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It never struck me strange that my father would sing these lyrics to us in all long car trips, at family dinners, whenever we asked him to, and often just because he wanted to :
Now if I had wings like an angel
Over these prison walls I would fly.
That was daddy’s song and we all–children and cousins–loved it. His lyrics were a bit different. Actually very different.
Sad sad and lonely
Sitting in a cell all alone, all alone
If I had the wings of an angel
Over these prison walls I would fly…..
When I was in my 20′s and met my best friend Lucia we were talking one night and she said her father used to sing “you are my sunshine…” to her. “Oh how nice. My father sang “sad sad and lonely. Now I had the wings of an angel.” For the first time I realized this wasn’t a normal father love song!
My father never cared what other people sang, what other people did or what other people thought.
“Look out the window,” he would say to me when we lived in the garden apartment court in Queens, “look at all those people. You’re smarter than 95% of them. Why do you want to be like them?”
Because I was a kid who was struggling just to be accepted? But that was later when I was eleven or so. Earlier I just wanted everybody to like me. I might have loved my father’s song but I was a prisoner of rock & roll. I listened to music constantly. Someday I was going to learn the key to life and I was going to learn it in a song. Nobody had to tell me that; I just knew it.
Aside from music——except for that one song my father sung, he listened to this horrible radio program “Make Believe Ballroom” that made me want to put cotton in my ears——I thought my father was just about perfect.
He was a CPA who slept every morning until 9 or 9:30. At first I didn’t realize it was because he was self-employed, visited clients all day, came home and had dinner with us. After dinner he worked until 2 or 2:30 AM.
My father was the hardest-working person I knew but it came so effortlessly it took me years to realize how hard he worked.
I couldn’t wait to become a grown-up for many reasons but a big one was the ability to sleep late and stay awake late. Wow did I learn differently.
I have a subway poster in my living room. A subway poster is six feet tall and usually goes in a subway (no!) It’s for a play that was going to become seminal in the 1970′s. My father’s friend/client designed it. Every week the poster and I watch Mad Men together as my father, the consummate family man, the moral center of many circles enjoyed people in the arts. He liked the Don Drapers of the world. I was very happy when Don finally made a friend this year. And that he’s a Jewish doctor was the icing on the cake. (Though I know my mother was affair material she would have died…..)
Occasionally my father would go into the city in the middle of the night to bail out a friend from this very cool place called “alimony jail.” I thought it was a place men went to to get away from their current wives and play poker. My father of course thought that was hilarious. My mother thought differently: “Pia these men left their first wives and children. They’re in jail. Jail——because they’re living high on the hog and letting their first wives starve.” She didn’t tell me this until I was about twelve. I understood. Still I found my father’s friends beyond cool.
The poster looks like the beginning of Mad Men; it enjoys seeing relatives. The man who designed it began that “school,” of poster art. In the 1970′s he wrote and produced a play about a group that changed most of our lives. My father never told me that he offered me a job!
When I was in high school we visited that friend and his then wife in London. He offered my sister and I admissions to all night clubs. My father said no. Later in the visit he told us that Charlie Watts and some other mates were coming over. Did we want to hang out? Hello! I was seventeen. There was nothing more in life that I would have liked than to have hung out with a Rolling Stone. I began to imagine how my life was going to change. I was going to be popular. I was going to have the most wonderful life…..
I had to have the only father in America over 50 who knew who Charlie Watts was. He suggested that we go to the all night clubs. And we had an incredible time. But the night I could have had!
I don’t know how many times my father stopped me from meeting Mick Jagger, himself. I stopped counting as it was so tragic. There was a part of me that was glad. I probably would have fallen through the floor. But I never let my father know. Nor did I let him know that I understood why he didn’t let me meet him. Actually I only understand half the time!
This is a brief summary of much longer stories(about 3 chapters) that will be in the book I really am writing. Have a wonderful Father’s Day!
After 9/11 they didn’t allow concerts downtown for a few weeks. WFUV had a free one and I can’t believe I can’t remember the venue or most of the performers. But there was Phoebe Snow in her first performance in years. I remember every second of her performance; I watched the glasses on the table to see if they would break k or sing though I knew they weren’t crystal
Here’s an article from Peoples archives. When Phoebe was young, pregnant and didn’t know that a doctor would smother her baby who would be severely brain damaged. Valerie was only supposed to live a few years but Phoebe gave up her career to care for her.
