Archived Post September 2009

September 2009

Gone Fishing

            Well not exactly, but in the morning we do head to New York City, to begin the first leg of our own “Grand Tour.”  We will be gone for most of the month, and have decided to disconnect for the duration, we shall see if that last.  Unless an Internet café sneaks its way into our life, we do not plan to deal with this life, while we are away.  Instead, I am looking forward to tea in the dining car, as we chug across Europe, on what I hope are at least one or two old trains.  I am also looking forward to seeing a map in Kate’s hands, instead of her Blackberry.  I hope to return with many tales to tell.  Meanwhile, I leave with these words, and those written in the past.  That is all for now. 

~ M ~

September 2009

Action vs. Idealness

“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future. ” 

~ George Bernard Shaw ~

          Nour sent me a deeply disturbing video of a demonstration in the streets in Austria.  After watching it, we spoke, and he asked if I would like him to continue to forward such material.  I said yes.  He also offered more lighthearted fair, which I shall likewise welcome.  I know many of us feel inundated with forwards, and I try to be very selective in what I send my friends and family, but in general I actually appreciate most of what I receive.  This has been especially true during this last year, where I have been relying on a few dedicated and informed souls, like my Aunt Beverly, my cousin Melanie and her husband Phil, and my dear friend Joan, who have shared invaluable information with me regarding the debates raging in this country, which I have deliberately strayed away from, in an act of self preservation; however I know that the time to re-engage is coming.

            Yesterday, I also read a George Will piece, which Linda recommended, regarding the upcoming senatorial race in Florida.  When I asked Nour about Florida’s former Speaker of the House, Marco Rubio, who plans to challenge Charlie Crist, for the Senate seat, Nour commented on the party needing a win and Crist’s electability and likeability.  As we began to discuss the candidates, I thought about how vitally important it is to not only be aware of what is happening but to be involved in the process; and how jealous I was of both Nour and Linda who were so well informed.

          Later, as I ate lunch, alone at my desk, while Kate worked at hers, I watched a Rick Steves travel video about Budapest, on  There is a museum in Budapest, the House of Terror,, which documents the many atrocities suffered by Hungarians, at the hands of their twentieth century Nazi and Soviet occupiers, and that serves to honor the many victims of those regimes.  On display are two uniforms, one of a Nazi guard, which has been placed back to back with one from a Soviet Union guard.  The commentary, on the tape, was that extremist to the right, the Nazi fascist, and on the left, the Soviet communist, are exactly the same in regard to the havoc and destruction which they inflicted upon their victims.  This is one of the many places I hope to visit in the coming weeks, and one that has already convicted me of my own behavior. 

          I have been disheartened by much of what I have seen over the last year, and instead of getting into the fight, I chose to step back.  It is true that much has happened, in our personal lives which has taken its toll on our activist lives, but there was also part of me that was simply in shock; and I thought President Obama deserved the respect that he and his administration has seen unfit to render to President Bush.  I felt that President Obama should be given some time to acquaint himself with the job and with the privileged information which is restricted to those in power, and impacts the decisions which can be made.  We are now, however, at about the same point, in time, President Bush was when the 9-11 attacks occurred, and the wide spread assaults, on his character began.  It seemed that absolutely everything which he did – including his reaction, the day he was informed, of the attacks, was criticized and found to be in error.  Having stood in front of a classroom filled with children, I cannot imagine a more appropriate response, to such news, than the calm he displayed.  Would it really have been better for him to run out of the room screaming and yelling, terrifying those children? 

          I have found it unimaginable that the scandals of groups like Acorn were not more widely reported and the public was not outraged by what was known of how the election was conducted.  I could not believe that so many of my fellow Americans simply and blindly accepted that candidate Obama’s words that he would end the war in Iraq and bring home the troops, beginning on his first day, in office.  Likewise, as more and more troops are sent overseas to Afghanistan, and the death toll there continues to rise, I am stupefied by the lack of protest.  Is it really okay for American blood to be shed for freedom and democracy in Afghanistan but not in Iraq?  Or is it simply that war protests are only necessary if you dislike the Commander in Chief?  None of it has made sense to me.  President Obama has touted health care reform, without offering a viable plan or a way to pay for anyone else’s plan.  It seems, thus far, that the current administrations most outstanding accomplishment appears to be the federal government purchase of several billion dollars worth of cars, which are to be destroyed.

