Saturday, May 14, 2011

this ’n’ that

1. I took some clothing to the Salvation Army Thrift Store the other day, where our friend Cathy M. is manager and our friend Trisha M. (no relation to Cathy) works in the back sorting and pricing new arrivals. I found Trisha oohing and ahhing over a box of 33-1/3 rpm vinyl LP classical records and two big boxes of books brought in earlier by another customer. When she told me that all paperback books are 39 cents and all hardcover books are 79 cents, I decided to have a look for myself. What I came away with, 79 cents poorer, was a hardcover book published in 1867 called Letters of Distinguished Musicians by Lady Wallace.

I am indebted to Wikipedia for helping me know a little more about Lady Wallace. Google turned up three Lady Wallaces -- or maybe that should be Ladies Wallace -- but I know I picked the right one because the Lady Wallace I picked (Grace Jane, a Scottish author and translator of German and Spanish works) died in 1878; the other two didn’t fit the bill at all: Lady Eglantine Wallace died in 1803 and Lady Helen Wallace wasn’t born until 1946.

I was already familiar with the musicians, though, and didn’t need Wikipedia's help, but I have included links to them here in case any of you might be interested in learning more about them. They are, in the order Lady Wallace published their letters:

Christophe Gluck (1714 - 1787)
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714 - 1788)
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)
Carl Maria von Weber (1786 - 1826)
Felix Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847)

(Trivia Note. Carl Philipp Emanuel was the son of Johann Sebastian, Haydn composed 106 symphonies, and the correct way to pronounce von Weber is Fon Vayber.)

Lady Wallace also translated and published many letters of Mozart and Beethoven, but none of them is found in this particular volume.

Anyhoo, instead of writing new blogposts I have been reading the fascinating correspondence of these gentlemen of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and it has been ever so much more interesting than paying attention to the depressing events of the current day. Another way of putting it is that I find myself increasingly out of touch, but that is simply the price of erudition.

2. Speaking of price, our eldest son gave his mother two dozen yellow roses (her favorite) for Mother’s (Mothers’, Mothers) Day and they are still gorgeous a week later. He told me, and I am passing the information along to you, that the best flowers at the best price are found at Costco. He paid $16.99 for these at a time when every other Tom, Dick, and Genevieve in the florist business raises prices through the roof to gouge the American flower-buying public, simply because they can.

Bouquet Of Yellow Roses by Andrew Schmidt (though there are only 11 in this public domain photo and Mrs. RWP received 24)

3. I thought my ten-year-old electric lawnmower had finally given up the ghost, but that same eldest son took it apart and said all it needed was a new switch. He ordered the part online, paid for it himself, and told me, “Happy Father’s Day” even though Father’s (Fathers’, Fathers) Day won’t get here until the third weekend in June. That boy is a keeper, although when he was 12 he nearly gave us a heart attack when he took apart a rented alto saxophone just to see how it worked. His mother told him, “Son, I’m going to my room to lie down, and when I come back, that saxophone had better be put back together.” It was. Later, during his college years, he repaired instruments in a music store, so all’s well that ends well, according to somebody.

4. Speaking of which, this post is over.


  1. Exciting times in Georgia, eh? Of course, one reaches an age at which too much excitement isn't a good thing.

    Congratulations upon having such a wonderful son. Would you say that he takes after you?

  2. Snow, a couple of years ago I was saying one day to my daughter that I could see myself in both of her brothers, that they both got my musical side, but one got my educational side and the other got my spiritual side, that they were both like me but they were completely different from one another. She said, "Dad, one got your anal-retentive side and the other got your loose-bowel syndrome."

  3. So, then, your daughter takes after her mother?

  4. how many peoplloplee are interested in lady wallace's book even though it was 79 cents except maybe an old fogy like you

  5. putzy on laura's handle above says [and probably a tightwad to boot]

  6. And a satisfying, ramble round the subjects post it was. Variety is ever the spice of life.
    Just be glad you weren't trying to post it on Blogger later in the week! :)

  7. Your son's mother is a very wise woman! I, too, have a son who, from an early age, had to take things apart to see how they worked.
    The book about the musicians was a serendipity.

  8. Sometimes you win (see Jinksy and Pat - Arkansas) and sometimes you lose (see Laura a.k.a. Putz).

    P.S. to Snowflake - in many ways, my daughter and her mother are like two peas in a pod.