Monday, September 30, 2019

Joy Harjo Read September 1994 for the Distinguished Poet Series


During earliest experiences with computers I still used my manual typewriter.  However at the Arts Commission I entered information for contributors’ bios, I tried for brevity, and entered other necessary material, captions for end-pages photos, during my 1994-1996 grant from the Lila Wallace – Reader’s Digest Foundation.   

Dorothy McCuistion and I co-edited and co-designed the compilation and each broadside distributed at the Distinguished Poet Series readings. Dorothy, our Tacoma Arts Commission representative for the reading series project, arranged for the compilation to be included at the United States Library of Congress.
McCuistion

One day I visited the Tacoma Arts Commission to assemble the Distinguished Poet Series broadside compilation. Dorothy McCuistion and I approached stacks of broadsides around a large table. The broadsides remained from those distributed free at the readings, we printed broadsides ahead for remaining readings so these too could be included in the limited edition compilation.

The city scheduled us in a room just off the city council chamber at the Municipal Building, where the table was large enough for our broadsides. We placed the broadsides in an order we felt might best set off the art or meaning of the poem. As we planned, we decided to use my idea that the broadsides should be placed on facing pages. The first poem in the compilation is Grace by Joy Harjo.

The other day I happened to meet Elaine Briden at the Tacoma Public Library. Elaine participated in the project as an opening reader for Duane Niatum.  The framed Broadsides also appeared in April, 1996, at the Handforth Gallery for National Poetry Month. We reminisced about the reading, twenty-five years ago, in 1994, by Joy Harjo.  And Joy Harjo, this September, gave her first reading as United States Poet Laureate.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Lines Regarding A Washington State Fair Exhibit




Lines at the Grange


Immediate is the shock
Of mask and white robe
Inside the old fairgrounds barn.
The shock fades, ambiguous:
Applique on the robe
A crusader red cross.

In the rodeo parade riders
Drape behind the saddle
A bright-colored cloth.
At a place in a journal
From 1995, I visited in summer
Daffodil Arabians at the arena.

On one page in the journal,
Across the street from
The poetry reading,
A helmeted knight
Holds the tour sign
For the Pythian Temple.

The mask and white robe
Continue to shock.  Others
Turn to one another to say things.
Did white robes come from
The linen closet?  Or from
Drama costuming? 

Or from:  maybe, we see, from:
The corn field.  Near grange exhibits
The Scare Crows are various and many.
A bright jester has
The purple ribbon.

On the Merry-Go-Round
One horse has face mail.

White robes and masks
Were a horrific perversion
Of a knighthood fascination. 
Armor at the 1905 Pythian Temple.
A corn field is not so far away
From a provincial seaport.

An early Crusader
Was Saint Francis of Assisi. 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sommardag I Kangasala

front right Linnea

Sommardag I Kangasala, by Zacharias Topelius, is a beloved song about beautiful Finland.  It is a song of the wonderful view from a high place and is the song of a bird. 
Top - Leonard Svedberg








I include smaller photos from a larger photo of the choir at Hoquiam.  One shows Leonard Svedberg, one shows Linnea on the right beside her friend Astrid Svedberg, daughter of Leonard Svedberg. 



With them are three cousins of Linnea’s mother, Olga, Wilma, and Tyra Malm, Olga and Tyra wear scarves as headbands.  Also shown are Elmer and Carl Gord.


At an earlier Spice Drawer Mouse blogpost are photos in Hoquiam of the Masonic Hall and of The East Side Hall, the center of activities for the Songfest in 1924.


Friday, August 30, 2019

Where Can I Drive the Horse and Wagon?

magazine










Horse And Wagon

Glaciers in the Ice Age shaped Puget Sound.  To discuss geology becomes necessary, Tacoma has modest elevation changes along its roads, and Old Tacoma has considerable elevation changes along two hillsides above.  The grade on many streets did not allow for a horse and wagon. 