          From the beginning, I have had core issues with the things which I have heard both candidate and President Obama say, which sound too close to socialist principals.  I have also been deeply troubled by his unscripted behavior, choice of associates, and his inability to be confronted and questioned.  I am not blind to the fact that President Bush was disliked in the world, but the world did not elect him.  He was elected by the American people, not once but twice.  I also concede that unlike President Obama who is found to be both charming and eloquent, President Bush was not a great communicator.  But President Bush is no longer in office, he has retired.  It is easy to blame our problems on others.  Yet, is it not now time for those currently in power to begin to explain themselves?  What is this present class of Congress people and Senators accomplishing?  Has President Obama succeeded in delivering any of his campaign promises?  Even the Guantanamo Bay base which he swore would be closed and emptied of its detainees has now become a more complicated issue than originally thought. 

          I am often accused of being a Pollyanna, and I am often wrong in my assessment of people and their intentions.  Nevertheless, like Anne Frank, whose hiding place I also hope to see, I do generally believe that people have the potential and desire to be good.  I do not believe that power has to be corruptible or that those in service are only seeking to position themselves for more power.  I think most people who go into public service desire what is right for the greater good – but rhetoric is not a solution, it is simply words. 

           For me, this trip to Europe is already different from others, in the past.  Whether it is age, interest, knowledge, or my travel companion, our agenda is much more focused on history and politics, as opposed to art and architecture – though in Europe they all do go hand in hand, and we are certainly looking forward to spending time with the great masters.  Nevertheless, many of the things we hope to see, such as the  Holocaust Memorial in Berlin,  and the Jewish Museum simply did not exists twenty years ago, or were not easily accessible to a younger traveler with a non-existent budget. 

            In planning this trip, and the places we would like to go, I have repeatedly been reminded of the cost of turning a blind eye to the political world around us.  My sister, Caroline, has just sent me a link regarding the Empire State Building’s celebration of China’s 60th birthday. Most historians would agree that Chinese civilization and nationhood have existed from at least 1122 B.C., if not five hundred years or more, before that.  Obviously, the milestone that they are celebrating is the creation of communist China, which conservatively is responsible for over two million deaths of Chinese people and ushered in a government which is said to have killed as many as forty million of its citizens. 

          It is in the autumn that I put the old year to rest.  Today, I feel like I am putting the last year and half to rest.  As I have said, there has been a lot of upheaval in our lives, the many losses of families and friends, have weighed most heavily, but we have also dealt with turmoil in our personal and professional lives, just like the rest of you.  But it is time, well almost time, to once again get involved and informed – I am taking my holiday, planning to return with renewed vigor, perspective, and determination to act.  I hope you will join me.  That is all for now. 

~ M ~


September 2009

The Journal


“I never travel without my diary.  One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” 
~Oscar Wilde~

          There is something special about a new journal.  I realize the blog has most likely irrevocably replaced the concept of the journal, but there are still those occasions which call for a perfect journal.  For example, a journey where one has intentionally decided to disconnect from the world, leaving behind cell phones, laptops, and internet access. 

           Finding a perfect journal is not easy.  I normally prefer one that is dated, though if not meant to be used as a daily diary, the date can be forgone.  It should be easy to write in, lying open without resistance, lined I think is best, though the lines should not be too close to one another, there should be a built in book mark of some sort; and most importantly, a perfect journal should feel at home in your hands.  The journal should draw you to itself.  It should create in you a desire to fill it with your most intimate of thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  

         Sadly, our closest Borders recently closed, that a new drug store might open.  There is a well worn joke, in Florida, that we have a drug store on every corner.  People seldom laugh, at the comment, as it in fact seems to be too true to elicit a jocular response.  Bookstores however, are harder to find, and the closing of our Borders was a sad occasion.  Though I normally love a good bargain, especially on books, it was hard for me to enjoy the sales, as the loss of the store felt like a sad commentary on our society.  I did however, find one perfect journal, at 75% off, which I could not leave behind. 

