I grew up in Ohio. Cleveland, Ohio to be more specific. Shaker Heights to be super specific. Like all kids (including my own) I took most every second of this lucky upbringing for granted. I thought all homes had to have their garages at the rear of the house (thanks Little Fires Everywhere for this illuminating Shaker Heights tidbit).
Other small minded and myopic assumptions? All towns have sidewalks, greenspace, quaint mailboxes on corners and rapid transits half a block from your home where you go meet your dad at the end of the day for the evening family walk home with your dog Ziggy, and later, Oliver the cocker spaniel. I assumed all dads smoked a pipe in a quiet corner of a book walled library, blasted symphonies 24/7, studied opera in great detail in advance of viewing one, and always had a red pen at the ready to offer searing but useful feedback on one’s written homework assignments.
Family trips to Playhouse Square for whatever was included in our subscription were also the norm. Fun fact: Cleveland, Ohio is #2 behind NYC with the most Broadway size theater venues resident in its environs. Numbering: 14! Looking back on the tea leaves of my childhood all roads were leading me towards a culture infused life and I will now, world wizened, be forever grateful for that.
What really stands out amongst all my windfall childhood good fortune are the trips my mom and I would take to New York City when I was in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. Too young to understand what I loved about it – I loved every second of our mother/daughter trips to NYC. We would stay at my Uncle Bob’s – hi Uncle Bob! My mom, perhaps – no definitely – in concert with Uncle Bob would mastermind an all things NYC extravaganza. You probably won’t be too surprised to learn my mom is a planner!
I had my first frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity with her. My first sushi!? With my mom! I think you were there too Uncle Bob!? My first trip to the green space that is Central Park, which was a wonder even to my fifth grade brain? With my mom!! And my first jaw dropping and eye ball popping BROADWAY MUSICAL!! ANNIE!!?? With my mom.
I clutched my Annie Playbill like it was the most important document on the planet as we fought our way from Times Square back to Uncle Bob’s classic 6 apartment on the Upper East Side. I studied that Playbill for weeks afterwards wanting to be Sarah Jessica Parker (singing The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow fiercely into my childhood mirror over and over and over again).
In total there were three of these NYC mom/daughter trips – this translates to about 15 days. But they were EVERYTHING. They are the memories I cherish the most and are a giant part of the reason we all now gather as a group to immerse ourselves in the experience that is the performing arts on a regular basis. It is why I drag my kids to everything and why long after my two have flown the nest I will continue to plop family shows onto the Grab Your Group & GO calendar.
Thanks Mom! Thanks Dad! Thanks Uncle Bob! Am taking those early life lessons you gave to me and sharing them with ENTHUSIASM on the regular. So much sharing!
Can’t wait to to help plan the NYC trips for the youngers in this family photo!