The song I Am So Like You is dedicated to our daughters, Carla Mirabella and Chloe Lipton.
Song: I Am So Like You ©1977, Lenny Lipton & Mike Mirabella
Watch for the upcoming book I Am So Like You, from Mirabella Books and Songs
Carla and Chloe met in special education pre-school classes and remained the “best of buddies” all through their school years, including high school. Their unique friendship blossomed, although both girls were disabled and struggled with speech impediments. Carla, born with Down syndrome and Chloe, with cerebral palsy, both found happiness in each other’s company. They would act silly and make each other giggle for hours on end.
We believed that perhaps one reason for Carla’s and Chloe’s unique friendship was that their physical contact didn’t just begin and end during the school hours, as with most children. Lenny and Mike (their dads) knew that close friendships are difficult to maintain among special needs children and must be encouraged and nurtured. So, both dads went out of their ways to find time so that the girls could interact together outside as well as inside of school.
Saturdays and Sundays were special times for the girls, regardless of weather conditions. Lenny and Mike would take the girls to the mall on inclement days, or let them play on their front room rugs. On dry days, they would go to Tilden Park in Berkeley to a ride on the carousel or to the Oakland Zoo for the steam train. What fun we all had together.
Eventually, family dynamics changed and the Liptons and the Mirabellas grew apart. But both girls remained the best of friends until Carla’s untimely death in 2008.
Do you have any stories to share about friendships among special needs children? If so, comment here, we’d love to hear about them.
The Kingston Trio and me go way back. Let me explain.
On September 20, 2018, I attended my 55th Lowell High School reunion held at the Spinnaker Restaurant in Sausalito CA. Pam and I don’t get over to Sausalito often. So after the reunion we took a walk along the waterfront to see what had changed over the years.
The Trident and Kingston Trio
I wanted to revisit The Trident Restaurant in Sausalito, once owned by the Kingston Trio. The Trident holds some significance for me, as the Trio were my folk music heroes back in high school. And, in 1961 my high school folk singing group was honored by being invited to play our music for a group of San Francisco socialites. They had chartered a Blue and White Fleet boat (or was it Red and White?), to take the lot of us across the Bay from S.F. to Sausalito. It was to be the opening night of the upstairs room at The Trident. We were on our way to “the big time,” and we were thrilled. We all arrived at the pier and boarded the boat.
Rocking the Boat
The gig was not what we had expected, however. Once on board, we were told that we were only to entertain people on the boat going to and from Sausalito. Maybe we could sing a song or two on stage at the venue, if lucky. That would have been fine with us, if it were to be our only disappointment. But that night the San Francisco Bay was choppy, so it was almost impossible for us to sing and be heard above the motor noise. We also struggled to keep our balance while trying to stand and play our instruments as the boat rocked back and forth. But it didn’t matter so much that we couldn’t be heard; we were there!
Up to that time my only association with the great Kingston Trio or any great group had been my long hours of listening to records and learning their music. But my imagination had no limits and I took this as a gig from God. Just think, only 15 years old and invited to play for a Trio function. That was enough!
I can’t remember the composition of our high school folk group that year, other than Cathy, David and Steve. If you were also in the band that night, please blog in and share your impressions. Mike