Monday, December 10, 2018

4.22- Tuning Slide:

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music

December is full of the beauty of Light and love we can bring into our life.You can chose to be stressed or you can choose to let the small stuff go and be peaceful this Holiday season. It really is a choice you make.
― Eileen Anglin

Music and holidays go together. Music, as any of us who are musicians and music lovers know, can be the most expressive way to celebrate a holiday- or just daily life for that matter.
  • Love songs abound for Valentine’s Day.
  • There are the ecstatic sounds of resurrection joy on Easter.
  • We have elegies for Memorial Day.
  • John Phillip Sousa moves us to marching on the 4th of July.
  • The horse and sleigh carry us over the river and through the woods for Thanksgiving.
  • There are even holidays that celebrate different styles and means of making music. (- Link)
December is a great Holiday Month. It is a whole month when we usually do celebrate a holiday- namely Christmas. But there are others as well, the most famous being the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

The darkness of the whole world cannot swallow the glowing of a candle.
— Robert Altinger

[Hanukkah remembers an event] that happened over 2000 years ago when the Holy Lands were ruled by the Greeks. A small army of faithful Jews defeated the Greeks and drove their army from the land. That was a miracle because the Greeks were very powerful. God had handed over the powerful to the weak. The Jewish people reclaimed their Holy temple in Jerusalem, and rededicated it to service to God. Part of that service was to light the menorah. There was only enough purified olive oil to light the candle for one day. It burned for eight days, until more purified oil could be made. God had done another miracle. To commemorate these miracles, the festival of Chanukah was started. Each night of the 8 day festival, a new candle of the menorah would be lit, remembering the 8 days that God kept the candles burning. By the end of the festival all eight lights are lit. (- Link)
The story of Hanukkah is one that reminds people to this day of the power of light. It also challenges people to this day to continue to keep their light shining. Like most holidays it isn’t just about remembering, it is also about living. (Kind of like most great music as well!) To celebrate then, here is an old Peter, Paul, and Mary song that celebrates the Festival of Light that Hanukkah remains to this day.


Light one candle for the Maccabee children
With thanks that their light didn't die
Light one candle for the pain they endured
When their right to exist was denied
Light one candle for the terrible sacrifice
Justice and freedom demand
But light one candle for the wisdom to know
When the peacemaker's time is at hand

Don't let the light go out!
It's lasted for so many years!
Don't let the light go out!
Let it shine through our hope and our tears.

Light one candle for the strength that we need
To never become our own foe
And light one candle for those who are suffering
Pain we learned so long ago
Light one candle for all we believe in
That anger not tear us apart
And light one candle to find us together
With peace as the song in our hearts

Don't let…

What is the memory that's valued so highly
That we keep it alive in that flame?
What's the commitment to those who have died
That we cry out they've not died in vain?
We have come this far always believing
That justice would somehow prevail
This is the burden, this is the promise
This is why we will not fail!

Don't let the light go out!
Don't let the light go out!
Don't let the light go out!
Songwriters: Peter Yarrow
Light One Candle lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc
I’ll dig more into holidays and music the next two weeks. But for today, turn on the music for you and celebrate.

But before you do that, yesterday (the second Sunday in December) was one of the music holidays: National Choral Music Day! Perhaps the new “tradition” of flash mobs may be one of the better ways to celebrate music in public and many of them are choral. I found this neat one on You Tube from UNASP EC which is an engineering school in Brazil. Yep, engineers singing! A choral flash mob of the Freddie Mercury/Queen classic- Somebody to Love.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Buddy's War: #11- In the Greater War

This is part of a series that over two years will follow the story of my father in World War II 75 years ago. I did this five years ago in the series Following the 10th Armored, but I have been doing more research and expanding the ideas. The beginning posts will set the stage for the events of 1944 and 1945 when he was in Europe as part of the 10th Armored Division's 80th Armored Medical Battalion.
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In dealing with my father’s story of involvement in World War II, I don’t want to overlook the fact that during this time there was a lot of war happening. In 1943 the Eastern Front collapsed on the Germans, fighting was fierce in the Pacific, and Italy and Africa were centers of heavy warfare. The Germans continued their “Final Solution” when they were able. While many of the troops destined for Europe in 1944 were still in training, the war was as active as it had been. Here are some of the notable events of 1943: (Link)

◆ January 14, 1943
The Casablanca Conference between the U.S. and Britain begins. Roosevelt and Churchill agree that Germany must surrender unconditionally, and plan the Allied invasion of Sicily.

◆ January 31, 1943
Over 90,000 German troops at Stalingrad surrender to the Soviets. It is a significant turning point in the war against Germany.

◆ February 8, 1943
U.S. troops complete the capture of Guadalcanal from the Japanese .

◆ April 19, 1943
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins after German troops attempt to deport the ghetto's last surviving Jews. About 750 Jews fought back the Germans for almost a month.

◆ May 11, 1943
The Trident Conference between the U.S. and Britain begins. Roosevelt and Churchill decide to delay the Allied invasion of France and in its place plan the Allied invasion of Italy. In Alaska, U.S. troops land on Attu in the Aleutian islands to retake it from the Japanese .

◆ May 12, 1943
Axis forces in North Africa surrender.

◆ May 16, 1943
German troops crush the last resistance of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and kill thousands of Jews. The rest are sent to the Treblinka concentration camp to die.

◆ July 10, 1943
Over 160,000 Allied troops land in Sicily, beginning Operation Husky.

◆ July 25, 1943
Benito Mussolini's fascist government is overthrown in Italy. The new Italian government begins peace talks.

◆ August 15, 1943
U.S. troops retake Kiska island in the Aleutians.

◆ August 17, 1943
Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily, is successfully concluded when American troops take Messina.

◆ September 3, 1943
British troops land on mainland Italy, beginning the Allied campaign in Italy. American troops land six days later. The new Italian government formally surrenders.