         I placed the journal in my “gift” drawer, for it to await a new home.  It seemed too luxurious, with its soft leather exterior and smooth pristine pages for me to keep, so it has sat for several months waiting, until now.  A few days ago, I removed the cardboard sleeve which incased it, and took it into my hands, gently flipping through the pages and fingering the ribbon which serves as a book mark.  I have walked it around from room to room, between my bedroom and desk, debating whether or not my thoughts were worthy of such a fine book; and wondering if there might not be someone else to whom I should send this perfect tome.  Of course, countless names come to mind, but I find some excuse why I should keep the journal which is neither too thin nor too thick, at about the size of a steno pad, the same size as my AAA guide book which will accompany me to Europe.

          I am feeling restless.  In fact, both Kate and I are feeling restless, longing for the open road – for the unknown.  After much debate, we have decided to go to Europe next week.  It has been too many years since I was last there and I find myself in need of new horizons, and with a desire to revisit old vistas.  This is a trip I have long wanted to take with Kate, as there are places and experiences which I want to share with her, as we make new memories together. 

         This week, as we read guide books, look at maps, check train schedules and make lists, we have also been reminiscing about our trip to Argentina and Uruguay, three years ago.  The trip began when Kate’s boss dropped by the house, and I told him that I desperately needed to leave the country.  I continued boldly, by asking him to send Kate abroad on business.  He looked at me curiously and I think slightly amused, waiting for a few seconds before responding: “I can do that.”  I believed him, and got up and refreshed his beverage, as he asked me where I would like to go, and I told him I was very flexible.  I suppose I should have said the Seychelles, Petra, or the Galapagos – my three dream destinations; but I just needed an adventure and was willing to put myself in his hands.  A few weeks later, after initially believing we might be off to India, Kate was told she had to go to Argentina – for almost a month. 

           I was thrilled!  Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America, the home of José de San Martín, leader of the Argentine independence movement, and Carlos Gardel, who is both the father of the tango and one of those musicians that my father loved.  I was off to see the famed opera house, Teatro Colón, whose lobby, much to my surprise housed a collection of fine instruments, including a Stradivarius violin, something I had not previously seen.  The theater actually has two rows of lattice enclosed boxes, on their side of the end aisles, where years back widows were permitted to sit, entirely out of sight, that they too might enjoy the opera, while they were in mourning. 

           It was quite a month.  We stayed at the marble encased Marriott Plaza Hotel, which sits in the heart of the city, across the street from Plaza San Martin, where a monument to the hero lies, as well as a memorial to those killed during the war over the Malvinas.  The day we arrived, our rooms were not yet ready, and we went upstairs to a roof top café, where we sat outdoors, over looking the plaza with its dancing Jacaranda, that were ablaze with bright lavender blossoms.  We ordered coffee that was served with media lunas, perfect small croissants which very often accompany coffee in Argentina.  

          The hotel was certainly more luxurious than anything I had ever known before, one of the advantages of business travel, and it became a central player in our Argentine experience.  Every morning, Kate and I would have breakfast in one of two lovely restaurants, where the tables were covered with fine linens and our every need was anticipated.  Afterwards, she would go off to work, with the rest of her team, and I would head into the streets to see what adventures the day would bring.  In the evening, everyone would gather back at the hotel, retire to our rooms, and prepare for dinner which was always a splendid affair.  Around nine o’clock, the group would begin to gather in the mahogany paneled bar, which was adorned with equestrian paintings, and  sinking into the large overstuffed chairs, upholstered in green fabric, the chit chat that makes up business travel would begin.  As the group grew, the small plates of appetizers which started with salted almonds and home made potato chips, would expand to include olives and cheese and whatever surprise the bartender might have for that night.  After an hour or so, heads would be counted, guests for the evening would be introduced, and off we would go for what was without a doubt a fabulous meal.  I must say, that there are few people, with whom I have ever dined that I took greater delight, than with Jeff, Kate’s boss, at the time.  Jeff is a man who truly appreciates food and is passionate in the pursuit of his pleasure.  

