Category Archives: events

Sally-Jane’s Winter Wonderland

My Dear Friends,

Last weekend we got our first snow of the season in the Berkshires. I was not happy.  I did not want the first, second or any snow of the season. I was having a family party. Relatives were coming from near and mostly far to attend.

As the snow blew in, I did what I am accustomed to doing… I tried to control the storm. I held my hands up to the sky and tried to force Mother Nature to take her bounty back. She had the last laugh as she dumped five more inches on the town.

IMG_0719Karen and Bill, who had arrived before the storm began, and my friend Cindy watched as I tried to control the uncontrollable. Waving my hands and I shouted to the wind, “BAH!  HUMBUG!” (which is also the name of an exterminating service on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills)

When my tirade had no effect, I took a pause and looked around me.

IMG_0708Here I was in a winter wonderland –  the yard was decorated – a Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (his red nose winking and blinking, her direct from the beauty salon with curly shining hair ); Poinsettias, holly, a boxwood tree, greens, winterberry sprouting from places throughout the yard and on the porch. When the snow hit the lights, they sparkled like diamonds.

Suddenly I realized how blessed I am. The real joy was being with dear friends who also
happen to be relatives.  Like the air going out of a balloon my ego settled.  Yet again, it was not going to be “my will be done”.  I’m telling you guys it was only when I let go that  I was able to see the real beauty and feel the gratitude.   All of us booted, gloved, donned hats and ran out to play in the falling snow.

I was an octogenarian kid.  If you don’t believe me, watch this…

Santa Sally and her merry elves,Karen, Bill, and Cindy in a Winter Wonderland 

I was wondering…  if I can “let go” of what I can’t control, like the storm, like what children or grandchildren or friends or relatives wear or don’t wear and what utensils they use while eating (hopefully they will use something) and what color hair and body piercings and political or nonpolitical affiliations… I am not saying I can…  but IF I can… I think I might have a Happier New Year.

Wanna try??????

Love ~ Sally Jane

Ghosts of Christmas Past…

Hello my dear friends…a holiday update!

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On Sunday, December 3rd, at Storrowton Village in Springfield, Massachusetts, I shall perform a holiday reading from Charles Dickens’, The Christmas Carol as part of their annual Yuletide Festivities. I have chosen to read the chapter, The Ghost of Christmas Past.

Did someone just ask why I chose this chapter? Thank you. I was hoping someone would.

This is not to say I have anything against the present. I don’t. The present is filled with wonders. Sitting at my computer composing this missile…absolutely marvelous.

The wonder that I can put thought to page makes the present brilliant. In the present I am clothed, fed and sheltered. Fantastic!

So why not choose The Ghost of Christmas Present? Well, honey-bun, because I would have to wait until Christmas. But most of all because at this stage of my life, thoughts about Christmas from my past waft in and out of my present and I remember.

What a sentence. I remember.

Oh, yes, how great is that. In the present, I put one foot in front of another. In the past, I sit back and I remember. And this is what I remember…

A very long, long, time ago, I grew up in Boro Park, Brooklyn. It was a very mixed neighborhood. There were Christmas lights on one house and next door there were Chanukah candles.

I was raised in the Jewish faith. My family celebrated Christmas and Chanukah. Do not ask me why. I do not know. When I was younger, I thought everyone celebrated everything. Why not? I wanted to be on whatever line there was that was giving out the presents. Wouldn’t you?

Family Christmas

And then, one year, I received a rude awakening. I think I was in 6th or 7th grade. Before the holiday school break, the class Christmas tree was raffled off. I won! I was so excited.

I remember pulling the tree behind me from school all the way to my house. I ran up the stairs. Yelling for my mother to come and see what I had won. I dragged the tree into the living room. I should have known something was wrong. My mother was sitting in a chair. My mother never sat down in any chair. I was the seventh of eight and believe me when I tell you I never saw my mother sitting down…including meal times.

But there she was sitting in a chair in the living room. Our Rabbi sat in another chair.

That was the year I discovered Jews don’t have Christmas trees. To save face, my mother asked me to throw the tree into the garbage. Heartbroken, I did as she asked. The Rabbi left.