◆ September 10, 1943
German troops occupy Rome. Mussolini soon declares himself the head of a new fascist Italian government in German-occupied northern Italy.

◆ October 13, 1943
Italy declares war on Germany.

◆ November 20, 1943
U.S. Army troops land on Makin island in the Gilberts. The next day, U.S. Marines land on Tarawa. Within four days, both islands were secured, but at the cost of thousands of casualties.

◆ November 8, 1943
The Teheran Conference between the U.S., Britain, and the USSR begins. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin meet together for the first time.

◆ December 1, 1943
The Teheran Conference between the U.S., Britain, and the USSR is successfully concluded. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin agree that the Western Allies would invade France in June 1944 and that when it began the USSR would launch a new offensive from the east.
◆ December 5, 1943
◆ Seventy-five years ago today.
The Allies began Operation Crossbow in an all-out effort to stop Germany's V-1 rocket program. The first launch sites targeted were near Ligescourt, France, where U.S. Army Air Force B-26 bombers made an unsuccessful attempt to put a dent in the program. (Link)
◆ December 24, 1943
Dwight Eisenhower is named supreme commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces.

(Link)

Monday, December 03, 2018

4.21: Tuning Slide- Creativity: Beyond Mastery

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music

Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate about something, then you're more willing to take risks.
— Yo-Yo Ma

We come to the tenth and last of Barry Green’s ten pathways to music mastery from his book, Mastery of Music.

10. Creativity: The Journey Into the Soul

Green starts right out by naming the problem:
Creativity is elusive. It is hard enough to describe, and difficult if not impossible to command. And yet when people tap into it, their thoughts take on a universality that can touch all of our lives.
He goes on to say that creativity fueled by curiosity that leads to answers from within:
[T]his business of looking inside is the key to an exploration of one’s own creativity. When we learn where to listen for the answers, we may hear the answers more often.
The end, he says, is to find a path to travel “deep into the soul.”

It would be nice to think that creativity is simply “do what moves you.” While that is part of it, it is only a very small part. Creativity, as Yo-Yo Ma says, is built on passion that allows one to be willing to take risks. But I for one don’t believe a pathway into the soul is aimless, narcissistic, or chaotic. There is, as we talked about a few weeks ago, a flow to it. There is getting “into a flow” and not just some wandering with no aim or hope of resolution. (Though sometimes in the midst of creative moments it may feel like that.)

Reading through Green’s chapter on creativity I found the following four ideas as essential on which our creativity is to be built in music.

✓ Sound
The perennial starting point of music. Sound is always the most important. But in creativity it is different than pulling out the tuner to be sure the sound is “in tune” whatever that might mean. Sound is the overall picture, the image the music is presenting, the emotions and feelings.

✓ Structure
Then there is the structure. What are your ideas that your creativity is forming? Structure is the dwelling place of the sound. It sets the boundaries, the highs and lows, the extremes and the solid base on which everything is to be built. Structure is not limiting, but gives the creativity the room to grow and move. Only then can creativity reach new ideas and new directions.

✓ Harmony
After structure we get into the next basic of music- harmony. Structure may tell us the key we want to play in, but harmony tells us how the chords and keys and notes relate to each other.

✓ Rhythm
This is where “flow” begins to be felt. How does the creative flow? What is its tempo, its variations in sound, its cycles of chords in a particular order? What does the movement of the idea feel like? I have been playing around with some composing and I found myself starting with a rhythm, a particular movement of different length notes. I didn’t know what structure it would have (eventually it became a variation on 12-bars). I didn’t know when notes would ascend, descend, or strike into dissonance. In this case it was the rhythm I wanted.

Last- but always:
Don’t forget the Soul!

That’s where we move beyond just creating, or just being creative and getting content. It is time to make some decisions. It is time for the depths of our persons and ideas and experience to begin to apply to what we are creating. Recently, the blog/newsletter Brainpickings referred to writer/doctor Oliver Sacks who talked about the early stages of being creative but who then understood that
Often, creators — be they artists or scientists — content themselves with reaching a level of mastery, then remaining at that plateau for the rest of their careers, comfortably creating more of what they already know well how to create. (Brainpickings)
Then they quote Sacks and his reflections:
Why is it that of every hundred gifted young musicians who study at Juilliard or every hundred brilliant young scientists who go to work in major labs under illustrious mentors, only a handful will write memorable musical compositions or make scientific discoveries of major importance? Are the majority, despite their gifts, lacking in some further creative spark? Are they missing characteristics other than creativity that may be essential for creative achievement — such as boldness, confidence, independence of mind?

It takes a special energy, over and above one’s creative potential, a special audacity or subversiveness, to strike out in a new direction once one is settled. It is a gamble as all creative projects must be, for the new direction may not turn out to be productive at all. (Brainpickings)

Sacks is telling us that in the end the growth and movement of creativity goes beyond simple mastery of the instrument, the form, the rhythm, whatever. It can, if we are willing to go there, tap the energy of your own life. He is telling us to keep at it. Let it grow, incubate, rumble, until, when ready, be born.

