A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

By Anita Garner

Cinderella was the first movie I ever saw. It was at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California.  My brother and I came out from the Deep South in 1950 to visit our Gramma and attend school while our parents completed a long revival tour.  Daddy was a preacher whose religion taught that movies were sinful and though there were plenty of picture shows where we lived, we drove right past them.   Gramma didn’t hold with his concept of sin so as soon as our parents dropped us off we got our first look inside a movie theatre.

Cinderella wasn’t the movie I’d have chosen that day.  It was Gene Autry I wanted to see up there on the big screen.  I already had my own dream relationship with him through his “Melody Ranch” radio show.  Our family listened every week, then Daddy and Mother strummed his songs on their guitars and we all sang them together. Music from the secular world was embraced in our house but the film versions were banned.

I planned to marry the Singing Cowboy, not so much because of all the ropin’ and the ridin’ and a chance to meet Champion the Wonder Horse, but because of his music. In the car on the way to California Daddy and I sang “Back In The Saddle Again” and he dropped in a little whistling break,  a sign that he really liked a particular song.

Then I saw Cinderella and all that Disney movie music started other thoughts going around in my head, promises we make to ourselves, things like…

“If you can dream it you can do it.”

“Never give up.”

“Just keep trying.”

Years went by and more Disney movies with songs about possibilities  came along.  My 8 year old self was an instant believer but my growing-up self reminded me not everyone has a fairy godmother.

Grownups become goal-oriented.  Most of us do more planning and less dreaming.  But sometimes I hear a certain Disney song and I return for a couple of minutes to a time when a girl in Arkansas believed she could marry the Singing Cowboy and go to the Alex Theatre on Saturday to watch movies that promised everything will be all right.

Click on the picture below if you want to sing along with Cinderella and the tweety birds. According to the counter on this You Tube clip, millions of people already have






Composers: Mack David, Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston.
Sung by Ilene Woods, who also voiced Cinderella in the movie


The Myth Of Persistence

By Anita Garner

By the time we come to the last days of 2020 in this Year Of Our Angst, some of us are going to need a reboot. We’ll be looking to retool, reinvent. Our tribulations  may not end when the year does but we need to get ready for what’s next as soon as we poke our heads up out of this mess.

Thank goodness reinvention can be called on as many times as we need it.  I’ve already tested it several times and if, like me, you don’t get it right the first or even the third or fourth time, it’s good to know there’s still a way forward.

There are people who know a lot about exactly this subject.  I found two of them talking about this on the radio at KALW Berkeley, California a few years back and I made notes.  I was listening while Marty Nemko,* career counselor, hosted his weekly show, “Work With Marty Nemko.”  His guest was Rick Newman,* author of the book,  “Rebounders, How Winners Pivot from Setbacks to Success.” I recently  contacted each of them for clarification on a couple of points.  (*More information about Rick and Marty below.)

The try and try again theory I grew up with doesn’t always work.  In the past I’ve stuck with some losing propositions way too long.  I asked Rick about the myth of persistence.  Here’s what he said.

“It would be great to get your failures out of the way fast, if you were mature and wise enough to learn what you need to from them! Alas, most of us aren’t that wise when we’re young, but failing smartly can make us wiser. I wrote about persistence being overrated, or misunderstood, because the bumper-sticker version of this suggests you should just keep trying the same thing if you fail at it. Just come back swinging again and if you take enough shots you’ll finally succeed.

That’s not what I found in my research at all. If you fail at something, you need to understand why, or do your best to understand. Once you think you understand why, then you’ll know whether you should try the same thing again, try it again but do something a little different, or give up and do something completely different. Some of us just aren’t good at things we wish we were good at. If you keep trying to succeed at something you’re not good at, just because you wish you were good (like me playing electric guitar), you’re missing the point. If you try at something and fail, maybe what you need to learn is it’s not for you. At least you tried!

Persistence is really important as long as you’re willing and able to learn what you need to come back for another shot. But nobody should keep trying the same thing over and over, in the same way, if they keep failing at it. Sometimes failure produces the lessons we need to succeed. Other times, the message is, try something else.

Marty’s radio show drifted away, as many of our favorite radio shows seem to do, but career and life counseling are still his focus.  There are blogs, a podcast and regular contributions to Psychology Today.  Here’s what he said when I asked about trying and trying again.

“I’m fond of singer Kenny Rogers’ advice: “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold em.”  The problem is that it’s not usually easy to figure when that is. Best I can suggest  is to consistently ask yourself, “Are the chances better of my having more or more important success if I persist at least a little longer, or am I likely to have a better yield if I redirect my efforts.”

Here’s one more theory, originally attributed to Buddha.

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear”



*More about Rick and Marty.

Rick Newman is the author of “Rebounders” and three other books and columnist for Yahoo Finance.  Click the book cover for Rick’s website with contact information.

Marty Nemko, Ph.D is a career and personal coach based in Oakland, California and the author of 10 books. Click the picture to go to his website.