My mother went out to the garbage and rescued the tree. Brought it back into the house and into the living room. I was loaded down with many of the mixed messages parents impart to their children. This was one mixed message that did not add to my growing list of neurotic complexes.

Along with so many of my memories of Christmas past, this one is favorite. It is right next to the vision I have of Christmas mornings…

On the staircase, all eight of us lined up one behind the other, according to age, the youngest first waiting for Santa to call us onto his lap to take us to our nest of gifts.

Kimono Blue
Santa Claus, aka my father, 6 foot 2 inches tall (how did he make it down the chimney!?) dressed with a Santa mask that had seen better days, and a gorgeous blue silk embroidered Chinese kimono… did I say CHINESE kimono?… I did say CHINESE kimono. That was his Santa Suit.

Did I believe this 6-foot 2-inch kimonoed vision was Santa Claus? You bet I did! Like I said before if he was the keeper of my presents, I was a believer.

In the present and the approaching season to be jolly, I want to tell you that the world of possibilities still exists for me. Though, a 6-foot 2-inch kimonoed Santa might strain my credulity. But what is a belief about if it is not about being tested?

I believe. Now, where are my presents?

Love, Sally-Jane

YULETIDE AT STORROWTON – Sunday, December 3 at 2:30pm

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Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder…Yeah, Yeah!!!

Hillary
I am depressed.  This morning I spoke to an intelligent and warm hearted woman.  We were discussing the Democratic National Convention.  For me, the only convention that promises “something” for women and children and men who like women and children.

 

Out of her mouth came, “Isn’t it a shame.  If Hillary were attractive people would vote for her.”

Hillary not attractive???  That must make me Godzilla’s twin.  I knew for sure the age of plastic celebrity had truly arrived.

If you are a woman and you want to be elected President, you have to have a TV show where you belittle and fire people or you have to be surgically enhanced to look “attractive”.

I don’t see the multitudes carrying on about a man with a little extra weight, a balding pate, wrinkles, tired eyes, socks that don’t match, jackets that don’t button anymore.

And as long as I am on the subject of trying to be someone other than who you are, what is it with the media who insist that a woman be all things to all people.

The commentators took Hillary over the coals because her speech didn’t knock it out of the park, was the phrase they used.

It reminded me of some stories about Abraham Lincoln.   According to reports, his voice was high and nasal and boring to listen to.  With the media on his case, aren’t we grateful print was the sole media of the day, he never would have been elected President.

We only has his printed words to know what kind of man he was as President.

We live in an age of presentation.  It’s as if we were all chefs arranging platters of food to please and make it appetizing.

Never mind what it tastes like or if it is healthy.  If it looks good it must be good.  This was how Lucretia Borgia took care of all those husbands.

I think people cannot handle real reality.  Look at the women leaders around the world.No!  Don’t look.!  LISTEN!

And women…stop it!  Stop asking a woman to wear the mask of acceptability not from what she says and what she stands for but for what she LOOKS like.

And furthermore…

Beauty and being beautiful and wanting to be beautiful this is not new. I am reading Claire Harmon’s biography of Charlotte Bronte. Charlotte characterizes herself as an homely, plain girl.  All the Bronte girls wrote about being plain women.

Agnes Grey, the title character of Anne Bronte’s book, “triumphs over the tyranny of being judged on appearances but the problem lingers in the reader’s mind long after the happy ending has been arranged.  Although Agnes knows that it is foolish to wish for beauty, “nevertheless she can’t help wishing she had some, if only to avoid the isolation or, worse, “instinctive dislike” that unbeautiful women constantly encounter”.

Enter Hillary Clinton?  You have to be kidding…

The Big Short of a Long Story

mobamaMy dear peoples of all colors, sex and whatever other differences you want to announce , if you heard Michelle Obama’s DNC  speech last night, July 25th, then you heard the plea for help…I was going to say cry for help, but that lady didn’t cry last night…oh, no, she shone, she pulled you right out of whatever discomfort zone this election has brought you to…come on my honies, get up, get out, put your heart, body and soul out there  for Hillary.

We know what women can do…we really do…prove it.  I don’t mean to offend.  I think.   Think about it this way.  Way back when, women were instrumental in the failure to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.  With this election, it’s make-up time.  And I am not talking powder and lipstick.  So ring those door bells, knock on those doors and bring her home.  All right, so the home is the White House.  If we ladies have the babies, clean the house, go to work, we can do it just as well in a White House as a house of any other color.

