I surmise that anybody who’s been following this revival of my father’s writing has learned by now that Harvey died of cancer in 1958 at the ripe young age of 37. Therein lies the tragedy and the origins of the personal trauma that I’m exploring now (while undergoing a fresh round of new personal trauma right here in 2018. But we’ll get to that later…).
We don’t really know a whole lot about his illness nor his death. It came, frankly, as a complete surprise to my siblings and me, although I was only 7 years old at the time and my sister only 4. My brother (also currently deceased) might have had more of a grasp of it, but even he was only 10 years old at the time.
Almost everything I ever knew about his illness (which is to say, nothing), was expressed in a poem I wrote a long time ago about the Little Green Boat our family owned while we still lived near the Shrewsbury River in Rumson, New Jersey.
What I do have in the archives that I’m rummaging through now are three short essays that Harvey wrote about his experiences in the world of mid-1950s medical care. Herewith, then, are those three essays, starting with:
A Visit To The Mayo Clinic – December, 1956
It’s peculiar that when reading the travel and resort section of the Sunday papers that I have never noticed any ads for Rochester, Minnesota as the ideal winter vacation spot. Much is written about Miami, Palm Beach, Bermuda, and the West Indies. But who is singing the praises of this happy little village nestled peacefully in the Zumbro Valley? (named for its discoverer Sam Zumbro, who mistakenly thought he had found the Khyber Pass.) Read More
… most excellent show at Douglas Corner last Friday evening. This was a “full band” preview of tracks from her soon-to-be-released new album “The Fallow Year” – ‘A New Album of Songs addressing Mental Health Issues’ – www.melissagreener.com
It had taken so long to panhandle the cash for a decent meal, but alas, he could not take it with him. #NoCheeseburgersInHeaven
April 7, 2018
This fellow’s name is Chuck Thompson; Chuck is an accomplished photographer in his own right who’s mission is “making musicians and business look good.” See his work at www.pickchuck.com
Like so many of us here in Music City, Chuck is also a musician. If you’re not familiar with that odd-looking instrument he’s playing, it’s called a “harp guitar” – an instrument from the turn of the 20th century that has found renewed popularity here in the 21st century. It combiners a conventional fretted guitar neck with several unfretted bass strings strung across an extension of the guitar body that play like the strings of a harp. .
But what is remarkable about this photo is that Chuck is not on the stage: he’s in the audience! He was right there in the front row, playing along with luminaries like Jerry Douglas, Keb Mo and John Oates at the Guitar Mash, an event that invites the audience to actively participate in the performance instead of just sitting there and flapping their hands together at the end of each song. For more on the event, read my commentary here.
…The City of Visual Contradictions. Stop and smell… no, wait… move along…