Tuesday, January 28, 2014

On life and death and the whole damn thing.....



Pete and the Clancys

I'm not much into the cult of stardom and notoriety and grieving for people I've never met. Maybe seen. But not met. But in the last few days two people dear to me have died. I say "dear". One was an elderly aunt, well into her nineties. A powerful role model for her children and nieces. More on that on a later post.

The other was Pete Seeger, also in his nineties. I saw him in concert a few times and never met him but the heart wrenching grief I've felt astounded me. Until I thought: this is all tied up with your aunt's death and peace and flowers and your own optimistic youth. You've been stoic about that.

I held back the tears when a brother told me of all my aunt's surviving children singing her favourite songs at the service. They were all great musicians in the family. But then Pete. His passing has unleashed something fierce in me. A mourning of the hippie me, the younger me. When aunts and uncles were alive and the protests against the Vietnam atrocities felt like they could change the way we did things. When I did put flowers in my hair and wore long dresses and asked where all those flowers had gone. When I first awoke to the injustice and misogyny and patriarchy and the military industrial complex and never went back to complacent sedation again.

Pete helped me do that. And you should have seen him play with the Clancy Brothers. I cry thinking of it.

Meanwhile, who'll ask about all those flowers now?

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18 Comments:

Blogger Sabine said...

Yes, I experienced a similar rush of grief when I heard the news this morning. When my daughter was little I used to sing "Where have all the flowers gone" as a lullaby. I am a tough person (and mother to a healthy young woman) but the memory made me weep first thing this morning.

Tue Jan 28, 06:46:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Hattie said...

If anyone is resting in peace now, it's Pete Seeger.

Tue Jan 28, 10:00:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Hattie said...

If anyone is resting in peace now, it's Pete Seeger.

Tue Jan 28, 10:00:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Hattie said...

Sorry for the double posting. Don't know how that happened.

Tue Jan 28, 10:01:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

Sabine:

Turn, Turn, Turn was one of the songs I sang my children.

Still love it.

XO
WWW

Tue Jan 28, 10:32:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

Oh Hattie, he deserves the encores and many more :)

XO
WWW

Tue Jan 28, 10:32:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Cape Cod Kitty said...

YES!!!!!

Tue Jan 28, 11:18:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Anonymous nick said...

Pete Seeger was never really on my musical radar, but there are one or two other celebs whose death I've shed tears over. One was John Lennon and another was Nelson Mandela. Sometimes even though you've never met the person their special qualities shine out and their death seems like a real loss.

Wed Jan 29, 08:30:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Government Funded Blogger said...

He wrote some lovely songs some of which I have in my music library.

Wed Jan 29, 02:47:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Friko said...

I think I must download Pete on to my iphone.
He’s been gone so long it’s time to resurrect him.

I think your aunt’s death helped stimulate those tears for Pete. Our days of flowers and wine and roses are long gone too, and Pete’s death brings it home to me. Youth is something I can barely remember in the ordinary course of events; it takes a reminder like this to awaken the old feelings.

Wed Jan 29, 03:05:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Sharon said...

I was given Pete Seeger's Children's Concert album when I was a girl, and then I played it for my own children when they were young. A few years ago I bought a copy of same as a CD for my adult daughter, who was saying on Saturday how she had just played it and how much she loved the music, which will live on for generations. What a life he lived ~

Thu Jan 30, 12:37:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Anonymous Rummuser said...

Pete was my favourite too. He made me like the banjo like no one had ever done!

Thu Jan 30, 09:47:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Cait O'Connor said...

It is always sad when the very special people pass on - I have posted a video for Pete today.

Thu Jan 30, 01:05:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Cape Cod Kitty said...

Being home sick, I've had a chance to watch some wonderful movies, and per chance on the day Pete's death was announced (sob, sob) I watched a wonderful documentary on the history of folk music that evolved out of Greenwich Village. Pete features loudly in this movie and it made me cry, cheer, re-visit my roots, and feel so happy and sad for the person I am - one shaped by that era.
The movie is on Netflix and titled..."Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation"....oh and Richard and Mimi Farina sing, as well. So wonderful.

Thu Jan 30, 02:12:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger The Poet Laura-eate said...

Sorry for your losses. Lx

Thu Jan 30, 03:56:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Anonymous Pamela (LadyLuz) said...

Yes, you've hit the nail on the head. It's often a mourning for our younger, involved and optimistic selves that evoke deep feelings in us, in me. I loved "Little Boxes", which was so apt in the housing boom of the 60s. I loved the whole of the folk scene then - Joan Baez in particular when she revived olde English folk songs.

Fri Jan 31, 05:10:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Cape Cod Kitty said...

WWW,
Your library may order the film for you. They do that sort of thing here. So hope you can find it. I wonder if there are Canadian services such as Netflix? I know things are much more expensive, as my sister lives in Ontario.

Fri Jan 31, 07:28:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Secret Agent Woman said...

That video lead to me several others int he series. Nice. I asked my Irish-music-loving son if he'd heard of the Clancy Brothers and he rolled his eyes and said, "Of course."

Sat Feb 01, 01:11:00 PM GMT-3:30  

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