27 March 2015

Published March 25, 2015 by rochellewisoff

Another Hightway

FIC

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The following photo is the PHOTO PROMPT. Does it ignite a song in your heart? Sing it in one hundred words or less. 

PHOTO PROMPT ©David Stewart

PHOTO PROMPT ©David Stewart

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

CURTAIN CALL

            “What’s to become of me?” whispered Minnie as she sat beside the hospital bed and gazed at her wrinkled hands that used to make the piano sing.  

            “Mama?” Maud opened her eyes. “The concert…the audience…I let them down…”

            “You have a little gastritis. You’ll be well enough for your concert on January 8th.”

            “Do you love me, Mama?”

            “Who made sure you practiced your violin twice a day?”

            “You did.”

            “Who sacrificed everything so you could study in Europe and become the famous Madame Powell?”

            “You did.”

            “And don’t you forget it. I did it all for you.”

            “Did you?”  

For more about Maud Powell

133 comments on “27 March 2015

      • I don’t think it does depend on the parents, Rochelle. I think it’s driven by the parents’ genetic imperative. The parents are largely spectators. Not very flattering a picture, I grant you, but well supported by the available evidence.

        Like

        • I can see where this could go into a lot of discussion, Mick.

          I had a cousin who was a doctor. I never knew until his later years that Andy never wanted to be a doctor. He did it to please his dad. It explained a lot to me.

          Like

    • Dear Björn,

      I’m truly sad for parents who live vicariously through their children. I am way too selfish to do that. I’m very proud of the men I raised, three individuals.

      Thank you for the comments and compliments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear J Hardy,

      Actually Maud was a difficult one. While she was a highly accomplished musician and the first American violinist to receive international recognition there wasn’t a lot of drama recorded about her life. It took some digging. But that’s the fun of writing historical fiction. 😉

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Ah, nice take: both on the prompt and the interesting history. I think there is a little bit of every parent who wants their kids to achieve the things they never did…
    Nicely done.
    KT

    Like

    • Dear KT,

      In all honesty, while I wanted my children to achieve, I never thought of imposing my own ambitions on them. I’m not sure if that makes me uncaring or weird, I just never did. Maybe it’s because I had all sons. All of them have artistic talent and are gifted musicians.

      At one point when one of my sons was in high school, a guidance counselor told me she thought he was in competition with me.

      At any rate, thank you for reading and commenting.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Ah those crazy stage moms (somehow it always seems to be the moms, doesn’t it?)
    When they are lucky, the child actually enjoys the music (or whatever art they are being pushed towards); too often there is built-up resentment, though.
    This one definitely pulls at the heartstrings!

    Like

    • Dear Elephant,

      Fortunately for Minnie, her daughter was talented and driven as well.

      Light blue touch paper and retire?

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. So appreciated.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Lovely as usual, Rochelle.You capture the emotion of a conversation that is both nothing and everything to those having it. And as others have said, a fascinating question about parenting

    Like

  • As always, a great story and lesson about History and a bit of fiction. I loved the link with the Victrola recordings. I am so upset with myself about getting rid of my Victrola many years ago. NO, it was not new. I read some of your thoughts…..

    Like

    • Dear Jan,

      I love it that you take the time to comment along with your constant support. I remember that Victrola. We should’ve kept it. And to your last line I say, “Whah, honey, whatevah do you mean?”

      Love,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Indeed, parents give everything for their children, and I think they love them so much that they can’t help but lead them towards the path they think it’s best as they grow old, regardless of what their child might actually want.

    Like

  • Hm, was the mom projecting her hopes and dreams onto her daughter, or does the daughter have misperceptions of her mom’s mothering? I don’t think I want to know the answer, I like the story just as it is.

    Very thought-provoking for me. A great tale in so few words.

