I met a woman who wrote an amazing story about her very difficult, abusive childhood. The book was published and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 — You Better Not Cry. Although Janet is a great deal older than me, I consider her one of my closest friends. She has the most amazing ability to laugh at outrageous situations rather than scream. She once told me that screaming makes you sick, while laughter can cure just about anything.
In Janet’s book, she explains in detail how she was surrounded by chronic abuse inflicted by her alcoholic mother, pedophile “Uncle Jack” (who was really her mother’s boyfriend, not her real uncle), nine brothers and sisters that her mother decided she would be responsible for taking care of, all of this amidst extreme poverty. It was the 1940’s. While having to juggle these horrific conditions at such a young age, she found that what enabled her to keep her sanity… was singing. She sang constantly, and while she sang she dreamed of one day attending The Julliard School of Music in Manhattan. Her favorite song to sing was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” She could have easily been a superstar singer in the 1950’s and 60’s, that’s how gifted her singing voice is… but that life path apparently wasn’t meant to be.
All the same, her dreams did come true regardless… she survived. Not only did she survive, she succeeded.
Janet is now 80 years old, although if you met her you’d swear she was in her early sixties. She’s owned and managed a health food store for more than 40 years and has become a superstar at saving lives through health and wellness. She will sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow if you ever need a bright pick me up after a tough day. She’ll even sing it over the phone.
It looks as though the list of people who have been inspired by Somewhere Over the Rainbow goes on indefinitely…