Tag Archives: music


Wesley and Haven Music: Singing at Smith

When I rule the world, everyone will have a nametag... (rant)

Art comes from being in an alpha state for me, in water.

I learn things backwards sometimes. This was the year I learned about how to really conduct independent study. This was the year I learned about friends and how you don’t always agree. It was a year of listening to music together, and jokes, and studying hard, and working endlessly on projects or papers or dishes (see apron) or figuring out next moves.

I spent a lot of time in the bathtub at Wesley. I didn’t have enough clothes. I could not seem to get warm and stay that way. There was not one I could get to easily on the 2nd floor of Haven. I felt like one of the prune people when I got out, but warmer for a little.

I miss them, even though it has been so long. We learned how to mangle the lyrics to songs we listened to together in our rooms (on stereos! … remember stereos?) including “City of New Orleans” and “Lulu’s Back in Town.”

We heard the Smiffenpoofs (was that what they were called?), and the Princeton Nassoons sing in this house. We heard annoying housemates screeching up and down the halls in their nightgowns very late. We heard the singing and showering and coffee pots and papers of our fellow students and occasionally even their boyfriends.


If they were in San Francisco today. I would take them to Lovejoy’s Tea Room for some beverages and reminiscence. Ply them with truffles. Spoil them with love.

Perhaps it was Carole McSheffrey who invited the jug band to sing in our living room. I will never forget the banjo. I memorized the words to ‘Barnyard Dance’ during long cold walks across the campus to the studio. I think this is the year we were snowed in. People were skiing cross country in to work in Boston. Robert J. Lurtsema was still alive. A heck of a long time ago.

The radiator clanked, so I named it, but it still would not shut up since pressure and cold in 100-year-old houses do funny things to steam heat. Its a wonder I did not burn all my hair off sleeping next to it. I sure did burn my elbows and knees a few times. That sucker got hot!

Remember the Fire Rope Test, team? I felt grateful we didn’t have to dress for it silly gym costumes like I did in elementary school. They were sort of like… rompers.


On Being Stuck, and On Innovation

I occasionally get reminded by the lump on my own forehead that I need to stop metaphorically banging it against the wall.  Finding a new solution to an old problem is a little more challenging. Lists of things I am grateful for can be a catalyst, or at least can serve as a come-along to winch myself out of a rut.

A few years ago, I discovered that the Golden Gate Western Wear in Richmond had some woman-sized snap front shirts, with diamond snaps, mostly made in America.  Rockmount Ranch Wear. Truly great. Well made, beautiful, a great idea, and a pleasure to wear and own.  They are among Joe A. Well’s finest western innovations.  For these we are grateful.  Thank you, Golden Gate!

Our country is truly the land of Innovation. It is hard sometimes to remember that, since sometimes every piece of news, the behavior of most people, and the design of everything seems anchored in stupidity. We do have real work to do.

Stay tuned for:  Cigar Box Guitars, and their Makers as outlined in Mike Orr’s book: Handmade Music Factory (Fox Chapel Publishing).

I need to make an ironing board dobro. Right after I get some chores done.