Phoebe was from Jersey and here’s an article that has several of her songs
I truly believe that the world is a slightly sadder place today. Though she had a brain hemorrhage in January, 2010 and never really recovered. Maybe it’s a better thing.
I apologize for my writing. Really feel sad right now. Phoebe Snow was two days older than I am and….I always thought her beyond talented.
Ever since last week’s Mad Men I’ve been singing songs from Bye Bye Birdie. My parents said I could see any Broadway play I wanted to for my tenth birthday. No choice. It had to be Bye Bye Birdie. For some reason my mother thought it was about juvenile delinquents and “researched” it. As we read the same sources–The New York Times and The New Yorker I found this strange. Of course she found out that it wasn’t about delinquents. On my birthday, July 19, 1960, we went to the Brooks Atkinson Theater to see it. Can’t believe I remember the theater but it was a momentous event in my life and we didn’t take my younger sister which made it all that more sweet. (Sorry Elka)
Two years later my grandmother died shortly before my sister’s tenth birthday and I guess my mother wasn’t in a celebrating mood. Elka was going to see a play for her eleventh birthday–November 24, 1963. Unfortunately all theaters were closed.
For a brief while there really had been Camelot. I have a friend who argues that the most significant happening in 63 was the arrival of The Beatles and he makes some valid points but then I ask if he divides our childhoods into “before” and “after.” The security that we all felt, and it might have been fake, faded quickly away. Maybe it’s better for children not to be so innocent, but we had a rude awakening. I think our (cohort) behavior later in the decade answers that question.
And can you imagine having all theaters closed two days after a president’s death now? Basically everything was closed. The bowling alley wasn’t and my parents made me go bowling. I missed Jack Ruby killing Oswald but did see the birth of the instant replay. I never did fully forgive my parents for that.
I wasn’t in love with Robert Kennedy and had a hard time forgiving Teddy Kennedy for what happened around my birthday in 1969. However, he turned into one of the best damn senators and I realized that he had paid the ultimate price a Kennedy male could pay–he could never become president. Being a big believer in universal health care–I think it a marker of a civilized progressive affluent country, and a fervently fearful person as I pay premiums for my whole body but it’s only partly covered, I hope his death brings people together. I’m afraid it won’t. I have already seen Kennedy satires ( I liked the Dead Kennedy’s) and they just ain’t funny, right now.
(A bit of politics–most Democrats never wished Bush dead, gone yes, dead no, nor compared him to Hitler and I find every Republican who silently condones either Teddy Kennedy jokes or Obama equals Hitler statements filled with blame and shameful) End of politics.
Cooper has a Pet Clark (as she says) song from Finian’s Rainbow up this week, and it stirred something in my soggy brain. Then I read Bob Herbert in the New York Times and I finally remembered one of my all time favorite songs, “Look to the rainbows.” I used to be a romantic and it’s about the most romantic of songs. I couldn’t find the Dinah Washington (I think) version, but Patti Labelle’s is damn good. I prefer it to Aretha’s.
Herbert uses this line “Follow the fellow who follows a dream,” as an epitaph for the Kennedys. It’s always been romantic to me and I loved this song in secret as I was damned if I were going to follow any man, but yes it’s perfect and it’s perfect for any man who follows any woman also. And I no longer secretly love it
Here’s a beautifully written opinion piece on Ted Kennedy that goes into much much more. It shows how words might be distorted and made whole again. I might not agree with the “distortions” but….
First the Monterey Pop v Woodstock debate. I wasn’t at either but did see every showing of Monterey Pop the day it came out. I recorded Woodstock the other day after i realized I have only seen snippets, but only seem to watch HGTV or health care reform centered shows.
Hi you old faithful friend. I gave you a little party the other day as keeping you up for five years marked a milestone in my life. It was the longest I have been ever able to do anything. Now that you’re five there’s no telling what we’ll be able to achieve together.
Blog let me be honest. There are a few rivals for your affection. First is Facebook. FB is usually fun. If only I could be pithy clever…sort of like Bill Maher who I spent last night watching, with a group of friends, while eating Southern food. We kept rewinding and I still couldn’t remember all his one great one liners on the subject that seems to have overtaken my thoughts–health care reform.
He did ask, and blog you and I have wondered the same, what plans the Republicans have if they hate our plans so much. The only one I can remember is McCain’s “you can take your insurance with you.” As I was paying $1300 a month because I lived on the UWS and had a faux-Rolls life style, that wouldn’t be doable on a greatly reduced income.
