Monday, December 10, 2007

Movin' Blues

The very first thing that happened in the new office was that I flushed my keys down the highly efficient toilet. They are already in Lake Champlain I have been informed.

Lost: Honda key, Kryptonite lock key (recently replaced due to recall), and new UHC door key. These are all replaceable.

Update: . The folks at Kryptonite have a replacement program for lost keys. You tell them the number, and they send you a duplicate key. It doesn't always work. Although these two keys have the same number, their configuration is different.
FAHC got me a replacement office key right away.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Straw Market Rediscovered

Saul sent me a link to notes from the world premiere of The Straw Market, a play by William Jay Smith, the Writer in Residence at Hollins College in Roanoke, where I was pursuing a masters' degree in psychology.

The award winning poet Henry Taylor was a grad student in the creative writing program. He wrote the program notes.

David Jacobowitz, from Psychology, grew astonishingly from his initial uncertainty—“I don’t think I sing very well,” he said at an early meeting with Bill Smith—to the great energy with which he sold the songs he sang.

Saul & Eli will remember these lyrics:

Florence in the spring
Is such a lovely thing
It makes you want to sing—
Florence in the spring:

This is a great find. I'm going to play with it.
Bridges on the Arno—
In all the world there are no
Other rivers like the Arno!
Florence in the spring!

The play begins with the Cowboy singing a voice-over before the curtain opens. On opening night the microphone failed. I had to sing the introductory song way too loud for the mood.
If I had known that Stephen Spender and Catherine Ann Porter were in the audience I would have plotzed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Moving Back to UHC

Another full circle is about to come around.

When I came to UVM in 1989, we were housed on the 6th floor of the Arnold Wing of the UHC campus.

Then we moved to the Trinity College campus after Trinity closed. We lived in the basement of Mann Hall, just below where Linda had had her office for years. We were there on 9/11/2001.

When UVM purchased Trinity in (date), we were moved to Delehanty Hall.

When we were moving in, the University decided that the asbestos deeply embedded in the floors needed to be removed. We think illegal aliens working for a Massachusetts company were responsible for cutting through a heating pipe and spilling propylene glycol on the floor above us. It ran down and ruined a couple of computers, including ones in our server room.

The most recent move was in February of 2004, to 80 Colchester Ave.

Now we are moving back to UHC, this time to the Joseph Wing of Degoesbriand on the third floor. On Friday we packed up everything and I went home.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Toddy Remembered

Paula Zelda Jacobowitz Rosenstein -- (1916 - 2007)

I spoke with Beth again today about how she and Judy were doing a week after their mom died.

Beth said they were completely busy with family stuff and projects that they had put off while taking care of Toddy. She had wanted to be with George ever since he died 12 years before:

I wanted to get information for my genealogy records. And I wanted to keep scanning in the photos in the unorganized box. Beth has three boxes. Let's get scanning.

I think this is Buddy, Toddy, and Norman at our wedding in 1976 in Burlington.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Full Circle at Burlington College

Linda's music group held its second CD release party of the season, this time at Burlington College.

I took some pictures. Here's a slide show.

This is the second Full Circle's CD .

I posted a few cuts for your pleasure.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Horace Grenell

About a year ago I got an email from David Bonner. He was writing a book about Young People's Records, the Children's Record Guild and the history of Horace Grenell, the genius behind the notion that you could sell chidren's records on the model of the Book-of-the-Month Club.

Bonner had found Norman Jacobowitz among the names in Horace Grenell's world. He Googled the name and found my web page. He wrote to me to ask if I was related to Norman. I knew that Horace had been a partner with Norm in producing and pressing YPR records. We had many of them to take home. Grenell was a character. I remembered the phrase he used a lot, "One Swell Foop." He was charismatic and a charmer.

They later had a falling out. Norm was bitter that when Horace testified before HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) he 'took the Fifth' when asked to say whether Norm had been a member of the Communist Party, as Horace had been. Young People's Records was accused of being a Communist front, and it probably was. Bonner explained to me that it probably wasn't personal. If Grenell had said that Norm had not been a party member but had taken the Fifth on other names, that would have been damning for them. I didn't understand the dynamic until Bonner explained it; I just took Norm's interpretation.

The book release announcement is at Scarecrow Press.
Bonner offered me a copy, which I have started (Feb 2008). It is a well-written and detailed history of the recording industry, children's records, and vinyl. "Anyone with a press can produce a record." And they did.

I got a book about the Revolution in Children's Records. It is about Horace Grenell, a musician/teacher/entrepreneur who put together the first book-club style record clb for kids. They recorded folk music and other stuff that was not sweet Disney pablum. The progressive
movement hoped to treat kids as people and give them interesting music to engage with. Grenell taught at Sarah Lawrence in the 1940s and was a partner with your Grandpa Norman in the record pressing business until he bought out Abbey Records when Norm sold and bought Sound
Plastics and B&C Records on Long Island. David Bonner, the guy who wrote the book called me last year to ask if I was related to Norman Jacobowitz and if I remembered Horace. I did remember that he used the phrase "One Swell Foop." There was also this lingering bad taste. Norm
has been pissed at Horace because Horace did not take the 5th when he was asked by HUAC whether Norm had been a member of the Communist Party. He hadn't been, but Horace didn't confirm it. Bonner explained to me that had Horace answered for Norm but taken the 5th for everybody else, it would have been the 'kiss of death' for the others. I never appreciated that point
of view until recently.

I Googled Horace Grenell and found this at Hollins:
This bears investigation. Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight
It all connects at the Bank Street School, where Judith Sidorsky taught, influenced Horace, and later married him. There is this fascinating history of progressive education, social work, and
children's music. Bard is connected with the Bank Street School. I think there was a healthy exchange of faculty and students through the 50s and 60s.

Of course, Bard was Columbia's experiment in progressive college education. Before I was there, it was governed by a Community Council, made up of students, faculty, and administration. It didn't work to have the students with such a strong say. By my time, the Council no longer had any real power.