         There were many memorable moments on that trip, strolling through Recoleta, San Telmo, La Boca, and Florida Street, where I think the merchants actually began to recognize me; but few matched the somber experience and honor of being able to march with the Mother’s of the Plaza.  The women who for years have gathered in front of the La Casa Rosada, the seat of the Argentine government, carrying banners and photographs of their children missing from the Dirty War (1976-1983).  It was the protest in Latin America, during the 1980’s which had marked my coming of age demonstrations; and I well remembered marching in Los Angles, in solidarity with these women, during those volatile years, never imagining I might actually one day meet them.  It was remarkable to actually speak with the mothers and wives, who in deep desperation, and without power, had taken to the streets in their silent protest, armed only with white scarves and placards which bore their loved ones names and faces – they had been attacked, imprisoned, killed and tortured, but never silenced.  Now they warmly and freely spoke with me, answering my questions and sharing their stories of survival and perseverance, while professing too few victories to end the demonstrations.   

           (I have to recommend, for any of you too young to remember this time period or otherwise engaged in other pursuits, The Official Story, an amazing Argentine film which so well captures some of the history of this moment, when the military junta waged war on its own citizens causing thousands of deaths and disappearances, including children stolen from their parents that were placed with individuals who were sympathetic to the government.  Also, The Little School, Tales of Disappearance and Survival in Argentina, by Alicia Partnoy, a book written by one of the survivors, which offers a less tidy perspective from the film.) 

         Argentina was everything I had expected and more, and our brief time in Uruguay was enchanting.  I one day hope to return to Colonia, in Uruguay, and spend several months writing an epic love story, set in the small town which transforms you both in time and place with its cobble stone streets, stone buildings and fences, crumbling bull ring, and views of the river Plata. 

         Our last day in Argentina, we returned to the rooftop café, to say good-by to the city and to promise ourselves another adventure.  In the last couple of years we have been blessed with some lovely journeys, but I think left longing for another exotic adventure.  It is now time.  New sights, smells, and sensations await us and will stir new desires and passions which I shall want to make note of – I shall need a journal.  That is all for now. 

~ M ~

September 2009



“We met at nine – We met at eight.  I was on time – No, you were late.  Ah, yes, I remember it well.  We dined with friends – We dined alone. A tenor sang – A baritone. Ah, yes, I remember it well.  That dazzling April moon! There was none that night and the month was June – That’s right. That’s right.  It warms my heart to know that you remember still the way you do.  Ah, yes, I remember it well.”
~ Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe ~

            I spent the better part of this weekend in the garden, engaged in the prosaic maintenance required year around, when one lives in an environment with temperate weather.  I was perhaps too free with the sheers and cut a great deal more than I had planned.  In southern Florida, there is no need to worry, as it will all flourish again.  My orchids are in serious need of repotting, and it is a job which is only half done, as they keep blooming and one should not transplant orchids when they are flowering.  (I have often thought that is also true for people.)  It feels as if it has been too warm this year, though perhaps that is only my perception, based on wanting to be else where.  I did not cut back my fig tree.

            The fig tree is struggling.  I think it should be pruned, but there are some cuts which are harder to make than others.  I have a romantic attachment to the fig tree.  When I was younger, we rented a house, owned by Señor Canales, who had once kept a most productive garden that included a bountiful fig tree, which seemed to bear fruit year around, in Southern California.  I remember not having been particularly found of figs, but I did take great joy in observing how much pleasure my mother took from the figs.  She made fig preserves and fig cakes and ate the fruit fresh, off the tree, with deep delight.  Later, when I am traveled to Greece, with Lia, she took me to meet her grandfather, a man with great foresight who had built his home on a hill, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, and planted an orchard of pistachios, olives, and figs, as I have previously mentioned on these pages. 