Barry Green ends the chapter, in essence moving beyond mastery:
When we open ourselves and our souls, by practice and inspiration, but also by listening and letting go, music comes to us not as something we command, but as a gift. It is a gift, too, that we should pass the gift of music along.
Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.
— Charlie Parker

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Buddy's War: #10- Building an Army

This is part of a series that over two years will follow the story of my father in World War II 75 years ago. I did this five years ago in the series Following the 10th Armored, but I have been doing more research and expanding the ideas. The beginning posts will set the stage for the events of 1944 and 1945 when he was in Europe as part of the 10th Armored Division's 80th Armored Medical Battalion.
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◆ November 28, 1943
◆ Seventy-five years ago today:

The Tehran Conference was held. President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill met with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin met in Iran to discuss war strategy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the early 1940s the United States faced a seemingly daunting task. Build a world-class military from next to nothing. Beginning with the first “peace time draft” at the end of 1940 and then expanding almost exponentially after Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the US Armed Forces underwent a transformation perhaps unprecedented in history. From top to bottom the military needed to become an unbeatable force. The reason was simple and now, almost 80 years later, almost overlooked. By Pearl Harbor, the United States was all that stood between world peace and the demolition of everything Western Civilization stood for! One of those who answered the call in 1941 was a surgeon names Brendan Phibbs. Over 45 years later he wrote a memoir of the time, The Other Side of Time: A Combat Surgeon in World War II. I came across it in my research this past summer and was blown away by its power. It was another piece of information about what my Dad was facing. In the early chapters of the book he reflects on the world at the beginning of World War II.
It’s hard today to remember the glow that bathed our armed forces as the country hitched up its weapons for the Second World War. It was a springtime, a virginal encounter when a generation distracted and sometimes desperate could turn happy and relieved to the ancient simple virtues…. Because sometime during the twenties and thirties the United States Army had disappeared. While the rest of the world rumbled and flamed through a tortured decade, [Old pictures of the US Army] certainly didn’t seem any match for the well-drilled hordes that thumped and banged their way across the newsreel screens, flaunting the terrors of Germany, Russia, Italy, and Japan…. Out of the radiant past came the army we have forgotten.
Help was needed. The pictures from Europe and the Pacific were horrendous. How could the United States compete with that kind of military power that was at once brutal, overwhelming, and in control of a great deal of the world?
Maybe we should never use total black or clear white to symbolize the capering of the human animal, but in 1942 we … knew we were marching out against the closest approximation of total darkness the planet had ever known.

We were a reenactment of American history, from Louisburg to Chateau-Thierry, a levee en masse around a skeleton of barely competent professional soldiers, when somehow, always, the carpenters and salesmen and tavern keepers and foundry workers got themselves sorted into ranks, most of them to become adequate and some of them to become heroes…. It was going to be our army, we were prepared to love it, and I suppose we would have felt even more strongly if we had known what we really were: the last American crusade, an army marching out with the cheers and blessings of a whole people, to save our country and the world from black, unrelieved villainy.

We were marching out to become the last people’s army in the history of the United States of America.
— Brendan Phibbs, The Other Side of Time: A Combat Surgeon in World War II. 1987.

As we move into 2019 (and 1944) I will expand on some of the ways the United States accomplished this miraculous task. To the point of this series I also did some digging into the needs for medical personnel as well as training the medics in combat. On Quora I found some of the history of the process:
The Army, on the other hand, primarily managed their combat medic training pipeline by earmarking medic candidates from the very first day they joined the Army. Medics went through a combined basic training, infantry class, and medics school, taught continuously for the student. Prior to the war, Army Medic training (combined with basic training) was 13 weeks. In the 4th quarter of 1941, the Army truncated the school to 11 weeks. Since 1942 saw the enlistment of millions & millions of men, Army Basic/Medic school was cut to just eight weeks for ten months. November and December 1942 saw the program extended back to 11 weeks; May to August 1943 increased the class to 12 weeks. From August 1943 to war's end, combined basic training/medic school stabilized at 17 weeks. Whatever curriculum was cut short, was picked-up by field training detachments after the apprentice medic arrived at his first duty station. (-Link)
From a U.S. Army history of the growth of the medical corps in World War II came this information:
Despite the country’s desire to avoid involvement in another European war, the US Army had been gradually expanding in the years before Pearl Harbor, from 191,450 troops when Hitler invaded Poland in September 1939 to about 1.5 million when the Japanese attacked on December 7, 1941. The National Guard had been mobilized in 1940, the same year Congress approved a peacetime draft. Guard units faced several obstacles, however. Industry was not producing enough military equipment, and troops had to train with limited quantities of outdated items. Medical training itself was a bottleneck; for instance, not enough brick-and-mortar hospitals existed to provide full training for all newly enlisted men, and courses had to be shortened to ensure at least some hands-on training for all enlistees. (-Link)
In short, there was a lot going on in those years- and by the end of 1943 U.S. Military personnel were fighting and dying in many areas.

They had only just begun.

Monday, November 26, 2018

4.20- Tuning Slide: Confidence, Ego, and Humility

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music

If you got a trumpet, get on your feet, brother, and blow it!
— Nick Cave (punk-rock musician)

That’s a call to confidence if I ever heard one. Barry Green in the book Mastery of Music that we have been looking at over these months lists the eighth and ninth pathways to mastery this way:

# 8: Confidence: From Bravura to Integrity (Trumpet)
# 9: Ego and Humility: From Fame to Artistry (Opera, Jazz, and Theater Singers)

What really is confidence? Green quotes a definition this way:
An accepted and unheralded evidence within a person that gives a person the unconscious knowledge that he/she is able to produce outstanding results in his/her chosen career under almost any circumstances. Full technical control is a must: this “evidence to oneself” provided by preparation and determination is what fosters confidence and it becomes stronger with experience.
He then lists some of the ways we develop confidence. Among them are:

◦ Preparation by Overpreparing
We are back at practice, practice, practice. If we think we can escape from that or make it optional because of how far we have advanced, forget it. Right now. Some truly advance players may get by with a daily “warm-up.” But that “warm up” will always include scales, chromatics, long tones, and all the basics. And it will usually be at least two to three hours a day. So practice is where confidence must start, not on some self-interpreted view of how good we are. This also includes knowing more than just what we are doing. Sometimes that means studying the music, reading about it, listening to recordings in order to find out where and how your part fits in. It’s all in the over preparing! As Green puts it, we are not just a “right-note” playing machine. We are making music.

◦ State Your Case with Passion and Meaning
Because of the over preparation, one does move beyond just playing the right notes. One also beings the excitement, the passion, the meaning of the music to life. My interpretation of that will be different from yours. If we are in a group together, we learn to state our understanding in relationship to the other musicians. That brings in the ability to listen and learn.