The Road Less Traveled: aka Life Without a GPS

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How old do you have to be before you are too old to run away?  Well, don’t ask me.  I was born with the urge to run away and I have a feeling I shall die wanting to run.  It’s in my DNA.

I think it might have something to do with my immigrant grandparentage. “The Cossacks are coming!  Everyone out of the shtetl.”  That’s another Blah Blah Blog.

With this election there has been a lot of talk,”If so and so is elected I am leaving the country”.  I sympathize.  Interesting though, wherever I run I take me with me.

My first adult run away was in 1996.  I was 63.  I was divorced.  That had happened years before.  As divorces go, it was not acrimonious.  We were married 27 years.  The “use by” date on the marriage had expired.  I am not being glib.  There was pain, disillusion, disappointment and most of all a surprising deep love.  I think most of us have learned, usually the hard way, that love is not all.

Then, I had a very intense love affair with a man for 13 years and in 1991, after a long illness in which I was his caretaker, he passed away.  Why didn’t we ever marry?  I could try to give you an answer but since I make it up as I go along my answer would depend on which day you asked the question.  Relationships… can’t live with them, can’t live without them. The last year of his life was important as I was confronted with something that most of us do our best to avoid…Death!

And my most important urge to run came in 1996, when the last of my three daughters married.  I think it is only human as long as the child is not married you are still the “Mommy”.  You have some place to go, something to do, and mostly something to say.  Empty nest? Shmempty-nest!  That too is another blog.

The divorce, the death, the last one married – it was time to run away.  With the help of friends, I rented a house for the month of August in Gascony (Southwest France) and a flat in London for September.  Did I want to be an American in France or an American in England?  Wherever I went, it was clear, I was always going to be an American.  I ask too many questions.  I am too direct.  I am emotional.  I explain how I feel.  Years of therapy can do wonders in some places and make you a pariah in others.

I loved my time in France and on August 31st as I was flying from Toulouse to London, Princess Diana’s car crashed and all in the car died.  I arrived in London as Princess Diana’s death rivaled coronations, weddings, and Edward’s giving up the throne for the woman he loved.

As an American, I watched as a country we think of as quiet and reserved, erupted into an emotional frenzy.  I began to keep a diary.

It is now 20 years later,  I am still divorced, without male accoutrement, all daughters still married with children.  And, TADA!! I’M STILL HERE!

In a recent move, I found the diary.  Moving has to be good for something.  I read it.  Don’t ask me how… yet… but the Princess Diana tragedy was strangely linked with my own journey.  I am still trying to puzzle out just what that connection was and is.

So what has this Blah-Blah to do with the title:  The Road Less Traveled aka Life Without A GPS?  Well, my dears, I am going to take the time to edit and write this story and what form it will take, I know not.  The road is unfamiliar and unknown.  I want to give it my full focus and attention.  This means I am going to step away from performing my shows, dare I say, “for now”.

I have been performing since I was in the womb.  My mother was exhausted after delivering.  It difficult for me to say this, but my performance at Edith Wharton’s The Mount in Lenox on May 12th is my final East Coast appearance.   (There’s a Santa Fe show in early September).

Sketch crowd (2)

Please, no weeping and tearing of clothes.  As a Diva, I have the privilege of doing as many farewell performances as custom allows.

And I shall always be available for special weddings, funerals, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.

In the mean time, I am waiting to hear from Donald Trump about doing a show for his final rant before he leaves the political arena….FOREVER…please!

Love ~ Sally-Jane

P.S.  CD’s and DVD’s of past shows are available at a discount rate.  They are sold out on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

Ten Minutes With Sally-Jane Heit in Berkshire Magazine

SJH

photo by Sabine Vollmer Von Falken

Ten Minutes With Sally-Jane Heit – comedic performer reminisces about turning 80                             by Anastasia Stanmeyer

She really caught the essence of SJ.  And in just one sitting.  Only one wrinkle.  The 80 in the title now makes it impossible for me to play ingenues.  Gone are the days of playing 21 year old… just between us when I was 21 I was playing crones. Not too many ingenues with the voice of a basso.

XO ~ SJ