How the hell did it get to be the 22nd of May?
The way time works often baffles me. In May of 1975, I moved into a studio apartment in Greenwich Village. When I was finally able to break thru the image of New York enough to move away, I had one of those Billy Pilgrim moments. It was May 1985 - the apt. had been emptied and my possessions put on a U-Haul about to head for Boston. For some odd reason, I asked the folks helping me move to give me a moment alone in the space. There was no sentimental lump in the throat. No sighs. In fact, I wasn't feeling much at all. (I may or may not have spun around a la Mary Richards, feeling a giddy moment of triumph.) Whatever I was doing, I remember a sudden awareness that 12 years had passed. How was it possible? Had I really made my home in such cramped space? It seemed like I had just moved in, just stood on rubble and concrete to experience Op-Sail. (Later, that site became the atrium of the World Trade Towers.) It was yesterday, damnit. The days had taken forever to get thru, but the years had flashed by. After 8 years in Boston, on another bright day in May, I moved to Brattleboro. I wanted to get out of the cities, I wanted to be around kids again. Now, I turn around and toddlers have suddenly become grown ups. How could it have been 15 years? Last night I renewed my lease for another year (yep, I moved in May again). The days take forever, but another year has flown by.
Today is the birthday of Charles Aznavour. He's 86 now, and still touring the world in his 'farewell" tour - it started in 2006 and may end next year. He's quite an interesting character. His parents escaped the Turkish massacre of the Armenians and headed to the United States. They had gotten as far as Paris when he was born, and they put down roots where they were. When he was 9, he quit school to sing and dance onstage. He had become somewhat successful by his 20's when Edith Piaf saw him, folded him into her entourage, and became his mentor. He had this one song, which came out in the very early 60's. I liked it a lot back then. The song's opening would stay in memory to appear unbidden at odd times. Last week, on my radio show, I played Lena Horne's version as part of a tribute to her passing. Once again, it caught hold and I found it, as sung by Aznavour, on You Tube. While listening, I could suddenly see myself looking out the picture window in my father's home. I was 11 or 12 then, and I could see the patterns on the drapes, I could see my father's orange covered lounge chair. I had turned around again you see. 50 years had gone by, but it couldn't be - it was just a couple of days ago. And that song had so much more meaning for me. So, Happy Birthday Mr. Aznavour. A note to all my friends; watch that turning around stuff.