Life Story

It’s for your children and grandchildren, but it’s also for yourself, so you can reflect on your own life.

Eugene Perabo, “Great Stories Never Told” participant
Brier Dodge, “Life story project ready for second chapter“. Metro Ottawa, August 25, 2016

Wrote about lost books unwritten here and here. How so many important life memories are not recorded. Different types of lens on particular events.

Then read a story by Brier Dodge on the Life Story Project, “Great Stories Never Told“, by Sonshine Community Ministries. A Christian organization caring for developmentally-challenged people.

Now encouraging the non-challenged elderly, in particular, to get the memories down, in written or video format. Presumably open to anybody.

The first person in the current session: Fazlollah Reza, age 101.

What you said, what you did, what you thought…

In Persian, or otherwise, where the opening seconds are universal…

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…where traffic is being redirected, in the midst of creating a bicycle lane. So someone sees a direction sign up, not out, and…

Heaven 1

Grey clouds looking brighter. And directed away from the payday loans:

Heaven 2


Or maybe a reminder of the obvious.

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Prior to the war, there had been very little anti-Jewish feeling expressed in either Brussels or Antwerp. Although Antwerp was a hotbed of the Flemish nationalist movement, the focus of this nationalism before 1930 was almost entirely anti-French. With the rise of Nazism in Germany through the 1930s and the onset of the Depression, however, there was a rise in Flemish “New Order” parties in Antwerp that did not occur in Brussels–most notably the Vlaamsch Nationaal Verbond (V N V, Flemish National League) founded in 1933. These parties adopted much of the Nazi credo and turned their nationalist fervour against Belgian Jews. …The V N V and their supporters accused Antwerp’s Jews of supporting “denationalization” (Frenchification) by overwhelmingly sending their children to French-speaking schools. In 1937, Antwerp also saw the founding of the explicitly anti-Semitic and violent organization Volksverwering with its paramilitary wing, Actie Groep (Action Group). Even before the German army set foot in Belgium, Actie Groep began a campaign to expel Jews from Antwerp’s public parks. It was these extremist Flemish nationalists who, alone with Algemeene SS-Vlaanderen (the Flemish arm of the SS) became a brutal collaborationisht force unleashed against Antwerp’s Jewish population…

Mark Webber and Naomi Azrieli, Introduction to E/96: Fate Undecided, by Paul-Henri Rips (Azrieli Foundation, 2009)

The insecurity of nationalist sentiment

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The first song that went directly into my bloodstream was “All for the Love of a Girl”.

Way before the Beatles and the Brit Invasion, when I was nine or ten, I got a little AM radio. But at night up in Sunapee, the wind howled and I couldn’t get the radio stations I wanted, so I ran a wire up to the top of the apple tree. It’s still there! And I picked up WOWO out of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and heard “All for the Love of a Girl”. It was the B-side of Johnny Horton’sBattle of New Orleans“.

“All for the Love of a Girl” was a slow pick-and-strum love song with Johnny Horton curling his lips around the lyrics, twanging every word as if it were a guitar string.

It was very basic, almost the archetypal love song. It’s kind of an every-love-song-ever-written ballad. It’s all there in four lines. Bliss! Heartbreak! Loneliness! Despair! I sat in the apple tree and lived every line of it.

Steven Tyler, Does The Noise in My Head Bother You? (2011)

Written by Johnny Horton. Originally released 1958.

Included on The Spectacular Johnny Horton (1959).

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From the car radio in the midst of Ottawa Pride, August 21, 2016 comes Dire Straits’Money for Nothing“. The unedited version.

Guess the radio station hadn’t heard.

Or maybe used in a “non-hateful manner“.

Still, in the midst of a Pride parade…

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From Jack Gance, by Ward Just (1989), in which the protagonist discusses his theory of measuring the pulse of a nation:

I had become interested in psephology in my freshman year. It was then an infant science, and not so much a science as a technique. I had a theory that if you could identify the most basic aspirations of the population, then the campaign would write itself, so long as you had a hero to give it voice, and a villain to supply romance. Hope, not fear, animated America at that time; and a campaign needed a narrative as much as a movie did, and for the same reasons.

And where less hope…less romance…?

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Hang on to

And there ain’t nothing I can do about it

From the conclusion of the Mad Men final season premiere episode, “Time Zones”, where Peggy Olson (Elizabeth Moss) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm) are hit by a particular emptiness at the end of Valentine’s Day:

And where the Vanilla Fudge cover of “You Keep Me Hanging On” captures…

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