Favorite Artists

  • Cake
  • Calexico
  • Chet Baker
  • Craig Finn
  • Dave Alvin
  • Eels
  • Elvis Perkins
  • EmmyLou Harris
  • Gerry Mulligan
  • Jackson Browne
  • JJ Cale
  • Joe Henry
  • John Hiatt
  • Maria Callas
  • Mary Gauthier
  • Morphine
  • Neil Young
  • Robert Earl Keen
  • Roddy Woomble
  • Roger Waters
  • Sam Baker
  • Van Morrison
  • Wilco
  • Wynton Marsailles
  • Yo Yo Ma

Thursday, July 12, 2012

For A Dancer

"Keep a fire for the human race
  Let your prayers go drifting into space
  You never know what will be coming down
  Perhaps a better world is drawing near
  And just as easily it could all disappear
  Along with whatever meaning you might have found
  Don't let the uncertainty turn you around
  (the world keeps turning around and around)
  Go on and make a joyful sound."            

Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive
But you'll never know.                                     For A Dancer- Jackson Browne


I've never been one to look back. Take life as it comes and try not to repeat the mistakes of the past. But with age comes a tendency to think of experiences that are related to how old I am, like spending the first 7 or 8 years of my life without TV, and trying to find excuses to be invited over to a playmate's house that did have a TV. 

I was born in 1940 and some of my early memories were related to the US involvement in WWII. My father was stationed in Washington, DC and he would come home by train one or maybe two weekends a month. 

There was a blackout every night. A blackout meant that all windows that might shed light were to be covered, street lamps, which at that time were gas, were also shut off. We had a street warden who would patrol the street to make sure there were no violators showing some semblance of light. We would also have air raid sirens that would be tested. I don't remember being scared, but the siren blasting loud and clear in the dark outside was unnerving. 

Sugar and gasoline were rationed, as were cigarettes. Both my parents smoked and I remember all too well that my father's trips home would include a couple of cartons of cigarettes which he could get easily as a member of the military. 

On one occasion, the cigarettes and the match books that came with them were left on to of the Singer sewing machine and I managed to take two of the matchbooks and open the covers and rub them together. For you non boyscouts, that can and does cause them to flame, which they did in the palm of my hand. I don't really remember that...I was probably 3 or 4 years old, but I do recall having to sit in the house looking out the window at all the neighborhood kids playing outside. And my memories of my childhood around that time were pretty happy. There were lots of kids in the neighborhood, and plenty of room to play outside. Life was good.

It has occurred to me that my maternal grandparents were from Chemnitz which is in Saxony near the current border of the Czech Republic close to Poland in northern Germany. They relocated to NYC in the late 19th Century. My grandmother was jewish, so had they stayed in Germany perhaps I would have been a very young victim of the holocaust. There was never any reference to the jewish religion throughout my years at home, but that would not have been a factor had I live there. And Chemnitz, which is near Dresden was virtually destroyed by Allied bombing. What remained was part of Eastern Germany.

 Don't let anyone ever tell you that the circumstances of your birth are not more important to your life than any other single thing.

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