As Mother’s Day approaches, I want to thank all the special moms who supported me through the years. Parenting a neurodiverse child is challenging and makes it difficult sometimes to find understanding friends. When I was struggling, long before my child’s ADHD diagnosis, two moms stepped forward and gave me hope and the gift of friendship. This blog is in honor of them.
Written in the Stars
Today marks what would have been my mother and father’s 72nd anniversary. Talk about a love story! They met acting in summer stock at the Boothbay Playhouse in Maine. As Dad put it in his memoir, Any Way I Can; 50 Years in Show Business:
“My third summer at the Playhouse required the usual mundane chores before the season began. One morning, while painting a garage door on a ladder in my ragged old yellow terry cloth robe, a car appeared in the driveway. Out of it stepped a knockout blonde ingénue, Barbara Meyer. Her parents had driven her up from New Jersey to be certain it was a safe environment for their daughter. Having already seen her black and white publicity photo hung on a wagon wheel in the lobby, I eagerly awaited her arrival. She glanced briefly at me and assumed I was a maintenance worker.”
Together they starred in many plays that summer and the next, and married on May 7, 1949. But Ozzie, my mother’s father, and his friends had some reservations:
“In the men’s room at the reception, one of Ozzie’s friends actually came up alongside me at the urinal and asked, ‘How do you intend to support Barbara?’ It really floored me. Together, Bobbie and I had saved a few hundred dollars. I don’t remember what I muttered in response, but I thought the question on this night, on this occasion, at this place, was insensitive. The truth is all of her family’s friends were concerned that Bobbie was marrying an actor. The poor girl. God, what a terrible thing to have happened.”
After cutting their honeymoon short for my mother’s appearance on a television show, John and Bobbie continued to audition and cross their fingers. It wasn’t long before their dreams came true:
“Harvey Marlowe, the man who saw our audition in New York, called to say WOR, Channel 9, had signed us to do a domestic comedy in the fall. They wanted a fifteen minute show, five nights a week. ‘Who will write them?’ I asked.
Fifteen minutes? Five nights a week? All we had was the ten minute audition sketch. Impossible. And I’m not really a writer. I called Harvey Marlowe immediately.
‘We’re thrilled with the offer.’”
After a few years on television with many scripts under his belt, Dad started getting writing jobs, which replaced acting as a means of support. Eventually, a lucrative Hollywood offer brought my parents out to California. Dad wrote the film, “Run Silent, Run Deep,” and his career turned into solid gold. Mom left acting to have me, then my brother, Larry, and then my sister, Liz. But as soon as we were all off to college, she went back to the stage, performing at the Nine O’Clock Players children’s theater in Hollywood.
Through it all, Mom and Dad held on to each other as soulmates. They believed their stars were meant to collide. On their anniversary, I step out into the clear, dark night and feel their love for each other illuminate the sky.
Over the years in my quest to help my child with ADHD and now complete a memoir about it, I accumulated many books on the subject. Maybe it’s the teacher in me or just my passion for books, but I ended up with a pretty good collection. This month’s blog focuses on some of my favorites.
Even though I’d heard that communication is a skill we learn and practice, no one told me how important that would be in raising my child. Between Lee’s inability to focus, a lot of hyperactivity, and emotions that were hard to regulate, it became my challenge to find a different way to communicate. In this month’s blog, I put together the tips that worked for me over the years. Hope you’ll find one that works for you!