Tuesday, December 08, 2009
"HEY, MOM-- SAY HELLO TO WALT UP THERE IN HEAVEN FOR US AND THANK HIM FOR
EVERYTHING IN THIS MAGIC PLACE"
These days I have two jobs. I sell cars for Nissan and there's my fun job working part time at the Disneyland Emporium. Every one there is so nice and wonderfully friendly . I've been working mostly at nights and because it's Christmas at the Disneyland resort, it's all very beautiful. The other night I had a bird's eye view of the Candlelight Procession-- which is a gathering of a great many choruses from schools and universities from all over Southern California. Jon Voight was the narrator this year and he did such a wonderful job. At the end of it, Jon looked up to heaven addressing his late mother and asked her to say "Hi to Walt" up in heaven and to thank him personally for all of the great traditions that he started. I must say that I am amazed just how busy this store is. People buy so much stuff that you say out loud "What recession?" One lady bought over nine hundred dollars of Disney memorabilia in CASH.It is simply amazing. The merchandise is all great stuff. Some of the sweatshirts and the children's outfits are really well designed. Of course when I get off at 2:45 in the morning, the park is completely empty and it looks all so surreal. It's quite an experience and a real joy to work here. The Emporium was one of the original 1955 shops open when the park opened on July 17, 1955. Saturday night, December 5th was Walt's birthday and it was a joy to remind my customers that it was indeed a very special day. It would have been Walt's 108th birthday. I am convinced that he is always watching over Disneyland. His loving spirit is all over the park, but especially on Main Street. So as I go home each night, I turn towards his old firehouse apartment and salute and say "Goodnight, Walt, thanks for all of this!"
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Thus was a sad day of reflection for me. And that's because thirty-five years ago at about 9:00 pm, I lost my dearest mother, Virginia Ricciardi in an automobile accident. My dear mother never had a chance. My mom was the kindest, the most loving and the most generous soul equal only to my dear father Louis M. Ricciardi. My mother was my very best friend. She truly believed in me-- and that was before I started writing songs. My mom would simply do anything for those she loved and those who loved her. WE kids never had a poor birthday or a poor Christmas-- not even a poor Halloween or the Fourth of July. I can remember so vividly that white flocked Christmas tree in our living room with every kind of present under it that you could ever imagine. My sweet dear mother would work so hard. She made home made pizza that everyone in the neighborhood absolutely went nuts over. She made the best dinners. Her specialties were Spanish rice, lasagna, meat loaf, tuna casserole (with a Bisquick brand crust) and roasts. I still adore roast beef today. But the real treasure that my mother held was her most amazing heart of gold. I loved her so much. She never tried to "change me". She accepted the who and what that I was "warts and all". I just wish she could have known about the songwriter that I have become . She played the piano and loved doing that. My Uncle Mario would come over on Wednesday afternoons and he would sing those wonderful sings like "Granada" " I Will Wait for You" "Old Man River" and "I Left My Heart in San Francisco". There is one haunting melody that my mother played-- especially after my dear father died in 1966. She absolutely missed him so much! I have put lyrics to it at last and now want to put the melody with the lyrics. I am certain my dear mother is in heaven. She was kind and loving to every soul she met. When my mother was your friend, dear readers, you couldn't find a better one in all the world. I am so grateful to her and my dad. I guess I got all the creativity in the family-- the music from my mother and the lyrics from my dad. My dad painted with brush strokes. I paint with lyrics to songs. Thirty five years is a long time, but I remember every sweet nuance of her character. I remember the way she laughed. I remember how she loved to go out and eat and have her little drink of whiskey with water on the side. I remember how she loved hot sauce on just about everything she ate-- even omelets and especially steak! She loved watering and planting in her garden. She loved badmitton and in her younger years adored tennis. She loved playing Canasta with my aunts and she loved us kids like no one else could. She loved her wine and smoked far too much and I lost her at age sixty-one on this date in 1974. Painful? Still! But I know that my dear mother who had a crooked spine and who just walking around the super market was a real challenge sometimes was my champion. I will love and honor her memory FOREVER. I miss you, "Mama Dootz"(my nickmame for her on Ralph Street days) I really truly miss you! Play the piano for God-- Lord knows He needs the comforting sound of those amazing melodies that you used to play for all of us!