OK blog you’re asking as any sane blog would, what does this have to do with FB? Many people seem to plan their days around putting in pithy clever or pithy zany remarks. If I could remember all the
awesome amazing incredible interesting thoughts I come up when there’s absolutely no way to write them down–in the shower, on a walk in the beach usually in the water, or when I half wake up at night, the world would know how truly clever I am. I know, I know, everybody says that, but….
Big Question blog: how are you going to help me? We, you and I, lurk in blogs where bloggers who call themselves writers use “your” when they mean “you’re” over and over again. We’re never sure if that’s done on purpose as some kind of weird affectation that seems to work. People just love these blogs that, well, aren’t very well written. Or, we think, interesting as the bloggers uh excuse me writers don’t know how to tell a story or stand away from the pack and let their quirks show. They are super-friendly, often with alcohol inspired blogging names, attend blogging fairs and often write about subjects that were tired three years ago. Yes there is no such thing as a new subject but there should always be a new way to say it.
Blog we have traveled some roads less taken together and some roads most people wouldn’t brave at all. Let’s find a straighter road, not the most traveled, but not apart from the crowd and finally achieve something that will bring in some dinero.
Paraphrased from a tee shirt. Solved that age old question: Can white men dance?
First–Obama I’m voting for you but with a bit less excitement. Now that Hillary has nothing to lose she voted against FISA. I understand you have to satisfy everybody, and my life’s an open book but still…
Personally I feel that I’m just getting started, and am very psyched by the future but Bush finally admitted that we’re in crisis–guess it’s been pointed out to him that the tax breaks that were going to be his legacy haven’t worked. I do think they will be part of his legacy along with WMD’s and so much else. Nothing positive.
Back to me: This is both a great and horrible time for moi. Last year I found out about NLD. It took me a year to process the info. Yes I felt the shock of recognition; knowledge may be power but if there’s no proper treatment….I won’t be part of any clinical trials unless I’m paid well to be in it or to write about it.
I was in my 20′s during the 70′s. I had a great life but it could have been a life lived to its fullest potential. I feel sad that it wasn’t though it was full. Many people with NLD become lost to depression or suicide. Depression never stopped me–for a day or two at a time but I’m not bipolar and do have some measure of control over it. I was passively suicidal–pot and cigarettes. I will always remember pot with awe as it served to “normalize” me, and well only gave my three cigarettes a day up four months ago and go through incredible cravings. Last night people were smoking in the courtyard. It took everything I had not to go out and just as I was losing all willpower, massive tstorms began. It was a wonderful lightening show.
I learn best by writing. It’s surprising for people when they see my researched work as it’s perfectly linear, and gets to the gist quickly. I can synthesise knowledge and words in almost any profession and make it understandable to the lay person. I can even rewrite instructions so they’re understandable I can’t transfer the knowledge in my brain to the physical as I can’t with music and so many other things.
I’m just beginning to truly process it and hope to write a book in the form of a memoir as I have led an interesting life. I do bore myself but when I look at my life as seen through the NLD lens I begin to understand so many things that once weren’t comprehendable.
In the past two years my posts have become shorter and writing fiction has helped that. The more I understand the fewer words I need.
My friend Myrna (she picked that name) has been going you tube crazy. She has great taste.
When I saw Recount very little of it was new to me because I had read Vincent Bugliosi’s book on the after-election. I love true crime and Bugliosi had written Helter Skelter plus many other truly good books. I know I have written on how oddly picky I am when it comes to true crime books. I won’t spell out all the criteria they have to meet. His does.
He is also deeply conservative–a true thinking conservative–one of my favorite breed of men so when he writes a book accusing Bush of murder, I have to read it–though I haven’t yet. I love true conservatives who believe in morality–and yes when I was a political blogger I would confuse the radical right by saying such things.
Bugliosi’s book has sold 130,000 copies though it’s getting very little mainstream press. MSNBC and The Daily Show refuse to adv advertise it. A claim of Bush bashing fatigue has been made. I admit to being tired of Bush but we can’t bash him enough really. It should be every thinking Americans patriotic duty.
We’re all being affected by his ineptness; his inability to understand what’s happening in this country; his refusal to accept responsibility for Iraq, the economy and I could go on but why get myself sicker? So yes I understand Bush bashing fatigue but…we’re living in an atmosphere of fear of just about everything.
Many of us baby boomers thought we had it made. It’s neither fair nor right that things we have worked hard for such as a secure older age might not be so secure. I blame Bush. He actually said “someday people will appreciate the tax cuts.” That’s his answer to our economy problems.