    Like

  • Dear Rochelle

    This beautifully written story really speaks to me on a personal level. I was the teenager who longed to go to art college but was told that I’d be wasting my time and better going to domestic science college. At which point I rebelled and got expelled from school! My husband had a similar experience, as all he’d ever wanted was to be a musician, as well as restore antiques. His parents said, neither of those things were proper careers, so he spent several decades as a stressed-out lawyer, but guess what he does now? He’s a professional musician and an antique restorer.

    I’ve been so careful not to force my own children down paths of my choosing, or make them something they’re not. To me, the whole notion of hot-housing children is abhorrent and more likely than not to cause them social alienation and, ultimately, severe psychological and/or physical illness. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but I think they’re fewer than those irreparably damaged by the experience.

    Thank you for introducing me to Maud. At least she delighted many with her talent, so I guess all that hard work was worth it, as far as the world was concerned.

    All best wishes
    Sarah

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve heard so many “horror” stories like this. My sister almost did the same to her daughter but came to her senses in time. Her two daughters are studying art – both are extremely talented and it would have been such a waste to be forced into some mould in which they would not have fit!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Dear Sarah and Dale,

        Thank you for sharing your personal experiences. My mother tried to talk me into taking secretarial courses in high school. I refused and she didn’t force me. I do thank her for teaching me to type. It comes in very handy these days. 😉 Although if I had to use a typewriter I’d have to own a white-out concern.

        I’m glad your husband is doing what he loves to do. Life’s too short to live out someone else’s dream. My cousin Andy became a doctor due my uncle’s prodding. Very sad.

        It just never occurred to me to “hot-house” my children. (Love that term…never heard it before.) They’re such amazing individuals and I hadn’t laid my dreams to rest–still haven’t.

        Thank you both for reading and leaving such wonderful comments.

        Shalom,

        Rochelle

        Liked by 1 person

  • Once more I’ve learned something from one of your historical stories, Rochelle, I guess we’ll never be sure who was the main pushing force behind her career. She no doubt didn’t want to waste her training and everyone’s hopes for her. There must have been stress though as her health seems to have broken. She could, however, have stressed herself, have been a perfectionist. Well written as always Rochelle.

    Like

    • Dear Suzanne,

      I think your spot on in your assessment, at least from what I’ve read. The relationship with her mother was only hinted at in one relatively obscure biography that I happened upon where she quoted her mother as having said, ‘I have achieved through you what I was never able to do myself.’

      No doubt, Maud was a driven individual in her own right to have achieved what she did.

      Thank you for your kind comments.

      Shalom,

      Roichelle

      Like

  • Parents (and especially mothers): damned if you do, damned if you don’t…
    A very potent tale simply told in the dialogue – as much said between the lines as inside them. And a new piece of history for me.

    With my son some of our silliest happy moments and biggest fall-outs were over violin practice. The violin is now long abandoned and he’s the family expert on history, forging a very different path from his scientific parents and teaching us a thing or two. You have to, but it’s not easy to let them go…

    Like

    • Dear MJ,

      My sons were driven in their own pursuits. I tried to encourage them to be individuals. My middle son, who was short for his age, took up trombone in band. Needless to say that endeavor didn’t last long. He’s now plays bass guitar in a band. It’s a much better fit. 😉

      Thank you for your kind comments on my story.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Your story could have remained at the anecdote stage, were it not for those last two words, that clever question. Parenting can run the gamut from apathy and neglect to well, I watched ‘Black Swan’ recently. I think that’s the other extreme. 🙂

    Like

    • Dear Ann,

      ‘Black Swan’ was pretty extreme. It’s not among my favorite movies, in fact far from it. However, I don’t think they were all that far off with the mother/daughter dynamic, if you read about Judy Garland, Patty Duke or Shirley Temple.

      My story is pretty much fiction with some facts thrown in. 😉 Your comments are most affirming.

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hadn’t read anything about Shirley Temple, but will do now. I’ve seen the dynamic in action many times. It’s actually a kind of child NEGLECT masquerading as something else entirely. 🙂

        Like

  • I kept waiting for Minnie to answer her daughter’s question, “Mama, do you love me?” So sad. Most parents live vicariously through their children, whether they realize it or not. We all want more for our children than we had for ourselves. We want to make their dreams come true, especially those dreams that didn’t come true for us. This was a wonderful story Rochelle. I love reading your stories. Always.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Joy,

      There’s a lot of fiction to this piece. Although Maud herself said what Mama said was law and that she “tested her for music” when she was three.

