The Way it Was

Is there someone in your life who made a strong, positive impact? Someone who motivated you to step out of your comfort zone? My answer is yes, and this is my story:

The year is 1970…and tonight’s special performance takes place in my home where the center of the living room is my stage and an antique mahogany chair is my podium. A small cassette tape recorder rests on the floral cushioned seat. I wear a powder blue dress and my shoulder-length brown hair usually worn down is swept up into pigtails. I press play on the recorder and sing my heart out. My parents and aunt and uncle cheer me on from their seats, and following my curtsy when the last melody is sung, they tell me the show was phenomenal. That night remains as glowing as yesterday’s sunrise. I was nine years old but already knew I wanted to be a singer. Barbra Streisand became my vocal idol. Her voice wowed me the first time I heard it, and regardless of how often I listened to her, my arms would get goosebumps. During those years, I fell asleep each night with one of Barbra’s albums spinning on my record player, lulling me to sleep. Unbeknownst to the amazing singer, many a night we would perform a duet using my special hairbrush-microphone. I had a wild imagination and wanted to be just like her.

Whenever I had the chance, I held concerts in my room, imagining sold-out crowds. As a teenager, I joined school choirs, but it was not until my junior year of high school that I truly found the self-confidence to pursue my dream. That year, the music department welcomed a new teacher, Ron Perry. He was in his mid-twenties and became more of a friend to his students than a teacher. He treated us as equals, and over time, it was natural for us to call him Ron. During his first week, he focused on listening to us individually to determine what part we would sing. I was nervous when he called my name, but I managed to echo the notes he played on the piano, and was surprised when he praised my singing ability. I knew I could carry a tune, but to hear these encouraging words from the new teacher boosted my self-esteem. 

I became part of the alto section and the choir soon began working on a Christmas repertoire for the December concert. The solo offered was a jazzy version of “Silent Night” and I was one of several students who auditioned. I was thrilled to be chosen – this was my first solo. The concert took place in the school’s historic Louis E. Plummer Auditorium; with the plush red seats and bold red curtain, I felt privileged to perform a solo in this iconic building. Little did I know then that another big solo opportunity was on the horizon.

Ron continued his teaching outside of school as the director of his church choir. In the upcoming summer of 1978, the choir was going on tour to the east coast. He was generous to invite the high school choir to tryout if they wished to join the road trip adventure. I auditioned for the rock gospel solo but had not planned to, believing I only had a voice for ballads; the song was “Hallelujah” by the group, Seawind. Ron wanted me to tryout; he felt my voice would be good for the solo. My feelings were opposite. I told him that I couldn’t sing a rock song! I probably couldn’t even reach that high note! Despite my can’t-do attitude, I auditioned, executing that high note! I was one of three contenders, though – not a shoo-in, but the solo was mine. I was ecstatic and thanked Ron for nudging me. 

With auditions complete and summer approaching, the choir prepared for tour. Excitement bounced off the walls. Mostly teenagers, we traveled in a classic yellow school bus, leaving Southern California and heading across country. What a crazy, fun time that bus ride was, laughing and singing and getting to know each other while blazing through state lines. We had several performances on the calendar and we stayed in the various churches where the concerts were held. I performed “Hallelujah” in each concert and was exhilarated by the positive reactions.

When the tour ended, that rock solo led me to perform for a convention with an audience of more than 2000, and what an experience singing for so many people. Before I walked on stage, Ron told me that if I get nervous, to look above the heads and don’t make eye contact. He said that a smile makes you feel good, but a negative look can affect your singing. I must say, the far wall of the concert hall needed a paint job! Afterwards, the event planner praised my performance, and I held onto her words for what seemed like eternity. 

“Hallelujah” also paved the path to winning 2nd place in the senior talent show the following year. I have tucked vivid memories of that exciting evening into a corner of my mind. I opened up the second act singing the rock song. My pianist, Kathryn, started playing the introduction as the red velvet curtain rose. In spite of the butterflies in my stomach, I walked on stage into the limelight and began belting out the lyrics. Hearing the audience clap after I sang the last note whirled me into euphoria. I closed the act by singing Barbra’s “The Way We Were,” and the audience’s reaction was even more passionate than the first. So this is what it feels like, I thought. 

Lauren talent show 1979

Even though singing was my ultimate passion, my priorities shifted after graduation. I lived with my parents at the time but was ready for a taste of independence; however, the only way to make this happen was to quit college and begin earning a steady paycheck. I made the choice. I put this plan into action, placing my dream of a singing career on the back burner. Several years passed when I met the man who soon became my husband, and in the years to follow, our family grew when our daughter and son were born. But this life trajectory did not stop me from singing. My husband and children stayed entertained with my serenading around the house. I even joined local choirs. Eventually though, my time was devoted to family and less and less to singing. But I was proud when my daughter developed the same passion, adding harmony to those years.

Memories of listening to Barbra – becoming mesmerized by her beautiful voice and even her quirky, yet classy Brooklyn personality – remain a dynamic part of my youth. She inspired me to pursue something I truly loved and my high school experience was better for it. I was also fortunate to see her in concert at The Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim. When she strolled on stage in an elegant black gown, opening the concert with the song “As If We Never Said Good-Bye,” my eyes welled up. It was an evening of pure magic.

