Thursday, February 28, 2008
John Topham Butler house, Arizona, circa 1911
This was another world, a world of hard work. I love the way these pictures show the whole house, along with the family. To have a nice place like this and a well-dressed family was a real achievement, against many odds. They all worked hard to maintain it and, in this particular case, almost lost it several times.
Nostalgia and the lost world: the fine strong voice of Pete Seeger, that pure uncorruptible spirit was on TV tonight. I had forgotten what a nice voice he had, sort of a rich quality, along with the infectious ability to get the folks to sing along. Most of the other folkies seem a little thin, vocally as well as spiritually, next to him, really. And sort of compromised by the willingness to do, say, a cigarette commercial, which was what caused him to leave The Weavers. He was who he was and stuck to it. He was lucky, I think, in the wife he chose--she had to work very hard. The documentary showed him chopping his own wood, which I hope he doesn't really have to still do all the time. I hope it was purely symbolic, because he didn't seem all that good at it, and I am not sure the ax was sharp. I hadn't known of his involvement in the movement to clean up the Hudson River. So he was involved in the best issues of his time: trade unionism, civil rights, peace, and ecological awareness. What a life!
There was some footage of Joan Baez--I had remembered her voice was spectacularly good, but had somehow forgotten the peculiar beauty of it.
It was lovely to revisit this time when I was young and we were all so hopeful. Most of it has come to naught and will have to be done all over again, if we can somehow manage it.
at 12:11 AM