      Minnie had aspirations of playing piano and composing but her dreams never came true. Very sad, but I’m sure in that era, being a woman, she laid the dream to rest and married.

      I’m glad you like reading my stories, Joy. It’s comments like your that keep me writing.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you for explaining this Rochelle. 🙂 That is sad that Minnie tested her daughter for music at the age of 3 and that it had been her aspiration to become what Maud became, thus using Maud to make her own dream come true.

        Like

    • Yes, that repetitive and heartrending question reminded me (slightly) of the scene in the Giver.

      ###

      “Do you love me?”

      There was an awkward silence for a moment. Then Father gave a little chuckle. “Jonas. You, of all people. Precision of language, please!”

      “What do you mean?” Jonas asked. Amusement was not at all what he had anticipated.

      “Your father means that you used a very generalized word, so meaningless that it has become almost obsolete,” his mother explained carefully.

      Jonas stared at them. Meaningless? He had never before felt anything as meaningful as the memory. (16.56-60)

      Liked by 2 people

  • Dear Rochelle, Bravo! This was wonderful and inspirational. My sister-in-law in Denver taught strings in the Denver school system for many years and is now retired. She sends me clips of old musicians and I’m (If it’s okay to you) going to send this to her and of course I will give credit to your genius! Thanks, Nan

    Liked by 2 people

  • I love the last line and the reminder that some parents push their children in order to live vicariously through them.
    I read the Wiki article – I’m guessing maybe the scene you describe could be her first heart attack rather than gastritis.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ali,

      You’re an astute reader. Yes, her first heart attack was actually diagnosed as gastritis. Such is the difference in a woman’s heart attack, I’m told.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Kukla, Fran, and Ollie (all three of you),
    My mother wanted me to be Miss Universe, but alas I was born a male and disqualified at birth. There was also that “ugly stick” thing. Too bad, because I’ve always had nice legs and look good wearing a tiara.
    – Simon

    Liked by 3 people

  • Dear Simon,

    There are some mental images that just can’t be unseen. Thank s a lot for that. 😯

    Shalom from the three of us,

    Kukla, Fran and Ollie
    (Yes, I remember them quite well. Some of our younger writers are scratching their heads.)

    Like

  • Dear Rochelle,
    Every week, I learn something new from you. Thank you for another interesting and thought-provoking story.
    I think it’s a fine line between wanting for children to have a better life than oneself, and projecting one’s own dreams on them. It might be helpful to pause and think about who’s the real benefactor from time to time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear GAH,

      I suppose it’s easy for a parent to project her hopes and desires onto her children. I don’t believe I ever did, other than wanting them to be successful.

      Thank you for such kind comments. I’m always pleased to have a reader say that he or she has learned something.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Great story, Rochelle. I remember seeing parents who pushed their children at age 4 or 5 to master the violin or other instruments. It never made much sense to me. I’m sure the parents do love their children, but I fear the expression of that love is rather twisted.

    Peace,
    Marie Gail

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Marie Gail,

      Perhaps I was just too selfish with my time, but I could never see pushing my kids into anything they might not want to do. And maybe, that’s why they were stubborn enough to successfully pursue their own dreams. I stand in amazement at what each of them has become.

      Thank you for taking the time from CPC to comment. 😉

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Irene,

      It’s hard to say whether or not that was true in real life. Minnie sacrificed a lot to further Maud’s career. We can only hope she also gave her daughter the love she craved. My story is supposition and fiction.