◦ Confidence is a Journey of Learning
Learning is what confidence opens us up to do. Paying attention in practice, rehearsal, and performance opens us to know what we need to do to move forward. Since we have over prepared, we have moved beyond “right-notes” to expressing ourselves. But that doesn’t always work. We get lost, make a mistake, get stuck. So learn from it. The next time, when we get it the way we want it, our confidence will be back.

◦ Stay Within Your Limits, (then) Don’t Think, Just Play
Needless to say, Green, as one of the teachers of the Inner Game, brings us around to allowing Self 2 to be in charge. Thinking is Self 1. By this time we have learned (Self 1) that we can do what we want to do. We then trust ourselves (Self 2) to do it. If we are honest about what we can do at this moment, we will know what is ready for public performance and what isn’t there yet. Staying within limits is NOT about only playing what you used to be able to play, it is about not moving on until Self 1 can shut up and let Self 2 move on.

How do we maintain and continue to build confidence? If we only rest on what we did last time, we will not grow as a musician nor develop confidence to do more than we did last time. Here are some of the ways Green mentions to help confidence grow:
◦ Focus on the Music, Not on What People Think of You
◦ Focus on What You Have Accomplished and What You Can Do
◦ Enjoy Your Anxieties- You are Not Alone
This last one can be tough. This may be where many give up, lose confidence, stop growing. I am not the first player to have flubbed playing Taps on Memorial Day (an old story.) But when I allowed that to become m identity as a solo trumpet player, my anxieties became too great and I couldn’t move beyond them. We grow in confidence when we we are honest with ourselves and move on.

Look, man, all I am is a trumpet player.
— Miles Davis

Confidence can build the image that trumpet players have been accused of. Green calls that “bravura,” the swagger and overt confidence we present even when we don’t have it. Trumpet players are not known for their quietness and humility. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! If anything it is a call to maintain our proper place in the band. That leads to humility. Humility, of course, can have a couple definitions. One is humility means that we are willing to be teachable. A second is to have a proper knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses. Confidence, built on humility is powerful. It will ring out with the sound of, well, trumpets.

It takes a healthy ego to become confident enough to be humble. What a seemingly paradoxical statement that is! Low self-esteem does not build confidence. Low self-esteem presents our weaknesses and uncertainties and set in stone. “Poor me, that’s just the way I am.” Healthy ego allows us to be truly humble. Oh, by the way, I am not sure we can work on becoming humble. “Look how hard I’ve worked and how successful I have become at being humble!” Not!

I have put these two pathways to mastery together because I believe that when one reaches the pathway of confidence the logical next step is moving away from negative ego to true humility. One cannot, or better not, become so enamored of one’s own sound on the instrument, especially trumpet, that we think we are far and above others. THAT is not confidence. That is unhealthy ego. But neither should the musician, especially the trumpet playing musician, be so shy as to hold back when they need to stand up and blow! Humility does not mean taking a back seat or being reserved when the situation calls for leadership. Musical leadership, whether one is a lead trumpet player or third clarinet, is found in the attentiveness to the music, the focus on one’s sound, and the ability to play well with others.

The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision.
You can't blow an uncertain trumpet.
—Theodore Hesburgh

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Buddy's War: #9- Thanksgiving 1943

This is part of a series that over two years will follow the story of my father in World War II 75 years ago. I did this five years ago in the series Following the 10th Armored, but I have been doing more research and expanding the ideas. The beginning posts will set the stage for the events of 1944 and 1945 when he was in Europe as part of the 10th Armored Division's 80th Armored Medical Battalion.
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◆    November 25, 1943
Thanksgiving Day
75 Years Ago Today…

My dad had been home for around 10 days on furlough. It was time to head back to Georgia and Camp Gordon. Grandma’s diary simply records that she got up at 8:00 (early for her), got dinner, and then “took Buddy to the station at 2-.”

By 6:00 both Carl and Ruth were also gone.
Such was Thanksgiving 1943.

Meanwhile in Georgia:
The troops that were not on furlough over Thanksgiving had their own feasts. Since they had formed in 1942, the 10th Armored Division, the Tiger Division, had produced a newspaper:

From Vol II, No. 11 on Dad’s birthday, they had the following information about the upcoming Thanksgiving:

"Next Thursday is Thanksgiving, traditionally a holiday that ranks as a day for good eating, good fellowship and general celebration. The Tiger Division should have a typical Thanksgiving holiday. Turkey dinner in the mess halls. Two Tiger grid teams will clash on the post gridiron in what promises to be a fast-moving, hard-fought contest.
Sometime during the day every Tier might well stop for a few minutes to consider why he, personally, should feel thankful on Thanksgiving Day 1943. Here are a few reasons we can think of: We are part of the greatest Army in the world, preparing to fight for the greatest country in the world; our forces on the fighting fronts are everywhere surging ahead; on the home front, production is ever on the increase and there is no longer any doubt that we shall have the planes, ships, and tanks necessary to destroy the enemy;… there is plenty to be grateful about… So lets consider ourselves very lucky, and enjoy the day— and then, the next day, go on about the business of winning the war so we can return home and have our old-fashioned Thanksgivings."

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

4.19- Tuning Slide: Music and Thanksgiving

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.
— William Arthur Ward

Without gratitude my life would be dull and pretty well beyond help. It is the foundation of whatever I have and whatever I have been blessed to share. A day without gratitude? I really don’t know any more. It would be a day lost.

Music, for me does the same thing as gratitude. I can’t live without either one.

Music, too, can transform common days into thanksgivings,
turn routine jobs into joy, and
change ordinary opportunities into blessings.

The music I am thankful for makes me move, makes me pay attention to life and hope, inspires me to be better than I am at what I do, and moves me to smile in the deepest part of my soul. It’s why I play music. Every day. It’s why I try to listen to music every day. I tried to figure out which ones are my favorites.

