• Upcoming trips

    May 2 to May 14 London vacation. We will be staying in the President Hotel, 56 - 60 Guildford Street, Russell Square, London, WC1N 1DB. Telephone : 020 7388 4443. Hope to see you all then.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    February 20. At Christine’s prompting, and, offer to go to the box office for Family Circle tickets, we went to see the Met’s production of Parsifal–from 6.00 to 11.30! It is a modern production for the new generation of opera-goers (the ones that hoot and holler at slightest excuse to the detriment of all others’ listening concentration). Modern dress  clashes horribly with the ancient myth of the story line, and state-of-the art lighting and staging effects  enlighten and intrigue the semi gloom in which the action(?) of  all three acts take  place. I was pleasantly impressed with the singing cast and  thought that it compared favorably with the greats of my younger days.

    The new conductor was enthusiastically welcomed (The Levine era is now forgotten completely) but I thought the sound he produced from the orchestra did not quite evoke the agonizing pathos that I remembered.

    February 21.  Saw “Amy and the Orphans” at The Roundabout Theatre. It is a story of parents’  tussle with the agony of caring for a child with Down syndrome and the adult siblings’ efforts to atone for their parents’ weakness. Wonderfully convincing acting all round and written with great humour to counter the guilt dialalogue of the characters.

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The Memoirs of: bwthompson@lifeline/nr.end/hom.sap

(Full chapter index below right)

What manner of ego motivates an autobiographer, I wonder? Is there any justification for encumbering the minds of unsuspecting readers with memories of events which shaped one’s own life? Certainly, yesterday’s movers and shakers were confident that their successes improved the fate of mankind; that their failures were the fault of others; and thus owed posterity a duty to set down their version of history before the revisionists of the next generation got at it. My own view is that the passing decades, centuries and millennia will prove them wildly mistaken. Winston Churchill, for example, would he have waxed so eloquent if he had foreseen that the net result of his successes would be the impoverishment of Britain? That Germany and Japan, the very enemies the Brits expended so much of their wealth and blood to defeat, were soon to become the its economic masters, second only to the United States? And take Karl Marx and his monumental effort to devise a perfect social system which would function without the aid of human nature–would he have bothered if he had known that his most famous disciple, Joseph Stalin, would use it to murder a million of his own people and grind the rest into fearful poverty? Or would give rise to a Pol Pot or a ‘gang of four’?

But, what of the mass of ordinary people? Without them, the movers and shakers would not have much to move and their shaking would be fruitless. Tiny, as they may be, the contributions each of us makes, become the totality of the history of man’s existence, and the absence of even one alters the end result! Are the lives and tribulations of the common man of any interest though? They determine Homo sapiens’ path to glory or extinction, so the answer ought to be “yes”. But the common man has rarely been able to express his innermost thoughts in the past, let alone commit them to paper. He agonizes inwardly over his failures–“If only” starts many a long train of introspection. He is secretly proud of his successes; the little manoeuvres he performed in order to improve the lot of his family and himself; the backing he gave to friends and family in times of stress; his passing-on of his values and his pride of craftsmanship; his survival even; all give him a feeling of inner satisfaction. A feeling that he has, after all, changed the cutting-edge direction a little.

Why, then, should his flower be left to blush unseen now that technology has given him the chance to set down his thoughts with ease? The computer, chat rooms, web-pages and e-mail have released him from the bondage of silent acceptance–He may not command the attention of the masses but still, the satisfaction of engaging in the dialogue, even if it is only among his intimate circle of friends and family, is much the same as that of those power-wielders monopolizing the headlines. It may be a matter of degree, but, in the end, it is the individual’s own ego which senses achievement and failure.

In my case, my memories and perceptions are my very own. I have disdained all research—I like my memories and conclusions as they are. In putting them to paper, I have been guided somewhat by the adage: ‘Don’t confuse me with the facts–my memory is already made up!’


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