I just saw a picture on a blog of somebody I had a crush on many years ago. It was an unrequited crush and most of my crushes weren’t. My ego was shattered when my then best friend, Shelby, told him about it and asked if he was interested. I wasn’t used to being rejected; I was used to my husband–we were technically married then but not living together–following me around but not in a creep stalking way–that would come later with other men. He would drive me places I needed to go, and we would hang out
It hurt; it really did. But when I looked at the picture I was once again very impressed with my taste in hippie men who somehow made a living through music, but not usually by playing or singing. Though by the time that picture was taken i was into glitter.
No I’m not going to link to the picture. If you knew me then you can easily figure it out. I gave a very vague but good clue.
If you haven’t read this yet, what are you doing at my blog? Here’s the whole cover. I have learned to copy articles since the first cover or probably that was copied but lost in a computer crash. I now back up everything to two places in the Internet and a data stick.
I’m sort of on vacation and will be until 7/22 as my best friend–I held a contest to replace Shelby and Lucia won–will be here next week. We’re planning on partying like it’s 1999 which is very sad as we didn’t that year. Maybe 79 but we don’t do a lot of stuff…..Life’s complicated
I did go to three undergrad schools. CW Post, my favorite. It was two years of non stop playing. NYU, the first year of the Gallatin school. I had to write eleven essays about what I wanted to do with my life and have two interviews. I’m a good writer and obviously can bull shit well as I still don’t know, and I interview well–one of the intervewers was a long haired man so I was in my element and the other was the director of the program. I wish I could say I was mature enough to benefit from the program but I wasn’t. I did have a job, an almost full time volunteer job and the junkie roommates who also had decided to try out alternate sexual practices. I moved in with Shelby as did her boyfriend who was not fondly nicknamed the Rat. It was a very full year and school did come last for the last time.
My dad was an alumni and his magazine said that 200 students were accepted out of 2,000 applicants. He almost had it framed. To this day I’m convinced they meant 200 students applied for 200 places.
My third undergrad school was Boston University and it was an incredible match. I was one of three undergrads in a grad program in “Urban Affairs.” I loved every second of it. But alas I missed New York and came home to be so rejected by the crush of my youth.
If I rejected you and y’all know who I mean I’m sorry and kinda didn’t mean to–I was oblivious to the obvious and the great life in front of me.
Read this! If you haven’t or haven’t read any of the numerous posts I wrote plugging it or explaining it–see post under this and post on the sidebar. If you can’t figure out the article I wrote, you either don’t know my name or….I’m very rarely proud of things I wrote and I am of that
I lived on East 63rd Street off Fifth when 10021 was the richest zip in the country. I used to say I could run into Woody Allen at a phone booth and not recognize him. Now I understand why. I had a great social life but not the one my father envisioned for me when he found the apartment I didn’t want but came to love. I so belonged on the Upper West Side or The Village.
Near but not too close to the street I live on is a bowling alley nobody seems to ever go into. In back of that is a two story apartment complex, in faded sky blue and sun bleached white, that makes a pulp lover’s heart flip flop. I said flip flop, not that I would want to live in it. I can picture Veronica Lake, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, and numerous other 40′s, 50′s stars standing at the rail in front of the common walkway that’s in front of the apartments calling out to some man. Maybe she’s crying; maybe she’s just screaming.
Funny but all the male actors I can think of are too debonair to be in this scene. Never William Powell, Cary Grant, even Humphrey Bogart as Lauren Bacall could never be the woman.
I think my knowledge of pulp is more from books, post card and calenders one of my father’s clients had, than movies. But I so vividly see a woman standing over the railing in a bathing suit with a white terry robe half off. Next she’s standing on the railing, hair falling into one half of her face and wearing a torn silk negligee.
Whatever. It could be a European movie but the two story building with the common hallway in front of the apartments and the stair railings with weird swans pressed into the metal make it distinctly American.
If you have never read Jim Thompson, he’s wonderful, inspirational and so American. For a quick example he wrote The Grifters He is “hard boiled” but I think more pulp–and have many of his books. When I gave books away, his stayed.
Last night at the beach people were unabashedly singing “America the Beautiful” though way off-key. As a New Yorker my cynicism reigned. As an American and hopefully a resident of South Carolina by election time, I let myself just feel it as I did when I was a kid and Yankee Doodle Dandy was the best movie ever made, I thought. We had Million Dollar Movie where a movie was repeated 24/7 and I faked a flu so I could stay home and watch it. I’m sure my parents figured that out but it was cute and not something I did on a regular basis.
watching it now I can’t believe how much I loved it.