Yeah, right! How can I narrow it down to less than fifty or one hundred? But here are four that in a quick thought, make me smile and be part of this amazing gift of music. Have a Happy Thanksgiving this week.

Listen to music.
Play music.
Smile. A lot!

First, the energy that moves the world as best seen in Buddy Rich- Birdland


Then the sound that propels me to be better- even at my age. Listen to the complete range of sound that Doc Severinsen can make- A Song for You.


From an album of all new material, this version was recorded just up the road right here in Minnesota at The Current, part of Minnesota Public Radio. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band- That’s It!


Finally, Satchmo in a true song of Thanksgiving. Listen and give thanks with Louis Armstrong- What a Wonderful World

Monday, November 19, 2018

Buddy's War: #8- Birthday 1943

This is part of a series that over two years will follow the story of my father in World War II 75 years ago. I did this five years ago in the series Following the 10th Armored, but I have been doing more research and expanding the ideas. The beginning posts will set the stage for the events of 1944 and 1945 when he was in Europe as part of the 10th Armored Division's 80th Armored Medical Battalion.
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    ◆    November 19, 1943
    ◆    75 Years Ago Today...
It was my Dad's 38th birthday. He had arrived home in Jersey Shore on the 16th on a 15-day furlough. My grandmother doesn't note anything special about the day. She had been ready to send a package to him in Camp Gordon near Augusta, Georgia, where the 10th Armored Division and the 80th Medical Battalion were in training for entering the war in 1944.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Buddy's War: #7- A Year of Coming and Going

This is part of a series that over two years will follow the story of my father in World War II 75 years ago. I did this five years ago in the series Following the 10th Armored, but I have been doing more research and expanding the ideas. The beginning posts will set the stage for the events of 1944 and 1945 when he was in Europe as part of the 10th Armored Division's 80th Armored Medical Battalion.
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  • January 1, 1943
Well, we start a new year and I hope we all have good luck and good health. Father and I are all alone and it is a dark and dreary day.
— Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman

As the new year begins Beula and Bill are home alone. Buddy has been in Georgia at Fort Benning since August. There, the newly formed and activated 10th Armored Division and its many battalions and companies are beginning the arduous task of building a world-class army after years of minimal development. I am going to post more about that task in some future posts. At this point I will focus more on this last full year of “peace” for the home front in Jersey Shore, PA. Over this and the next few posts, by the way, I am going to catch the dates of posts and the story up to the calendar. While there will be side stories, background, and updates, by next week we will be in the 75th Anniversary mode of these events that shattered an old world and defined the new one for three-quarters of a century.

For many, and Buddy was no exception, 1943 was a year of coming and going. In general life was still moving in a relatively normal fashion back home. Beula would regularly note in her diary about Carl or Ruth and their travels in and out of town. She continued her visits to the “club”, which is never named, the weather, her trips to the store, or just visiting with friends. She noted one day that she had to go to the “schoolhouse” to get her ration book and in another that her brother Henry brought a can of lard. There were the three to four times each week when letters were written, sent, or received.

In January, she noted on the 14th that it was “10 weeks ago today since father broke his arm” in the accident at work and, on the same day a letter from Harold that he might be home soon. He had been away since August 6. Two weeks later he called from Atlanta that he was traveling and her response was, “Gee, I am nervous." Perhaps there were still memories and concerns from the months prior to his being called back up when one thing after another kept happening. It would not be a surprise if she was wondering what this visit would bring. Had he changed? Would he go back to his reckless ways?”

He was delayed in Washington but made it home on January 30. In his two weeks at home there is little mention of him except for one entry halfway through when he went “out and did not come home.” He returned to Georgia the middle of February and called about six weeks later. “Gee, I was glad to hear from him and to hear everything was O.K.”

A second furlough happened in May. Dad arrived home on May 18 for a ten-day stay. Again, in the middle of the leave, one incident- “Harold went away. I don't know where he went. Gee it is lonesome.” On May 27 he left to return to Georgia. “I did not go to the station with him.Gee I miss him.” Then a few days later, she "wrote to Buddy. It is awful lonesome.”

On his return to Georgia the 10th Armored and his 80th Medical Battalion packed up and went to maneuvers in Tennessee. From June 21 to September 3, just shy of three months, they participated in a major training event. It was still a year away from their overseas deployment but it was a significant training which I have found mentioned in other sources from other Divisions. This was part of the intense development of a world-class military that would be heading overseas into war. I will talk more about this growth and development in a later post.

During the maneuvers there were still the letters. Mail was able to find them, as was promised in the newspaper, The Tiger's Tale, that the 10th Armored produced in Georgia. Beula, conscious of dates, noted in her diary on August 6 that is was “one year since Buddy left.” Then with maneuvers over the 10th moved to a new home near Augusta, Georgia, at Camp Gordon, where they would be for the next year. With the move complete Dad had another two-week leave in September and then again in November when he was home for fifteen days.

With that year we catch up to the calendar. He arrived home on November 16, 1943 for that 4th leave  of the year, seventy-five years ago this week.

Through all of this I continue to wonder what was going on in both their lives. Beula was, at this point, an obviously lonesome person. What the causes were, was it medically related, was it her age and medical history catching up to her, was it the tension Harold had brought into her life? We will never know. In any case, from this point on, in a clear and obvious change of language, Harold becomes, more often than not, “Buddy.” It was a more endearing, even intimate reference.

Buddy was Beula’s baby, her youngest child.
He is getting ready for war.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Invaders Calling Us to Serve

Prompted by a post I saw on Facebook about the "invaders" coming from the south....