I believe most of us have a favorite teacher who made a great impact on our lives. Ron was that teacher for me. To say that he was influential sounds minimal. His way of encouraging me to try for those seemingly unreachable solos, jolted me into stepping out of my insecurities. Because of his faith in me, I danced into a world where if we try new things, pushing fear aside, there is a good chance for positive outcomes.

I had my moments in the spotlight. I felt the excitement and anticipation of walking onto that stage, listening to the inspiring buzz from the audience when I sang those first few words. I am grateful for this time in my life and I will always offer the sincerest appreciation to Barbra and Ron. If it were not for them, my passion would have fallen by the wayside without the chance to crescendo into such a memorable musical past.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

I hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane, and if you answered yes to my question and feel like sharing even a snippet of your story, I’d love to read about it. ❤

 

 

 

 

A Trio of Sorts

An icy gust shadowed him
around the corner,
grazing his earlobe and
sending chills across the way
His Italian wool threads
exuded perfection
even as he slid into leather –
heading for someplace
he labeled important

Then birdsong matched
her mood and with her cell
on speaker,
passersby became privileged
Her long coat sufficed,
but she tightened the belt
as the gust wrapped itself
around her like a python
When the hailed driver
met the curb,
she smugly skimmed
over the back seat
until satisfaction found her –
phone chat uninterrupted

And across the way,
huddled against the
weathered building,
he imagined a handful
of warmth
yielded from his worn beanie
and threadbare coat –
layers of blankets
occupied his dreams
No complaints fell
from his chattering teeth
Instead, his eyes were alert
and his mind formulated wishes

Lauren Scott © 2018
(re-write)

 

 

Accomplishments

This past Saturday was our son’s college graduation from UC Davis. He majored in Political Science and minored in Communications. We’re so proud of his accomplishments and can’t wait to see where his next adventure takes him. My husband and I are now proud parents of two UC Davis grads, and the college days have ended. 🙂

This leads me into sharing some wise quotes on chasing dreams and being true to yourself at the same time:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Always believe in yourself and always stretch yourself beyond your limits. Your life is worth a lot more than you think because you are capable of accomplishing more than you know. You have more potential than you think, but you will never know your full potential unless you keep challenging yourself and pushing beyond your own self imposed limits.” 
~ Roy T. Bennett

“Dreams become regrets when left in the mind, never planted in the soil of action.” 
~ Auliq-Ice

“The point of dreams was never to be the affordable option, it was the one everyone else saw as a mistake and every creative person saw as an opportunity.” 
~ Anastasia Bolinder

“Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.”
~ Paulo Coelho

SO, CHEERS TO REACHING FOR THE STARS AND TOUCHING THAT FINISH LINE. BUT…CHEERS TO ALSO TRYING YOUR HARDEST, MAYBE FAILING, THEN HAVING THE COURAGE AND PERSEVERANCE TO GET BACK UP AGAIN! 🎉🎉🎉

 

Wishes, New Days, & Popcorn!

dandelion arctic

Visualize it: Close your eyes. Get in the zone, and focus solely on your wish – Nothing else!  Another idea is to make a Vision Board. Have you heard of these? Cut out photos from magazines that represent your wish. Or, if you’re super creative and skilled, you could draw, draw, draw! 

Believe it: Don’t let the face of doubt stare you down into a puddle of self-pity.
Don’t let the hand of
negativity hold you down in the sinkhole of “I can’ts.”

Do it: Take action! If you think by sitting on your sofa – remote in one hand, popcorn in the other – is going to make your wish a reality…think again! 

Image result for making wishes come true

“Do the thing and you will have the power.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

(It’s as simple as that.) 

 

New Day, New Dreams

Today’s a new day
for that baby step
Don’t even look back
just take a deep breath

 Don’t listen to words
that may keep you still
Optimism is your friend
along with your will

 Keep your dreams in view
not allowing them to stray
With fear on the sidelines
You Can Be Brave

 Instead of your heart
wear strength on your sleeve
Stay focused with soul
and in Yourself, Believe!

So, did you make a wish?
If so, what are you going to do about it?

 

Lauren Scott © 2018
Photos: LScott/SabrinaFair
Image: I wish – Google
Poem from my book,
New Day, New Dreams

Mirage

His mind floated through life
where it couldn’t be stopped,
even his logic kept flight

Her face controlled his dreams
as he struggled between the
crevices of reality
below the moon’s supervision

He desired to write poetry,
wordless poetry on her silky skin,
how the touch and taste of her
would be rich to his spirit

But knowing she was far out of reach,
her whispered kisses
wove softly through his fingers

 Lauren Scott © 2016

Shelf Life & Simplicity

I think we all strive for more than temporary happiness, but I’m guilty for eagerly anticipating the weekends. Those are two days in which I can live by my own schedule and do whatever I please. That being said, I’m extremely grateful for our jobs and
on a deeper level, we should embrace each day for the gift it is.
This quote by Vikrmn conveys several points, not all agreed upon, but the larger meaning for me is to focus more on concrete happiness and to allow oneself to dream big – the photo was another gorgeous sunset from last week.

Work picassa 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes an ordinary event is most meaningful. The photo below was taken when I visited my daughter at her work. We’re grateful she is now employed full time after graduation and she’s enjoying it. This was a simple day surrounded by beauty.

lauren 1 edited BESTMay your “today” be blessed and every day following, and may you live in the simplicity of what makes you happy. ♥

 “The bigger the dream, the better the story.” ~Richelle E. Goodrich

Lauren Scott © 2015