            When I moved into our home, in Florida, and began to rip out sod, to create my own garden, my dear neighbor Phil, shared with me stories of his garden, which he had mostly given up, by the time I met him; and the story of his fig tree, which he planted in New York City.  He said he would cover it in winter with a plastic swimming pool liner, which if I recall correctly had to be dropped on the tree, from the roof, of his porch.  Oddly, a few weeks ago, when Phil’s children, as he called them, Andy and Susan, were in town, they stopped by with a bounty of fresh fruit – including fresh figs and honey.  It was a perfect moment and I missed Phil. 

            I planted my fig tree flush with memories of the fig trees from the past.  Phil ate from the tree only once; but I do remember showing it to the elder Nouri patriarch, Uncle Alex, and taking delight in how happy he seemed to be that I had a fig tree growing in my yard.  I am certain the tree took him back to his own memories in far off and exotic lands. 

          On Sunday afternoon, as the rains brought me inside, Shahnaz called and engaging Skype, she, Lia, and I began either round two or three of our reunion plans, which are now set for Athens – tickets have been purchased – a major accomplishment!  As we talked, reminiscing about our ties to Whittier, California, where we met, I started thinking about how we remember the past.  It is curious what we remember.  There are some moments which seem so clear, that it is as if they transpired only hours ago; while others have all but been washed away.  Why is that?  Are we consciously selective with our memories, or is there some other force at play, that controls what it is that we hold on to?  Are memories shared if the people involved remember the events differently? 

            Why is it that there are events from our past, that when remembered you can all but feel the sun warming your body or rain falling on your skin, though twenty years have passed since those sensations were real, and others like last Wednesday that seem completely gone?  I also wonder if anything is actually as we recall it or if all memories, having been filtered through our individual experiences and perspective, become something else entirely?  My mother has often said that when my sisters and I speak of our childhood, she has no idea of what we are talking about.  Our memories do not seem to match her own – I suppose we must all be correct when we speak of what we remember, for how does one argue with memory?  But what does it mean for shared experience or collective memories which make up our past; is our history dangling in the wind unable to take root?

            On our trip to Puerto Rico this summer, one of the things which I wanted to relive, and have Kate experience was the taste of alcapurrias and mavi; both which I remembered from my childhood years in Puerto Rico, as well as my previous trip, that I took when my father was living on the island.  I have a 25 year old picture of one of the little beach shacks which sold alcapurrias, which are a fried plantain fritter that is filled with pork, ham, garlic, onions, peppers, raisins, capers, and spices, and I could not wait for Kate to experience this truly delightful taste explosion.  On our last day, on the island, she and I took off on a mission to find a beach shack selling alcapurrias and place for her to both taste mavi, which is a sweet, fermented beverage made from bark, and for me to purchase some of the bark to bring home. 

          We were fearless.  One of the great things about Kate and I is that we travel well together, and are equally driven in our odd pursuits.  When either of us comes up with something which me must do or see or achieve, the other person tends to understand the need, and kick into equal high gear, to assure that the stated goal is achieved.  The beach shacks were easily enough found, though I have to confess the alcapurria was not as remembered or hoped for; though I would say it is no reflection on the fritter itself, but rather the source of our purchase.  In fact it was a line of shacks, and I think we chose the wrong one.  I ordered a plate of fried snacks, each of which I touted as being fabulous, each of which Kate tasted, and each of which I had to admit was not as good as I remembered. 

         We were not to be detoured in our efforts, and next begun the search for mavi.  I had already drunk several glasses during my visit, without Kate, but now wanted her to taste it. The first cup had come from a downtown vender in Old San Juan, in the Parque de las Palomas, who as he served me and made change, told me not to walk off too quickly, that he also had a poem for me.  It was a sweet moment as he recited what I am sure are well rehearsed lines, which he has been using on tourist for years.  Nevertheless, it was fun for a moment to think that I might still inspire poetic musing. 