I want to be as proud of my country as other people seem to be of theirs. We can be amazing when we want to be. We can be…..
I took this from The Wombat. It’s music I’m much more comfortable with
Mea Culpa. Parts of high school are a blur as I was really out living not staying home listening to music or studying unfortunately–except for Eleventh Grade American History as it was easy for me and my Senior Class Thesis. Murray the K was an important part of my life in elementary school through whenever. I listened to WOR but don’t remember it as distinctly as WNEW FM.
These last few posts have been filling in words and I apologize for the lack of quality. Being in New York means being out most of the time. Little Luce will henceforth be called Luceanna Mae as she graduated high school today. Happy graduation girl who owns my heart. May your youth be filled with wonder and adventure
I look at the books here and think “wow this person has great taste.” Then I remember they’re my books. I was looking at a book by Rollo May and thought back to the time a teacher asked if anybody knew of him. I thought that was an odd question as this was grad school but i was the only one to raise my hand. He asked what I knew of him and how. I talked a bit about him–I used to desire becoming an existential something preferably poet but didn’t dare say it. I said my father had introduced me to him as he had followed him from NYU to The New School. My teacher asked if my father was a psychologist. “No an accountant.” We got into a bit of an argument as no accountant could have been a student of…I don’t know if that’s the day I began to realize my grad education was bogus or not.
My test is eclectic and my books reflect that. The realtors asked me to leave my CD’s which make me seem as if ten people inhabit my body. I took many of the actual CD’s and left the jewel cases. If I’m not making much sense lately forgive me. This is a difficult move and summer is my favorite time in New York. I will be back for Labor Day week and I guess part of the week before. It’s the single best time to be in the city.
This is an article about the station that defended George Carlin’s “Seven Words.”
It’s a more important article than it seems to be on the surface as it shows how much we have regressed as a society and as people in the past 35 years.
It talks about Larry Josephson who was the program manager then. When I was in the early years of high school he was the DJ who had the morning shift. His program was supposed to start at 7 AM but he often didn’t get to the station until 7:30 or slightly before. As my clock radio was set to the station I would sleep late and have to wake one of my parents to drive me to school.
“Larry’s late,” was an acceptable lateness in my house though I doubt in my school. My father slept until 9;30. He believed in kids paying dues, working from the bottom up etc., but he thought everybody should be able to sleep late.
I’m sure Larry played music but i don’t remember most of it. i remember him talking about rancid bagel juice or butter.
Then WNEW FM, the first album oriented station began and I stopped listening to BAI. There was no contest. I was a rock chick not a folkie. The morning DJ and I forget who it was, wasn’t late so I almost never missed the bus again. My idol Murray The K was the evening DJ. Allison Steele who had a voice I emulate was the nightbird, but Roscoe (the first big Black msm DJ was too, I’m a bit confused but not going to look this up.)
The most difficult part of becoming an adult was realizing that unlike my parents I needed two hours at least in the morning, not fifteen minutes to get ready. Most of the time i spaced out to the mirror in my bathroom and held my coffee cup.
I would listen to BAI once a year–the Thanksgiving Song “Alice’s Restaurant,” but FUV took over or continued that tradtion. I always feel bad that I’m an FUV person not a BAI one but I like rock.
My father was a closet BAI listener. He claimed to hate music but would tell long long long anecdotes about Carly Simon, for example. It was in character for a man who went to Stockbridge to get a ticket from Officer Oppie who was a real person and a character in “Alice’s Restaurant.”
I was one of the many thousands of girls, in the early-mid 60′s who couldn’t stand being a “good girl.” As I was about thirteen, too young and scared to do anything about my status, this song stood in for me.
It wasn’t one of those annoying sweet songs. And I will take it over present day pop any day.
It broke boundaries. It didn’t sound like any other song. It told a story. The Shangri-Las’ were one of a kind. More like the “angry young men” in British films than the Beatles. I always was a Stones girl
It made me daydream. It made me want a bad boy so badly. That it was by girls from Long Island, not Brooklyn or some place girls were known to be bad only made it that much better.
Mary Weiss is restarting her career.
I have a CD of early 60′s death songs that has a bonus track; Leader of the Laundromat. I think that’s supposed to make a statement but I have never figured it out.
On Monday I’m having my hair dyed and highlit. For the first time in over 30 years my hair is being touched by somebody who isn’t a good friend. I think that means I’m settling in.
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