Friday, April 28, 2017

Change and Loss


Back from six weeks away and in that short time, a lot has changed:

1)    The ugliest, most unnecessary, most ruinous of a beautiful skyline building in recent history was just about completed: The Sales Force Tower in San Francisco.

2)    The beautiful 150-year old main building of the Jewish Home for the Aged is now roped off and about to be torn down for a modern, certain to be less elegant and beautiful modern building.

3)    They changed the piano where I play there and the new one is pretty bad.

4)    Three more teachers decided to leave the school where I teach.

5)    The portable toilet outside my front door that has been there 6 months for my neighbor’s renovation got taken away.

Except for the last, none of these changes are welcome and the first three were all human-initiated changes supposed to improve something and from my point of view, made it worse. And as I’ve said before, a bad decision in music class is a temporary fleeting problem that washes away like a footprint in the sand. The same decision in architecture is a pretty permanent disaster, short of an earthquake (heaven forbid) taking it down. And from just about any vantage point in the city, there it is staring you in the face like a big wart on a once-reasonably handsome face that will never go away. It’s maddening. Not to mention attracting another 10,000 cars or so into the city to clog the arteries of the freeways and streets or overtax our already crumbling public transportation system. Whose idea was this? And why didn’t we get to vote?

Then there’s the other kind of change, the natural, organic one of gravity’s tugs and the everything harder to hear and harder to see (except that damn tower!) and the lion’s paw of time raking across one’s face and the ongoing parade of farewells and goodbyes. The picnic for my hired-in-the-70’s partner-in-crime Patty Corwin’s retirement is in two weeks. Now ain’t but two of us 70’s folks left at the school.

And then going to the Jewish Home to play for the first time in 6 weeks and ending with That Old Black Magic and tearing up thinking of Fran Hament, especially singing the line, “You are the mate that fate had me created for.” That was us, a soul-to-soul love affair based on these old songs and damn, I miss singing with her so much! By all standards, the change had-to-be, passing on at 90 years old and if I have to complain, it would be simply that I didn’t meet her earlier than 9 years ago to start this music-to-music romance.

But life marches on and I’m grateful that I’m still here marching alongside it, even if the new piano sounds bad and the beautiful passes or is torn down and the ugly raises up in the wrong place for the wrong reasons. As Irving Berlin said (and he’s fresh on my mind having just seen the fabulous show at the Berkeley Rep, Hershey Felder As Irving Berlin):

There may be trouble ahead. But while there’s moonlight and music and love and romance,
Let’s face the music and dance.

Thank you, Irving. That I will.

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