        Driving along the highway, I found a man selling gallons and glasses of mavi from the rear of his old model station wagon.  It was ice cold, and he poured me a paper cup full for a dollar or so.  I asked him if he knew where I could find the bark – oh that was much more difficult to find, he answered.  We went to grocery stores, stopped at several more road side stands, and circled around three town squares, looking for bus depots where farmers markets are held.  Finally, as the day was coming to a close, and the need to head back to San Juan and the airport loomed, I found a woman who only that morning had gone off to the hills, where her brother-in-law had a friend, who had given her a bit of the bark.  She continually told me how lucky I was to have found her, as it was not the season to harvest the bark – she could not give me a recipe for how to make mavi, a question which I had repeatedly asked to no avail – apparently the recipe for mavi is as elusive as the bark. 

         As I exited the bus terminal, and looked for Kate and the car, which were no where to be found, I remember feeling rather accomplished.  In my quest to relive the past, what I had indeed done was create new memoires, which all but overshadowed the past.  We drove like mad women to the airport, to return our car and head for our flight, patting ourselves on the back. 

         I know there are things which we intentionally try to forget and others which we color in a different shade, from the pallet in which they occurred, though I do not know if that is a choice. I suppose time may allow us to temper our memories to be kinder to others and ourselves. 

         Yes, Mother, Joy, and Caroline, I will be bringing mavi at Christmas – I will not vouch for the authenticity, as I am still without a recipe, but how well do any of you remember how it is supposed to taste?  Perhaps, what I show up with will become what you remember of how mavi should taste.   That is all for now. 

 ~ M ~

August 2009


“Music melts all the separate parts of our body together.”
~ Anaïs Nin ~

         I do not own any 8-tracks.  All of you under 40, will have to look up the antiquated method of storing music which was once considered pretty amazing.  8 tracks were clunky, plastic, rectangular, box like things, about the size of a hand, which allowed people to play albums, in a car or at the beach, in their 8-track players.  I do have a few cassettes lying around, though I do think most of those have gone off to the Goodwill; and I have kept a few long play albums, though I have let go of more than I kept.  I deeply regret not having held on to my father’s old albums.  On my record player, yes a real life turntable, sits the score to a play called, I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it On the Road.  I have no idea why I have never looked for a CD for this particular album, as I have done with so much other music, but I have not. 

          I only play the album once a year, on my birthday.  There is a song on it called Happy Birthday, which I put on and sing along with, at the top of my lungs!  It always makes me feel happy and strong and ready to face another year.  I have, on occasion, played the song for Kate, on her birthday; but I think she only humors me, when she hears it.  The music is not a part of the sound track of her life, and I think the only impact it has on her, is how it makes me feel. 

            I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it On the Road was one of two plays I remember going to see alone, when I lived in Los Angles, the other play was Children of a Lesser God.  I can honestly say that in both cases it was the title of the plays which drew me.  The latter was a story about a hearing impaired teacher, which was later made into a movie with Marlee Matlin and William Hurt.  I remember liking the play better than the movie.  For I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it On the Road, I had a front row seat.  It was a one woman show co-written and performed by Gretchen Cryer.  The musical, which is somewhat autobiographical, details her journey of self discovery and empowerment in the 39th year of her life.  At that moment, though I was in my early twenties, as Cryer belted out every note, it spoke to me, as it has on every birthday since.

            For whatever reason, music seems to trigger powerful sensory reactions as it lodges in our memory.  There are songs which simply hearing them make me cry, like our “National Anthem”, or “Cuando Salí de Cuba”; while others make me want to get up and dance like “Sugar” or “Dancing in the Moonlight.” I have always thought that the highlight of the Clinton administration was his choice of Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop.”  I will admit, I thought that a brilliant move.

