Friday, September 16, 2011


I learned a lot of what I know by osmosis or exposure. Growing up in the barnstorm life was an atmosphere  that  reveled  seat of your pants thinking.

Shows, tours, publicity, development, creativity, travel, were  entrenched in my developmental years.
My brother once said to me that I was not able to be satisfied with a day to day life after it all ended.
I approached life in my interests ,careers and volunteer life  with that  zest. Hired in jobs in men's positions, recognized in my community for trailblazing new ideas. Was there any other way?

I have spent the last decade and more of my life researching and piecing together the magnitude of what I experienced growing up as a child and teenager and young women. My experiences are shaping themselves into a book. My recollections and memories are shaping themselves into a feature film.

Each of us conformed enough, but we are we are independently free thinkers I have worked in professional sports-Boxing, a brother in broadcasting, as well as me, another brother fighting for the misunderstood or less fortunate, a sister who should be a professional genealogy specialist, another brother in music. All seven of us have adventurous bones.

Born to parents of trailblazers we are all able to handle life on life's terms a little tougher than some because we think with  an approach that is open ended. We all have an advocacy gene which also came from osmosis. Allot of  the business revolved around raising funds for causes and groups. From Lions Clubs to iron lungs. My dad also had a relationship with the Illinois Moooseheart orphanage. He would book variety entertainment acts  for their fund raises and donate his own money. Easters we as a family were special guests, for the Easter Hunt .   My mom would spend time with the children .I remember her reading books to them as I sat on the floor in their bedrooms. My oldest brother had just returned from Viet Nam in 1969 shortly after our Easter visit. My dad had booked some acts in Harvard, Illinois for another fund raiser for Mooseheart.  My brother went to take care of the acts and  pay them, he never made it home. His mustang was pushed off the road by someone a phone call came in the middle of the night that would change his and  our life forever. He  was med flighted and in a coma with a long road back that caused permanent medical difficulties for him for life. My brother was with my dad since he was an infant on the road and he was going to hand the reigns over to him to run his barnstorm business that was no longer possible.

My oldest sister was sent out on the road  to handle the pageant business without adult supervision as a teenager . I was driving thousands of miles  at sixteen  to manage productions  and sent out to handle the Harlem Queens professional barnstorm basketball team at nineteen by myself.
I worked by my dads side in bookings, promotion, publicity, in my formative years. What he taught me is immeasurable and allowed me to step into positions I was hired for with no experience in each field the osmosis set in.

From idea or concept to fruition and follow through those are skills  I learned by osmosis. There was no room for fear, trouble shooting and dealing with bumps in the road and egos  were required skills.

I imagine my dad and mom thought sending adolescents out on the road was not unusual or unsafe.
My dad was booking the jazz and Big Band Orchestras with crooners as they were called at fifteen, on his own. My mom joined his barnstorm pro basketball team traveling  hundreds of thousands of miles a year just out of high school. What was normal is our family was normal to the other barnstormers.

I met variety acts with kids traveling with their parents making a living as entertainers and saw young seventeen year old girls out of towns with populations less than the crowds they played go on the courts as professionals taking on a man's game. Osmosis and developmental years .

Today when an actor or musician talks about taking their family with them on tours they are revered by some criticized by others for exposing their children to the road. The best education a child can receive, is  exposure to  a rainbow of people communities and   enviroments  and experiences.

Harlean who was a Texas CowGirl said " to this day I can still pack and be ready to go in an instant because I lived that way for years and was responsible as team manager for getting everyone going  and on time to the next game",

The next town, the next game, the next show, the next city, the next season, the next finals The Next was an anthem in our house, and for the small network of barnsormers that lived that  glorious  life.

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