My grandmother, my father’s mother, had a nonchalant and serious way of saying “homeplace.” She was talking about the family farm where she lived for more than five decades, where members of the Brubaker family had lived for a century. It wasn’t grand. But conveyed in her pronunciation of that word was both great comfort and resignation. I don’t suppose I understand it. There were entire winter months when she stayed there, never venturing off … [Read more...]



Near the beginning of T. S. Eliot's "Portrait of a Lady" there are these lines: "We have been, let us say, to hear the latest Pole Transmit the Preludes, through his hair and fingertips." Were those the celebrated red locks of Paderewski? Like many Poles playing the piano, he specialized in Chopin. There were so many Chopinists in the early years of the twentieth century -- just as sound recording really got going -- that, although we … [Read more...]