           Music is also one of those new relationship hurdles.  When you meet a new person, which you think you may like either platonically or romantically, there is that moment when you ponder their music taste for compatibility.  Either deliberately or ever so coolly and nonchalantly there is that visual assessment of their music collection as you flip through their CD’s or play list and are either impressed with what you see or begin to worry over what is present or missing.  I will also confess the older I get the more judgmental I become, sadly.  There is an entire list of artist that when I hear someone is off to see them perform, I rub my head and wonder why?  I am certain that the people off to see those artist perform, also rub their heads, as they walk into my house and wonder why I am playing Vera Lynn or Jo Stafford, but can anyone object to Glenn Miller or Dean Martin?   I suppose there may be someone out there who does not want to dance to Miller or fall in love to Martin.

           A few weeks ago, I sent my sisters a link to K-Earth 101, a radio station in Los Angels.  South Florida has many fine attributes, but I have yet to find a radio station that I truly love.  It seems that when I am on the road, I always find great stations, and as the miles slip away I longingly wish I could keep the music playing.  As I cleaned house, I wished I had some nice, upbeat, happy music to accompany me and suddenly thought about K-Earth 101, and was surprised that I not only remembered the station from my youth, but was able to access it on-line.  It was fun to listen to the music and hear the Los Angeles area commercials, as I washed dishes and reminisced about other days.  I went back to the station a few times, and decided my sisters might also enjoy listening to one of the many sound tracks of our youth.  I was surprised to learn that Caroline, my younger sister, well remembered the station, while, Joy, my older sister, had no idea what I was talking about – thus a rather interesting exchange of emails began.

            Joy’s sound track was actually rather different than my own.  It was not only that our musical interest had been different then, just as they are now, but how we accessed music and what we cherished was entirely different.  For me, the radio was a life line.  Joy commented that what she most remembered about the radio, from her youth, was in Hawaii, where they were constantly playing “Rock the Boat” and “Band on the Run”, two songs which she was none too found of – I laughed.  I did remember that also, and though I too am not a big fan of “Rock the Boat”, I have to admit to loving “Band on the Run”, and that whole Wings thing.  In fact, I pretty much love the entire radio play list of 1973.  While Joy was in several choirs and musical groups and bands, during our year in Hawaii, I was listening to the radio and wishing people would stop calling me a haole.  The radio was my escape back to the mainland; Joy, on the other hand, all but seemed born to the island.       

            Joy and I began to write each other about music, and as the emails increased in length and breadth, she began sharing not only her music memories but also her current taste and interest.  She has always loved music and performed for most her life.  I remember having to sing with Joy, when I was young, in church; and her repeatedly trying to make me understand that I needed to sing my part and not hers.  She would often, in righteous frustration tell me fine, if you want to sing the soprano I will sing the alto part; and then of course be ready to pull out someone’s hair as I would switch back to her part again.  It took me quite a while to understand what in the world she was talking about when she mentioned harmonizing. 

            Much to my surprise, Joy started to suggest new music to me, which I actually liked!  I know that I am impossible.  Shall I admit that on my own, my most recent music acquisition was the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Take Five” from 1961?  Seriously wonderful jazz, which I went searching for because Kate was trying to place the music – her music taste, thank God are in general more contemporary than mine, though she loves Gregorian chants – all those years of Catholic school I suppose.  Perhaps it is simply the historian in me or my nostalgic nature, but I do take issue with so much of what defines the twenty-first century, excepting the technological magic of the Internet and its World Wide Web, which I could not imagine living without.  Nonetheless, Joy’s suggestions kept me clicking suspiciously on YouTube and left me listening with delight. 

          It has been wonderfully enlightening and entertaining to be introduced to so much new, at least to me, music in the last few weeks; and to read Joy’s comments, reviews, and observations, regarding a topic which she is truly passionate about – and if there is one thing I love it is an encounter with someone who is passionate about some thing or idea, even if I disagree with their opinions or taste.  Thus, I have asked Joy to contribute a weekly column to these pages, which she has graciously agreed to do.  A woman of eclectic taste and interest, she will share her musical musing with us all.  I think you will enjoy hearing her take on music, in the weeks and months to come.  That is all for now.

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