Invader
/inˈvādər/

noun: invader; plural noun: invaders

a person or group that invades a country, region, or other place.

synonyms:
attacker, aggressor, raider, marauder;
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
invasion
[in-vey-zhuh n]

>an act or instance of invading or entering as an enemy, especially by an army.
>the entrance or advent of anything troublesome or harmful, as disease.
>entrance as if to take possession or overrun

In the broadest, non-harmful sense of the word, yes, it could be an invasion. But it sure hasn't been used in a more positive way. Perhaps we could say that we are being approached by a large number of people in need, running away from hate and fear and violence.

Like my grandparents from Russia/Ukraine in the early 20th Century?

Here's a video of this "dire threat."


Monday, November 12, 2018

4.18 Tuning Slide- Mastery of Music #7: Concentration

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music

If you are interested in something, you will focus on it, and if you focus attention on anything, it is likely that you will become interested in it. Many of the things we find interesting are not so by nature, but because we took the trouble of paying attention to them.
― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Pathway seven in Barry Green’s Mastery of Music is one we have talked about in many forms in a number of posts. Whether we are talking about mindfulness or the Inner Game we end up discussing

Concentration: The Spirit of the Zone.

Green describes zone as that point when a musician, artist, or athlete finds themselves moving through their tasks with an
assurance and presence, a sensitivity and precision beyond normalcy…. The focus shifts into a fluid awareness which seems able to tap effortlessly into the highest levels of artistry. The brain is the key to this state of peak performance, in music and in life.
One of the musicians Green interviewed said it is when the “performer is completely absorbed in the act of making music.” He goes on to point out that in spite of what we often think, concentrating on more than one task at a time just doesn’t work.
This of course is at the heart of Green’s writing on the Inner Game. When we can allow Self 2 to do its thing and not be distracted by the technicalities and criticisms of Self 1, we can enter into the flow.

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi named the concept of “flow in 1975 and has been widely referred to in any different fields. It is also known as “being in the zone.” Flow
is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one's sense of space and time. (Link)
Requirements for flow can be:

◆ Intense and focused concentration on the present moment
◆ Merging of action and awareness
◆ A loss of reflective self-consciousness
◆ A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
◆ A distortion of temporal experience, one's subjective experience of time is altered
◆ Experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding

Owen Schaffer in 2013 proposed 7 conditions for flow that summarize the above list:

◆ Knowing what to do
◆ Knowing how to do it
◆ Knowing how well you are doing
◆ Knowing where to go
◆ High perceived challenges
◆ High perceived skills
◆ Freedom from distractions
(Link)

Just exactly what Barry Green and Timothy Gallwey have been saying about the Inner Game. There is an intuitiveness about flow, or perhaps better, a falling into a comfortable place where the tensions and issues around us fall away and we just do what we know how to do.

Some of the challenges to staying in flow include states of

◦ Apathy
⁃ Challenges are low and one's skill level is low producing a general lack of interest in the task at hand.

◦ Boredom
⁃ Challenges are low, but one's skill level exceeds those challenges causing one to seek higher challenges.

◦ Anxiety
⁃ Challenges are so high that they exceed one's perceived skill level causing one great distress and uneasiness.
These states in general differ from being in a state of flow in that flow occurs when challenges match one's skill level. Consequently, Csíkszentmihályi has said, "If challenges are too low, one gets back to flow by increasing them. If challenges are too great, one can return to the flow state by learning new skills.”
(Link)
Sadly, most of us do not get into “flow” as often or for as long as we would like. I have had it happen in concerts when we are playing some great work that I know well- like Holst’s Second Suite. I just “flow” into it with little thought to what I am doing. I put the trumpet to my face and blow with joy!

Most recently I was pleasantly surprised in a gig with one of the big bands I play in. I have a solo in one song that I have never been able to play well. I get lost, I lose concentration, I start judging myself. That often leads to a disaster. In the recent gig the piece came up and, a few songs before I could feel the tension rising. (Overly focused on Self 1) Then there was a change in the music order and I wasn’t sure when it would happen. (Lack of control took over!) I stopped wondering and just played the stuff in front of me. I was enjoying myself. I was as close to flow as I could get. Then my solo piece came up. No time to think. No time to get nervous. Put the horn to my lips and play like it was Holst or “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

It worked! I flowed through the piece. When I got lost, I still knew what I was doing. Skills have increased as did the ability to keep Self 2 out of the picture. I enjoyed it. Immensely. Was it a great solo? Well, greatness is relative. Compared to Wynton, no. Compared to that other me, well maybe it was at least good. And as we all know, in jazz there are no wrong notes- some just sound better than others!

How then do we get to the place where “flow” can happen? Well, working on my general principle of how we do anything is how we do everything, it is important to build opportunities for flow into all of our lives. No matter what it is, if we build it into our lives it won’t matter if we are playing music or digging post holes in the backyard. We can be in flow.

I think it is important to expect flow to come. That’s where deliberate practice comes in. That’s where intention and self awareness come into play. All the things we talk about here are put into action. Following what we said above- Increase skill and/or increase the challenges. We can avoid apathy, boredom, and anxiety.

More than that, develop a personal practice that involves some kind of mindfulness or meditation help. If we learn those type of things, they will work their way into your musicianship as much as the rest of your live. Acceptance, staying in the moment, living one-day-at-a-time kind of approach, will also build a reservoir of skill in this. Like Barry Green, I have also found that Tai Chi/Qigong are ways to build this attitude of flow. Yoga can be a more active way, as can riding a bike or running, to build experiences of flow.

And let’s not forget putting the earbuds in and enjoying good music.

[Note: Thought I would at least give an update on my return to playing after that 8-day hiatus last month. It took just about four weeks to get back to the basic level of range and endurance I had before the surgery. Admittedly I didn’t push it to get back more quickly. After all this is supposed to be fun, right?]

Sunday, November 11, 2018

100 Years of Veterans Days

 Veterans Day 
(originally known as Armistice Day) 

An official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans; that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. At the urging of major veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
Note: Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day, a U.S. public holiday in May; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.
 