Every Little Celebration

By Anita Garner

This year all our seasons got misplaced.  Smooshed together. The weather hasn’t matched any of them exactly and we’ve spent so much time inside, we’ve taken to decorating and celebrating whatever we want whenever the mood strikes.

In our part of Northern California, after record-breaking heatwaves this summer, a few leaves just now got together and decided to fall.  Out in the yard, if you know where to step, you can hear autumn underfoot.  On the tree outside my office window a few leaves are about to be in motion.  I’ll need to dedicate time to follow the progress of one particular leaf floating.  It’s a beautiful thing.

October is usually the start of my favorite time of year. Everything’s in place. Plaid shirts move to the front of the closet.  Flannel sheets go on the bed. The winter comforter comes out of storage and takes  a few turns in the dryer.

I’m not a big Halloween person, but the people I live with are and they started in September.  A rather large skeleton belonging to the Grand appeared and now sits on top of the hutch.  Orange twinkle lights are on a bookcase. A vintage centerpiece brought in by my daughter, the Thrifting Queen, is on the dining table.  It puts me in mind of the 60s and 70s when we used to decorate for every dinner party.

Some say spring is renewal time, but for me autumn has always been the season of promise. This year, especially, it’s not just the fragrance of pumpkin and cinnamon and nutmeg, though I’ll never underestimate their impact. It’s not just the anticipation of fireplaces and rainstorms and Hallmark movies.  This year, this season, in this house, there’s hope for better times ahead.

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
…George Eliot


L.A. Radio Guest Columnist – I’m it today.

Anita Garner

Our esteemed host, Don Barrett, invited me to tell the story about one more media person’s memoir – mine.  It’s been in the works for a while and now it’s in the “Coming Soon” category.  Here’s the cover.

Turning the tables on Don, I should let you know that he’s been part of this project from way back.  We met when he was writing his first book, “Los Angeles Radio People” in the 90s.  Thousands of people from around the world visit his site, laradio.com, every day.  Click his artwork above to join them.

Don was conducting one of his thorough interviews about my time on the air and we bonded over the fact that both of our mothers had ALS and we were caring for them.

I showed him a short story, material planned for a someday book about my gospel-singing family and our life in the Deep South during the 1950s.  He sent the story to a friend in the movie industry whose wife was an agent. She liked the material and asked if I’d adapt it for the stage. I did and we had play readings in Los Angeles, so though I haven’t been steadily working on this book since the 90’s when I met Don, pieces of it did exist back then.

I knew I needed to finish telling the stories I’d begun, so I set myself the task of finishing a book manuscript by a certain date in 2017, pulling out reams of stories and rough chapter outlines and notes on scraps of paper and putting in long days and nights until it was ready.

I submitted to a university press in the Deep South. The Glory Road:A Gospel Gypsy Life, is a first-person memoir, but it’s more like a novel about some colorful characters I’m related to, singers and songwriters and musicians, with American music history woven through.  It takes place during times of enormous change in music and religion, when Saturday night came to Sunday mornings, when my family’s gospel music merged with rockabilly and church became entertainment.

My brother and I sang harmony with the family and lived much of our lives on Route 66 moving from tent revivals to radio stations to All Day Singings to churches and just about any place a microphone and amplifier and speakers were set up. I wanted this material and the music the family made to become part of Southern history. I learned that many university presses keep their books in circulation and keep printing for years into the future. That matters to me.

What does this have to do with radio?  Just about everything.  Without radio, my parents’ music wouldn’t have been heard by people who eventually recorded it, and who later offered Mother her own recording contract. We appeared on radio stations where the studio was in the antenna shack outside of town and other stations located in fancy hotels. My first radio appearance was on WDAK, Columbus, Georgia, at age three.  No adjustable booms.  Stand the little girl on a chair stacked with stuff until she can reach the mic and she’ll sing her part.

After my parents passed, a record label re-issued their music and it appears everywhere these days – movies, TV shows, downloads, wherever there’s music. I’ll post a couple of links that’ll take you to a current Netflix show soundtrack where my mother, Sister Fern Jones is singing and a wayback link to Johnny Cash singing a song she wrote.

My book releases April 21, 2021.  Here’s the publisher.

And here’s a nice thing someone said about them.

“University presses have long been key in the literary ecosystem when it comes to issuing original, risky work, and ’Bama’s is one of the most innovative.”

Just this week, the contract arrived from my audio book publisher. Media people, especially voiceovers, tend to record their own manuscripts. I’m not doing that. I want to sit back and listen to someone else tell these stories.

I write a new blog about once a week here at this site Dave Williams (KLIF/Dallas) and I share.  I write often about The Glory Road and sometimes I include excerpts from those days.

Here’s a song from Sister Fern.  You can find others on You Tube.

And here’s a song she wrote, recorded by Johnny Cash with the Tennessee Two

Johnny Cash - I Was There When It Happened


Thanks, Don, for the invitation.  It’s good to visit laradio.com.  I do it every day.