      Thank you for your sweet comment re my story.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • For as long as there has been art, and performances, there have surely been stage parents. You’ve certainly captured that here, Rochelle. This was the first time I found myself a little confused within the story. I eventually got it (reading comments and re-reading), but not as clearly as I usually do. The music is quite amazing… Maude was certainly a great talent!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dawn,

      I’m not sure what was confusing to you but I’m glad you stuck it out. 😉 Maud was a great talent and an inspiration to women as well. It’s one thing to be the first American woman violinist to be internationally recognized, but she was the first American violinist…period. From what I’ve read I wonder just how much prodding Minnie actually needed to do.

      As always I value your comments every week. Thank you for taking the time.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle

    Your story reminded me of Gypsy Rose Lee, completely different area but so similar in many ways. Controlling mothers have a great deal to answer for, both good and bad. I too was a little confused as to who was who at first, but a second read through and the video clip set me straight. Maude certainly had a brilliant talent.

    Enjoy your Friday!

    Best wishes

    Dee

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dee,

      I apologize for the confusion. Maud and Minnie are similar names, but history forbade me from changing them. 😉 I suppose it might have been clearer if I’d used Minnie’s given name, Wilhelmina. Thank you for sticking with it to figure it out. Glad you liked the video. I enjoy violin in any event.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Alice,

      I believe by her own admission, Minnie was the quintessential stage mother. But I can’t help wondering how much prodding Maud really needed.

      Thank you for your comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I sense that Minnie and Maud don’t speak the same love language. The perception of love can be skewed, and you captured the complexity of that with this piece.

    I’ve been meaning to join the Friday Fictioneers; I can finally say I’ve jumped in. 😀

    Like

    • Dear Izzy,

      It’s hard to say what really transpired between mother and daughter. My jumping off point was a quote from Minnie, ‘I have achieved through you what I was never able to do myself.’ The rest is a product of my imagination. I hope the words I wrote never really had to be said.

      I’m glad you jumped in with your story and your comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • An interesting piece … the last question of course makes one ponder … how often do parents push their children … even if they willingly let themselves be pushed into a direction that … who knows may not have been where the child was meant to go … lots of pondering to do here, especially for a parent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Georgia,

      In the case of my cousin Andy the doctor it was a clear case of the father’s wishes imposed upon the son. I never knew that until later in life and it makes me sad. Andy was a good doctor and dear friend. I miss him.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Erin,

      It never occurred to me to try to live vicariously through my children. Maybe it’s because they’re male or maybe it’s because I’ve always selfishly pursued my own dreams, children or no. Sometimes I think they’ve been successful in spite of me.

      Thank you for such a nice comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Thank you for another piece of historical information hitherto unknown to me, Rochelle. I can see from comments already made that the relationship between Maud and her mother raises strong feelings – particularly in the area of pushing children into careers the parents see as suitable. It’s all very thought provoking. 🙂

    Like

    • Dear Millie,

      Naturally I love to read glowing comments about my writing. 😉 Then I realize that a heated debate or all the musings about my subject are higher compliments. It means that the reader isn’t seeing the “writing” which is what an author strives for.

      I’m always happy to find bits of history I didn’t know myself and am delighted to pass it on.

      Thank you. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • I like these historical fiction pieces that you put in. They make me go around looking up more information. I suppose behind every ‘gifted child’ throughout history,has been one or two parents, managing, and possibly pushing their offspring to become prodigies.

    Like

    • Dear Subroto,

      From what I read about Maud Powell, it seems that Minnie pushed her hard, but she also pushed herself. I’d say that apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

      I’m glad you like my historical pieces. 😀

      Thank you for coming by.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Raising a child who becomes the best in their field requires almost as much commitment from parents as from the person themselves. It’s still a subject of debate as to whether it would have been kinder to have that person have a childhood. I suspect it will always be that way. I love the context in which you have framed this issue and the emotional moment you have chosen

    Like

    • Dear Siobhán,

      I suspect the debate will rage on as long as there are parents and children. I’m pleased that you liked my story in any event.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Very pertinent question at the end. I have witnessed many parents who live their own dream through their children. Tour story touched me. Feeling very sad for Minni. I’m very late this time, down with flu.

    Like

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