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Buddy's War: #6- Turning Points

This is part of a series that over two years will follow the story of my father in World War II 75 years ago. I did this five years ago in the series Following the 10th Armored, but I have been doing more research and expanding the ideas. The beginning posts will set the stage for the events of 1944 and 1945 when he was in Europe as part of the 10th Armored Division's 80th Armored Medical Battalion.
~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`
• January 1, 1942
Well, this is new year’s and it is a stormy day. It snowed and then it rained. Harold did not come home for lunch, so it has been a long day. Harold did not come home all night and I am just sick he is starting the new year in a bad way.
- Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman
At one point in my planning for this series I thought about calling it “Buddy’s Wars”, “wars” being plural. I have a hunch that there was far more going on behind the scenes of my dad’s life than any of us will ever know. In earlier posts I have given some of the clues, slight though they be. They include his “running away from home” at age 35; his seeming intent on joining the Army and lying about his age so it would happen; the family memory of something to do with a German flag; the unusual mentions of the person I knew to be a one-time girlfriend. Sure I may be reading into all this from my own background in mental health and psychology, but the signs are there.

Dad, of course, wouldn’t have been the first to join the Army as a way of either escape or growing up. But he wasn’t a kid. He was an adult with a profession and a business. We will never know what it was that finally broke in 1940 when he lied about his age and registered for the draft. I kept the word war in the title as singular since it is all parts of his greater war. World War II may have finally given him something that he had been looking for.

I hope so, though he never talked about it with me.

As I said in the previous post, my dad was drafted and reported for duty in January of 1941. Where he went other than Camp Blanding in August. He was obviously then sent on some type of extended leave and by January 1942 was back home in northern Pennsylvania. As grandma’s diary entry says above, it was not a comfortable time for him. “I am sick he is starting the new year in a bad way” would indicate that Beula was worried, again, about her youngest child. It didn’t end with that. Over the next three months there were a number of posts about Harold, more than in any previous diary.

1-Feb - Harold did not come home
2-Feb - Harold did not come home last night nor for lunch today
3-Feb - Harold did not come home last night. Today at 1.15.
22-Mar - Harold did not get up. He did not get come home until 6.30 this morning. And I am just sick.
23- 27 Mar - [He came home late 6 more days in a row.]
Another memory surfaces; another of the myths of my father. At one point I was told that he got angry with his girlfriend and slashed her tires. In mid-January Beula had noted that dad was together with that girlfriend. That was the first such entry where they were together. Then this shows up in the diary a month after those six nights.
13-Apr - Harold did not come home until 2.30 and he did not come home for lunch. So I am not doing a darn thing. He was out last night cutting tires.
It was said so matter-of-factly, but with more than a little anger. “I am fed up,” Beula seems to be saying. “I am done trying to get anywhere with this son of mine.” I wonder how she knew what he was up to? I know that the girlfriend’s mother, as well as the girlfriend herself were friends of hers. It wouldn’t be unheard of in a small community like Jersey Shore for half the town to know by nightfall the next day. Twenty-some years later it would be just as difficult for either my brother or myself to get away with anything without being found out.

Then there was one more entry about this…
• 14-April - Harold did not come home last night. Came in at 1 went to bed. He is working tonite. But gee I am sick. I don't see how I can stand it any longer
….and then silence about any problems. Things began to look up. No problems are mentioned after that. In the few times he is mentioned, dad shows up as doing things around the house, being home, being a dutiful son. I will continue to do digging into newspapers of the time to see if there was anything ever reported on this, but I doubt it. Something, however, made him change. I doubt it was the anger or fears of his mother. Perhaps it was a run-in with the police about it. Perhaps it was his own fear of what he had done.

Then it was time to go.

On July 15, 1942 the 10th Armored Division was activated at Fort Benning, Georgia. Ten days later Harold got the notice that he was to return to service twelve days later. The progress of my dad back to the Army and into World War II shows up ever so clearly in Beula’s diary beginning just eight months after Pearl Harbor.
• 6-Aug - Took Harold to the station. Left for New Cumberland. Gee I do miss him.
• 14-Aug - Harold called at 7 saying he was leaving New Cumberland tomorrow.
• 15-Aug - Harold called from Washington- he is leaving for Georgia. 28 of them going.
• 20-Aug - Got a letter from Harold. He is at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
• 29-Aug - Gee but I am lonesome. I miss Buddy.

• 1-Sep - O gee I am so homesick. Wish I could talk to Buddy.
This is the first time she consistently refers to Harold as “Buddy.” It was an almost unused nickname up to this point. Here and there she referred to him that way, but most of the time it is by name. She mentions him as Buddy only two more times in September and then as Harold for the rest of the year. He will become Buddy almost entirely from then on. Through the end of the year, and the war itself, there will be many references to letters, cards, and boxes going back and forth. I wish I had even a few of those letters. But they are long gone until postcards at the end of the war.


Buddy’s war has taken on a new direction. He is in Georgia with the 10th Armored Division as part of its organic medical battalion, the 80th. For the next thirty-seven months World War II will transform him into the man I knew. His parents, Beula and Bill, and his siblings Carl and Ruth will be at home.

In November grandpa fell off a box car onto a flat car at work and hurt his wrist. (He is 66-years old.) A couple weeks later she writes:
• November 26, 1942 (Thanksgiving Day)
It is a lovely day and we are alone. But we are thankful we are well. Having a roast chicken.
- Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman
She then writes on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that even with both Carl and Ruth around, she misses Harold. It won’t be the last time.
• December 24, 1942
Looking for Harold.
• December 25, 1942
Looked for Harold. I am disappointed.
- Diary entries, Beula Keller Lehman

Monday, November 05, 2018

VOTE!

Get it?

VOTE!



