An Autobiography: Chapter 38, Covered Bridge


| 10/25/2012 10:01:55 AM


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When we were living on Roosevelt Island, the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship was located in Manhattan with offices in one of the United Nations’ buildings. We visited the office several times and had lunch in the U.N. restaurant. From there we could look out the window and see Roosevelt Island. I think Dr. Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, would have been pleased that the offices of the organization, which was founded in 1940 to support his hospital work in Africa, was located near the United Nations. It later moved to Boston.

One night, before the tram was operating, we went to see a show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), but I can’t remember what it was. I do remember the mix-up we had on the subways. After we left BAM and went to the subway station, I’m not sure what I was doing – maybe looking at papers at the newsstand – but Georgianna and Heather went down the wrong steps. I looked for them and saw across the tracks a train pulling out – and there was Heather and Georgianna going to who knows where!

There was nothing I could do but get on the train to Queens. It was late at night, and I was worried. I got off the subway at Queens and stood at the corner waiting for the bus to Roosevelt Island. I waited a while to see if they showed up. Well, in a short time here they came, laughing and happy! Just a typical evening in New York.

Allan Jones was one of our favorite singers, and his starring role in the 1935 film version of Jerome Kern’s Show Boat, with Irene Dunne, was only one of his memorable films. At the age of 69, on November 3, 1976, he gave a rare concert appearance at New York’s Town Hall, and Georgianna and I spent a wonderful nostalgic evening. His LPs were on sale, and I have one, which he signed.

Show Boat Poster 038 

Another memorable appearance we attended, in addition to Jones and Alberta Hunter, was seeing the great harmonica virtuoso, Larry Adler, at a club in New York. He transformed the mouth organ from a children’s toy into an instrument of the classical repertoire. He was a close friend of George Gershwin and said, “He wrote the Rhapsody in Blue for me.” Adler’s 1984 autobiography is entitled, ”It Ain’t Necessarily So,” a song from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.” The London Sunday Times wrote, “A super book, really super!”




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