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Lyra Halprin: August [High-jumping feminist]

Dear Scribes,

I posted my submission this morning but I don’t see it! So I’m posting again. Forgive me if it posts several time.

I’m trying to blend together stories and commentary in my memoir about growing up a feminist in California. A significant theme in several sections is the connection between strong women’s bodies, sports and how support like Title IX has helped us in all aspects of life. The memoir is now roughly chronological in chapters. I wonder if this layering of stories is working here. The last part, about female athletes being the topic of my masters thesis, I have also tried putting in a later chapter about going to journalism school. I’m not sure which is the best way to present this particular material about my experience with sports and writing, and women athletes’ stories.

Rory mentioned at the top of the section is my granddaughter. Is this chapter interesting enough for readers or does it get too general in my gripes? Any other comments appreciated! Thank you.

Lyra

High jumping feminist-6

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Lyra Halprin: August [High-jumping feminist]

Dear Scribes,

I posted my submission this morning but I don’t see it! So I’m posting again. Thanks for humoring me.

I’m trying to blend together stories and commentary in my memoir about growing up a feminist in California. A significant theme in several sections is the connection between strong women’s bodies, sports and how support like Title IX has helped us in all aspects of life. The memoir is now roughly chronological in chapters. I wonder if this layering of stories is working here. The last part, about female athletes being the topic of my masters thesis, I have also tried putting in a later chapter about going to journalism school. I’m not sure which is the best way to present this particular material about my experience with sports and writing, and women athletes’ stories.

Rory mentioned at the top of the section is my granddaughter. Is this chapter interesting enough for readers or does it get too general in my gripes? Any other comments appreciated! Thank you.

Lyra

 

High jumping feminist-6

Lyra Halprin: August [High-jumping feminist]

Dear Scribes,

I posted my submission this morning but I don’t see it! So I’m posting again. Thanks for humoring me.

I’m trying to blend together stories and commentary in my memoir about growing up a feminist in California. A significant theme in several sections is the connection between strong women’s bodies, sports and how support like Title IX has helped us in all aspects of life. The memoir is now roughly chronological in chapters. I wonder if this layering of stories is working here. The last part, about female athletes being the topic of my masters thesis, I have also tried putting in a later chapter about going to journalism school. I’m not sure which is the best way to present this particular material about my experience with sports and writing, and women athletes’ stories.

Rory mentioned at the top of the section is my granddaughter. Is this chapter interesting enough for readers or does it get too general in my gripes? Any other comments appreciated! Thank you.

Lyra

High jumping feminist-6

Lyra Halprin [High-jumping feminist]

Dear Scribes,

I posted my submission this morning but I don’t see it! So I’m posting again. Thanks for humoring me.

I’m trying to blend together stories and commentary in my memoir about growing up a feminist in California. A significant theme in several sections is the connection between strong women’s bodies, sports and how support like Title IX has helped us in all aspects of life. The memoir is now roughly chronological in chapters. I wonder if this layering of stories is working here. The last part, about female athletes being the topic of my masters thesis, I have also tried putting in a later chapter about going to journalism school. I’m not sure which is the best way to present this particular material about my experience with sports and writing, and women athletes’ stories.

Rory mentioned at the top of the section is my granddaughter. Is this chapter interesting enough for readers or does it get too general in my gripes? Any other comments appreciated! Thank you.

Lyra

 

High jumping feminist-6

Lyra Halprin: August [High-jumping feminist]

Dear Scribes,

I’m trying to blend together stories and commentary in my memoir about growing up a feminist in California. A significant theme in several sections is the connection between strong women’s bodies, sports and how support like Title IX has helped us in all aspects of life. The memoir is now roughly chronological in chapters. I wonder if this layering of stories is working here. The last part, about female athletes being the topic of my masters thesis, I have also tried putting in a later chapter about going to journalism school. I’m not sure which is the best way to present this particular material about my experience with sports and writing, and women athletes’ stories.

Rory mentioned at the top of the section is my granddaughter. Is this chapter interesting enough for readers or does it get too general in my gripes? Any other comments appreciated! Thank you.

Lyra

High jumping feminist-6

Thank you Dave Brubeck

Thank You

When I heard about jazz legend Dave Brubeck’s death in December a day shy of his 92nd birthday, I thought of a story I did more than thirty years ago about my own relationship with Dave. I use the term “relationship” loosely,” as I only met him once and heard him perform twice.

The story was about an informal concert Dave and his quartet gave for writers in Concord, Calif., a small town on the east side of the San Francisco Bay, which was Dave’s home town. I was a reporter at a small newspaper in Woodland, a farming community eighty miles northeast of San Francisco; I was invited to a talk and concert with Dave, who was promoting an album.

Dave and I went way back. My mother, a classical pianist, and my father, a farmer and lifelong music lover, bought Dave’s 1958 album Jazz Impressions of Eurasia. They were taken with Dave’s infectious accessible brand of jazz, which was sweeping the planet. This was notable in our house, because my parents rarely listened to popular music, let alone bought a popular album.

“He was a gifted, talented musician,” my mother told me years later. A pianist with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra at 21, Mom, who was two years younger than Dave, is not very receptive to non-classical music. But Dave was different. “He was classically trained and I could hear it,” she said.

Dave’s mother Ivy was a classical pianist, too. I read that she was initially disappointed by Dave’s focus on jazz, but lived long enough to appreciate his music.

Jazz Impressions of Eurasia was the result of the quartet’s whirlwind three-month tour of Europe and Asia. I was about seven years old when I first heard the album. I remember stopping in my tracks, captivated by the rhythm and melody of the piece The Golden Horn. I walked closer to the stereo, which was right next to my mom’s grand piano.

“What’s this?” I wondered, moved in a more visceral way than anything by Beethoven or Mozart. The slightly uneven beat of the jazz sucked me in. Dave incorporated unusual rhythms into his work. Nomad, from the same album, was based on the rhythms of Turkish nomads who played drums on their camels to frighten dogs. My favorite song on the album is Thank You, a piano solo. I love its tender richness and the shifting rhythm. And I’m a sucker for the piano.

At that Concord gathering, Dave joyfully shared his music with me and a handful of other reporters and music critics in a college performance hall. He stretched his mouth into his trademark wide smile and told us about the music. I listened in delight as he and his quartet played their signature Paul Desmond tune Take Five, one of the most popular jazz songs of all time, and Blue Rondo a la Turk, another that was inspired by the uneven rhythms of Turkey. They played a few other songs before stopping to wrap up our group interview. At some point I was able to talk to him. I told him about my introduction to jazz through his Eurasia album. I didn’t know how to tell him that his music was the first that my parents and I loved equally, that it was a bridge for us.

Before we left, he sat down for one last piece. I was hoping it would be something I knew. Dave played alone. The song was Thank You. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Lyra Halprin is a Northern California writer whose commentaries have aired on National Public Radio and its local affiliates. A former newspaper, television and radio reporter, she worked for more than 20 years as a public information officer for the University of California sustainable agriculture programs. She enjoys writing about growing up in California in the 1950s and ‘60s, family, women’s health, and her dog Taj, who has a fine sense of humor.

 

 

 

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