The video shared below is about a horse and wagon, that a folk song from Finland might have been used infrequently because of Hollywood Standards.  There was a Modern Screen magazine shown in a photo from 1931 of my mother and family members.  In the video shared here I refer to the Hayes Motion Picture Code, that performers made choices to be in line with the Motion Picture Code.  The magazine is from October, 1931, the movie star on the cover is Dorothy Mackaill, a Hollywood sensation. 

Video Two is the song with translation, Video One is the song with comments on the screen.





When I have generalized about geology most recently, I began to see an article from The Tacoma News Tribune appear on the internet about Redlining and an internet site that permitted location of Redlining Residential neighborhoods on many city maps.  Tacoma was present at the internet site about Redlining.

Old Tacoma was quite Yellow.  Among blocks near industry was the block that included my great-grandfather’s house.  All along the shoreline of Puget Sound cities are areas not tinted in with Green, Blue, Yellow and Red.  Some areas left untinted are downtown business areas, some are near industry or along the railroad tracks.  When the coal burning engines went past, the soot could get on the wash my grandmother had on her line.  The family once had owned a cow.  They did not have a horse and wagon.  My oldest Uncle could remember when the train was put in along Ruston Way.  He still lived there into the 1980s and could notice when the Coast Starlight was particularly late coming in to Tacoma.   

My great-grandfather’s house and my grandmother’s house beside it were on blocks left untinted when the Redlining Residential Housing Neighborhood maps were designed.  In the photo below Carl Gord in a tie helps roll firewood they bought from lumber mills to the wood storage area in the basement of my grandmother's house.  One of the Lumber Mill burners is present in the background.  The mills burned sawdust and useless scrap wood in burners.


Monday, August 26, 2019

Slumrande Toner

Tacoma 1926
Slumrande Toner

Songfests continued.  In Tacoma the songfest was at the Scottish Rites Cathedral near Wright Park in 1926.

A page of the 1924 program appears below, which lists Slumrande Toner.



Poem First Published at The Far Field, Kathleen Flenniken state poet laureate blog

The song fest in this poem happened ninety-five years ago this Labor Day Weekend
In The Summer Weather
May 1924
At the grave on Memorial Day
they remembered Albert.
My mother said to me,
one relative of ours died in an accident
down on the waterfront.

For August, Labor Day Weekend 1924 –
the Order of Runeberg planned a songfest,
Swedish-Finnish Runeberg Choirs from Tacoma,
and Olympia, and Hoquiam and Aberdeen,
would sing, and their rehearsals began.

I took Swedish at the University of Washington.
Older, a Swedish class at First Lutheran Church
a song about the fox,
how the fox crept over the ice.
Räven raskar över isen.
For vi löv? May I have permission?

Can I be in the choir?
Linnea said to Auntie.

Auntie came up from Grandma
and Grandpa’s house, where the choir
first began in 1913 – their
Swedish-Finnish choir,
next door and they rehearsed.

Elmer and Carl bases, Al a tenor,
Linnea, Ma and Auntie, singing.

June 1924 THE READING CERTIFICATE
At the address on Commerce
where the American Legion Assembly Room
once was, there now
is a Hookah Smoking Caterpillar,
the Cobra Lounge.

It is a Hookah Lounge
where once Linnea Gorde
played A La Bien Aimee.
and the Cobra must change
the caterpillar’s Hookah Hose
Stems and leaves
into a stinging snake. And is it
about the stigma of things of the East?

In 1924 although experiencing
English Only Laws, the Catholics, Jews,
and the Lutherans were to lay aside
differences and Initiative 49,
brought forward by the Ku Klux Klan
to abolish private schools, was to be defeated.

There was a list of appropriate books
for her grade level, because by June
she had read ten. She could sit on her bed
she could sit at the table
she could sit with her feet up on the sofa.

Can one of these books have been
Alice in Wonderland?
She pasted into the scrapbook
her reading certificate from Tacoma Public Library
and Tacoma Public Schools.

