desk and the chair slides right out from beneath me. Whatever position my legs were going to be in, they were—right on the floor. I felt a little catch in my right knee and I just sat there for a little while—praying, “Please Lord, don’t let this be another ‘derailment,’” right before the wedding.

I managed to get myself up and into bed, none the worse for wear. No one saw this and I was not embarrassed. I fell asleep just fine and I slept well. But, in the morning, all was NOT well! I thought, “Perhaps it will get better as the day goes on, and I can go to boot camp.” This was not to be. I actually took the opportunity to skip boot camp and go to the basketball game that my son was coaching, and then to choir practice.

#1.  Greenon—vote the levy so we don’t have to do those awful steps in the gym! I usually do not sit down low as I know that is where the parents want to be. I became a parent. Heck, I AM a parent! (Actually, as the coach’s mom, it’s kind of interesting!)

#2.  Denise, remember, there are “handicap” parking spots at the church. You didn't have to climb up those steps from the lower parking lot.

By day’s end, I didn't feel any better.

But, I will say—this cloud has a VERY silver lining! First of all, the Coach made me do some things to diagnose the situation, and he said I had nothing to worry about. I listen to him. He was right. Just.take.it.easy.

So therefore, in My Fitness Journey, how am I going to handle this? I am going to take a break.  Knowing that I will not be exercising until I have danced at my son’s wedding, I KNOW I have to pay careful attention to what is going in my mouth. This is the highest priority right now.

One thing that I have definitely noticed is the gaining of time. While I don’t regret any of the time spent on exercise and strength building; I was having a little trouble holding it all together. This is not a normal year. I am working more hours at my paid employment, I have wedding “stuff” going on, as well as the usual Christmas traditions of our family, and my choir involvement, which ramps up at Christmas time. Gym activities were on top of that, and I was “coming apart at the seams.”

God must have known I needed to slow down and literally stop!

Oh, I can walk, and I can do the basics just fine. I am doing the laundry, I am cleaning the house for a party on Monday evening (pot-luck, I don’t have to fix an army load of food), and I am able to do my paid job with no issues.

But exercise—no thanks, I am just not running the risk of injury!

So here I am and I find myself with TIME! What am I going to do?

Well, the bride assigned me the very fun task of putting together favors for the wedding. Who doesn't like some mundane, routine chore, designed to give you carpal tunnel syndrome? Well, I got that done. Then I have actually read some material on the iPad! Right now I am reading Advent devotionals and a fiction book. I took a NAP!

Now, not to worry. I will return to the gym in due time. But as I sit here, I realize this is really OK too! Some of the other parts of my body and mind can be working too. I can interact with my family members.

In all things, balance. Come, Lord Jesus.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Derges' Digest: 2012 Edition


As I begin writing our Christmas Letter in early December, I am reminded that some big things still have yet to happen in 2012; but I am also reminded of how many blessings we have in our lives this year. This Christmas Season is unusually busy as we prepare for Joel and Lindsey’s wedding on New Year’s Eve, but it’s important to slow down, take time to prepare our hearts for the Advent of Christ’s Birth.

Where to start? I (Denise) broke my foot in May, took a trip to Atlanta in June, and began a new job as a Social Worker at the Fairborn Senior Center in July. I love what I do, helping the senior citizens of our community. It is a wonderful fit.

Jerry, while still substitute teaching some, began volunteering this summer at the Springfield Regional Medical Center. One day he “greets” and another day he drives a golf cart around the parking lot, picking up people who need some assistance. He really enjoys this new venture!

Jessica and Brent both got promotions at Nationwide. She and Brent are doing well balancing work, parenting, basketball coaching, church activities, marathon training and having a social life. Jessica ran the Air Force Marathon in September and the Columbus Marathon in October. Kyah turned one in June and she is a little doll. It has been pure joy watching her grow and change. Grandma and Grandpa love having her visit!
Joel coaching ladies with his former
varsity baseball coach. I love this!

Joel coached ladies basketball at his high school alma mater last winter, took graduate school classes, and substitute taught in the local schools. In the summer, he umpired, and worked in marketing (the web site and Facebook page) of a trophy shop in Xenia, while beginning the football season—and taking summer grad school classes. In August he was hired at a charter school in Trotwood as an intervention specialist to 7th and 8th graders. He was still coaching football; and both school systems worked together to see that he could finish that. In fall he took two grad school classes and has two more classes spring semester; in June 2013 he will have his Masters Degree in Special Education. This November, he began his second year coaching women’s basketball as JV coach.

My five children on Easter Sunday.
Lindsey graduated with her Bachelors in Nursing in June and began her job as an RN in Labor and Delivery at Miami Valley Hospital the day after Joel started teaching in Trotwood! Joel and Lindsey were baptized on Easter Sunday morning, which made that a very special day for us.

Taken somewhere in Alaska!
While they were beginning their careers, Jerry and I were cruising the Inner Passage on our way to Alaska to celebrate our 35th anniversary. That entire trip was 14 days, and we saw fabulous things, had incredible experiences, and got very tired. It was a trip like no other!

After we got home from Alaska, wedding mode moved into high gear. I still participated in choir and taught Sunday school, but felt I should cut back on other things. In March I joined a fitness club, and I have been working hard at losing weight and gaining strength; so work and going to the gym took up most of my time.
Little lady with a new coat.
In October, Lindsey took occupancy of her and (to be) Joel’s apartment; and a few days later my mother moved into her own place. November brought showers and birthday parties and holidays. We spent Thanksgiving at Jerry’s sister Sharon’s home and another meal at the home of our daughter.

