I finally shared this blog with some friends and family. Yikes, people may actually tune in now! I guess I should explain where the name "Can You Hear Me Smiling" came from.
When I went to college, 4 hours west of good ole Glens Falls I found myself terribly homesick. Even after all my ramblings on of "I can't wait to get out of GF!" Little did I know that most of the students lived within an hour of the school, when I would say where I was from they would say Glens Falls?...you mean Watkins Glen right? No, wrong, I mean Glens Falls. Where's Watkins Glen? I eventually found my niche and made friends for life, but those first few months were tough. Probably more so for my parents. I would call home and the sound of my mom or dad's voice would render me speechless. I was paralyzed by the enormous lump in my throat. "How's things" they would ask and I would cry or complain about this or that, when all they really wanted to hear was that I was enjoying this time, one they never got to experience. One weekend day while I lamented to my father about all my woes and asked for the hundredth time why he couldn't just come and get me for the weekend?! He had finally had enough. He said so sternly into the phone, "You know no one came to pick me up in Vietnam! Go iron something or study or whatever, but stop complaining!" I was speechless, he was fed up. I felt like such a heel after I hung up. Here was my father, born into a family of six with no money, no family car, ever!, and certainly no means for college education. His only way out was to join the Navy and serve two tours of duty. And I, so priviledged to be going not just to college, but to a private college and not for business or teaching or nursing, but to be an artist? Graphic designer what are you going to do with that? My parent's never asked me that though, they never doubted, if I wanted to be a circus clown they would have tried their best to make it happen (well maybe we would have had a little discussion about gypsies and stability and does the circus provide health insurance?).
Throughout all my trivial whining he would send me notes and cards to cheer me up. For my 19th birthday he sent me a card with a curious little girl sitting on the beach in her bikini holding two seashells to her ears and out of the shells it says "Can you hear..." and on the inside "me smiling?"
He wrote, "Amy, Keep smiling, go for your dreams, have fun on "your" day. Love, Dad"
I guess we all need a little perspective in our lives at times. and sorry mom, if you're reading this, you get a whole lot of credit too, you mailed me cupcakes and suprise packages of love. Thanks for not coming to pick me up, tough love makes us better people. Too bad I can't use the "Vietnam" line on Luke someday, I doubt "No one came to pick me up in Scranton" will make that strong a statement!