Although the news held stories
of Ku Klux Klan rallies, of robes and hoods,
of crosses burning,
Initiative 49 was to go down to defeat.

July 1924 – Kingfisher Lodge
Elmer, Al,
Carl and Ray, Linnea and Gilbert
camped on the beach
where Birger and Eric lived.
Birger and Eric were brothers
of their father and Uncle Albert.
Birger and Eric worked at an island quarry
and they lived in a house on the beach.

Linnea’s piano teacher’s studio
was downtown at the Bernice building,
down the street from the Assembly Room.
Auntie waited while Linnea had her lesson.
Her teacher said to Linnea
with happiness, you are very good Linnea.
Or, you are very good, so you must practice
with diligence, because you have talent.

August 1924 THE SONGFEST IN HOQUIAM
We rode the train through the forest,
Linnea might well have said.
Linnea might well have said this
to her daughters. However, she was
a talented piano player, and the sound
was more likely to be Sommardansen.

Or, we rode in cars through the forest.
Or, we rode in the hired bus
through the forest to Aberdeen,
we rode in the hired bus, an arm
at the open window, in our everyday
dresses, and we rode on beyond
Aberdeen to Hoquiam. We were there
two nights, the songfest was all Labor Day Weekend.

The grand chorus sang, and the piano soloists
Linnea had to notice, were very pleasant
to listen to, and Linnea could believe
that she could do as well herself.

In the Aberdeen Electrical Park
nearby those people,
with the fires and the white hoods
were gathered, and all the women
exclaimed about this, nervously, then
quieted themselves and said something about
not letting it bother us.

The grand chorus sits for the photograph,
ladies in shades of white
men in black suits with neckties
in front of the B Street Finnish Hall,
Al on one side. Elmer and Carl on the other.

Al had been in soccer in the Stadium Annual.
Jones Photography, Gray’s Harbor .
In the paper from the area, The American,
a column on the front page
describes the KKK Labor Day Celebration
at the Electric Park,
an amusement park, in Aberdeen
and a column on the front page
describes the Songfest,
the Order of Runeberg Songfest.

One could attend one,
or one could attend the other.

In the paper the KKK was to have fireworks.
The Lodge was at
The Hoquiam Masonic Hall
a new hall built the year before in 1923.
I wonder if the Lodge took everyone
to the ocean beach.

In November the election results
for Initiative 49 in Hoquiam and Aberdeen
were almost 50 – 50,
but Initiative 49 was defeated.

Slumrande toner fjärran ur tiden
toner i från stugor, från fält och vänen lid.
sang the choir. They sang in Swedish,
it was a foreign language.
Songs can lie sleeping, distant,
far from time.
Songs from the cabins, from fields
and times so sweet.

September 1924
There is a saved letter and its envelope
that came one September day.
I find it is hard to interpret
all of it. But Faster Emelie
father’s sister, thanks them
and says she would have written sooner
about her brother Albert. But every time
she tried she began to cry instead.

“In The Summer Weather” is a middle section to a poem in progress, and refers to, among other sources, Thomas R. Pegram’s One Hundred Percent American The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s; The American, a newspaper from the 1920s in the Gray’s Harbor area; and to the Photo Archives at the Northwest Room of the Tacoma Public Library for references to the 1920s American Legion Assembly Room.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The History of The Runeberg Lodge Choir

 





A newsletter Linnea Gord distributed to choir members when she became choir director in 1935 remains a source of information about the Order of Runeberg Choir.  She duplicated the newsletter by mimeograph from the insurance company office where she worked.  The newsletter included stories about the activities of the choir and some short biographies of choir members.  It also included a history of the choir by Leonard Svedberg.  Leonard Svedberg appears in the 1923 and 1924 portrait of the choirs and in the 1962 portrait of the choir that made the demo albums of Swedish-Finnish songs.  This short section describes the earliest organizational efforts at the home of John Malm.  
exerpt - origins








John Malm was Linnea Gord's grandfather, and my great-grandfather.