In December, we look forward to my Third Annual Class of 1971 Christmas Party on the 10th, and the Church Christmas Musical on the 15th and 16th. Our family Christmas is the 16th. Then we will have a little respite before the activities of the wedding on New Year’s Eve.

We will ring in 2013 with a BIG BANG! We wish your family the happiest and holiest of holidays!
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Last year's Derges' Digest can be found here.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Turning 60: November, Jersey Boys!


What makes otherwise sane, conservative, longtime married people go and see a traveling Broadway show FIVE times? What makes us overlook language that we would never use in everyday life, watch a story that doesn’t relate to our experience whatsoever and travel all over two states to see this show.

It’s simple. The music.

Music always takes us to another place in life. It takes us to feelings we had; experiences we had, even if there’s no way it can be a part of our life today. It makes us feel young(er). And it’s good stuff!

Jersey Boys is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. They were from Newark, New Jersey, not Kansas! The language is colorful, and while I personally think some has been added in today's culture, back in the day they didn’t say “golly gosh” either. The story involves their relationship to somewhat (un)organized criminal elements. It involves chemical abuse and relational dysfunction. It’s the stuff all of life is made of; only, for us anyway, to a bigger degree.

But it’s the music that brings you back. The vocals of today are more polished and trained than a bunch of kids from Jersey, the technical equipment that is available at our disposal today is far superior, and the way that the story, while true—although I am sure there is some poetic license taken—weaves the story with the song is fabulous.

The story is developed into four “seasons.” In the spring are the beginning years; just getting someone to listen and play the songs. Although Franki Valli is discovered by Tommy DiVito, the first years are marked with musicians flowing in and out of the penal system of the day. It is Frankie who brings Bob Gaudio into the group, infusing his songwriting into the picture. He isn’t the “performer” and never wanted to be. 

One of the moments of the show that maybe you don’t get the first time you see it is the scene between Frankie and Bob; whereby they strike a deal combining their creative talents 50/50 outside of the other two members: Bob’s songwriting revenue (future) and whatever Frankie MIGHT do outside the group. They settle this matter with no contract, according to the story, other than a “Jersey” handshake. (True? I dunno!) This partnership, however, is still in existence today.

During this scene, Frankie says something like “Could we maybe add a saxophone?” and Bob responds with, “We’ll have a whole SECTION of horns!” as he dreams of the future. This is a very important statement, and the storyline comes back to this later.

The next season really begins with the song “Sherri,” which is thrown together on a napkin or something, and it becomes a huge hit (1961). This song is followed by “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man,” and they have arrived as a group. During this same time, the British Invasion was occurring in our country; but it is noted that the Four Seasons’ music was embraced by more of the blue-collar element. I don’t know; my family was not blue-color, and I was listening to this stuff too! (Along with the Beatles, Herman’s Hermits, etc.)

A not-so-subplot is the involvement of Tommy with organized crime. He gets into the hole to the tune of about $750,000—which I am estimating, although I heard the number one million thrown around, which might have been interest added. Frankie decides that, although Tommy is being taken to Vegas to be “watched” by the Mob and is no longer a part of the group per se, he (Frankie) will pay every cent of that debt back, the honorable way, by earning it.

When Nick Massi decides on a whim to leave the group (1965); there are, even in his own mind, many different reasons for his departure. So Frankie and Bob are left. They hire two new “Seasons,” but eventually Bob gets out into songwriting totally, and they hire another two men; putting Frankie out in front, creating Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

At this point in the show (1967), Bob writes two songs, “Marianne” and another one that is "different," that no one wants to take a chance on. The song is not named as he talks to this promoter and that promoter about it. Finally, Bob, believing so much in the song, finances it himself. This is the Fall of the story. Frankie has finally arrived and it is a HUGE hit! (Solving all the financial woes, although that’s probably simplistic)

This is the climax of the story as far as I am concerned, and I have seen it five times. They start the music and there is this collective sigh in the audience. “You’re just too good to be true…” (Song title: “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”) And during this song, as the lead is building the natural momentum of the song….in comes the horn section. It’s the moment! He’s arrived! Usually, this song itself gets a standing ovation, although it didn’t in Cincinnati.

However, all of this success doesn’t come without a relational price. Frankie’s first marriage dissolved many years prior, and his daughter overdoses on something –we aren’t told exactly what. After the high of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” we dive into “Fallen Angel,” as Frankie sings about his departed little girl. After five times, I still tear up; and I hear noses blowing all over the auditorium.

The Winter of the story is the Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1990), where the original group is brought together again.  Tommy and Nick had left estranged, but they returned and joined Bob and Frankie onstage for the finale. The last song is “Who Loves You?” and the encore is “Oh! What a Night!” and no one is left sitting in their seat.

Because I write this as I am “turning 60,” you might think that the audience was my peers. While I would say that most were; both my husband and I sat next to young people. I sat next to a 22-year-old woman and her boyfriend, and she knew ALL the music, taught by her parents and grandmother. Jerry sat with a young woman, whose mother was on the other side of her, and sister was on the other side of mother. This was a mother of our age, exposing her daughters to music that was different from what they generally listened to, and passing on the experience to them. Jerry’s young neighbor thought the dancing was wonderful and he pointed out to her that it was authentic for the time period. I don’t think she thought of that, she just thought that someone made it up today to go with the songs.

The entire show was very authentic to the time period, which is what I think is part of why people keep coming back. We are not alone. I know many who have seen it twice—I don’t know anyone who has seen it five times! We are transported back in time to an era that was certainly not without problems; but seems simpler to us today.

Oh! What a Night!

Dates and details are found here.