4.17- Tuning Slide: Mistakes or Not

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music

Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.
— George Bernard Shaw

Scanning some notes and articles on the Internet I came across an article that referenced some research. It was in Wired magazine and burst the bubble that we “learn from our mistakes.” There are many motivational quotes that would have us believe just the opposite. Or so I thought. I went looking and found that this idea about mistakes being learning is a short-cut in thinking. What many of the quotes really say is that mistakes are to be expected as we are learning. If we haven’t made any mistakes, we haven’t done anything. Einstein, Teddy Roosevelt, and Meister Eckhart, among others, lead us to understand that.

In essence though what mistakes teach us is what NOT to do. If we continue to do the same things and keep getting the same mistakes, we are not learning and growing in our musicianship. If we don’t do anything to correct the mistake, all we are doing is reinforcing the mistake. One I had to learn the hard way was missing accidentals or even key changes. I was adamant that as a good musician I should be able to learn what key I am playing in and not miss that F# or Eb. Yet time after time I would miss it. Or I would hit the F# when it wasn’t. What I wasn’t doing was marking the note I was regularly missing. You know, circle it or some other notation.

I was being stubborn- and perhaps not wanting my colleague on the left or right to know I had to (God forbid) mark a note that I should be playing correctly. (Even though they clearly heard every wrong note I played!) Instead of improving as a musician, I was stubbornly getting stuck where I was. Once I was willing to use a pencil correctly, things began to change. I also developed a series of notations that I use to remind myself of certain things that I have tended to get wrong or struggle with. I see that notation and I know what I need to do.

To say that mistakes are our friends and tell us what not to do can be a dangerous path- mistakes are not good things when we could have done something differently. Mistakes are not what we want to have happen in a performance. We will make mistakes, of course; notes will slip, something will be out of time or out of tune. Those mistakes will not improve our playing. The mistakes we learn from are the ones that we make in our practice rooms, or lessons- where they can be caught and corrected.

But there are other mistakes that we regularly fall into. These are more insidious that the missed accidental. They can go to the heart of who we are as performers. So here is a far from complete list of:

Mistakes musicians make that we can change:
Poor sound- We can’t truly hear ourselves when we are playing unless we are on stage and a monitor is giving us an idea. There are a number of reasons for this- we are on the wrong side of the horn, we get some of the sound through our facial bones and not from the air, we hear part of the sound in our imagination which “auto-tunes” the sound we are getting from the horn. In order to deal with these we can practice in places where there is a strong echo and we can record ourselves. The mistake we make is not finding out how we truly sound.

Lack of rhythm- timing and tempo are essential to good music. Some of it can be corrected by working with a metronome, but that will never give us rhythm. A metronome has no feeling, no rhythm. It is only tempo. Feeling the music is important, no essential. We will talk more about this next week when I talk a little about “flow.” Our big mistake in this area is to ignore how the music makes us feel and then translating that into the performing of the music.

Believing we can’t do it- actually, this is worse than a mistake. This is a killer of quality and creativity, a sure-fire way to fall into a hole we dig for ourselves. I know I may never be as good as Doc or Maynard, but that doesn’t mean I can’t continue to be better than I was last month. In order to get there, I must be pushing the limits in healthy, organized ways.

Not planning- if we don’t know where we want to go, we won’t get anywhere. That doesn’t mean we have to map out our whole musical journey. It does mean we have to have an idea where we need to go and where we want to go. This is where the errors we make or the recording we hear can guide us. When I discovered how poor my tone was, I knew what I had to work on. When I found my endurance decreasing, I went looking for ways to improve what I was doing.

Getting stuck on hardware- heavy caps and the latest version mouthpiece won’t correct what is wrong with our sound. For most of us we are no where near the best sound the instrument we own can make. A new instrument may be a good thing- and the right thing- for some of us. But it will still take practice, practice, and even more practice to continue to evolve as a musician.

Fearing mistakes so much that we don’t try- the ultimate mistake! Just do it. Move forward. Challenge yourself. Take lessons and get feedback. Record yourself and listen critically. Be ready to grow!

Don’t plan for mistakes; don’t build them into your practice. But listen for them; prepare for them; and when they happen discover what they can teach you about a better, more effective, more musical way.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something.
— Neil Gaiman

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Buddy's War: #5- A Missing Year

This is part of a series that over two years will follow the story of my father in World War II 75 years ago. I did this five years ago in the series Following the 10th Armored, but I have been doing more research and expanding the ideas. The beginning posts will set the stage for the events of 1944 and 1945 when he was in Europe as part of the 10th Armored Division's 80th Armored Medical Battalion.
~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`

Draft Registration Card
• Living in Bethesda, Montgomery Co., Maryland
• Working for People’s Drugs in Washington, DC
• William listed as next of kin
• Age 33
• Birthdate listed as 11/19/1906
• Signed H K Lehman
• Oct 16, 1940
• Light complexion, Blue eyes, brown hair,
• 5’6” 165 pounds
I have no diary for 1941. I have looked through boxes and asked my brother to do the same. It is not to be found. But I am not totally lost. First, available online above is the information from his draft card. As Beula reported on October 17 last year, my dad did register on the first day of registration for the first ever peacetime draft in US history. It is where I got any information I have had about where he was living since Beula never mentioned it. He did “run away” to Maryland and was living in the DC suburb of Bethesda while working at a pharmacy in the city. Looking at Google Maps, it appears to be about nine miles to the store, which was about a mile from the White House.

Two things stand out about the draft registration card. One was the signature. He often used his initials instead of a name. To many he was later known as “H K” and his store was either referred to as Lehman’s Pharmacy or H K Lehman Pharmacy. For me that was a moment of familiarity and, well, comfort. This is my dad.

More interesting is the age/birth date. One of the old story lines in movies and TV is about the young man who lies about his age to join the army. It usually meant they said they were older than they were. There was even an episode of M*A*S*H with Ron Howard playing the soldier who was actually younger than he said. But my dad, I guess in line with the Lehman idea of being different, lied in the other direction. As it would indicate on his military ID card a few years later, he is listed as a year younger than he really was. As of his registration date he was only 5 weeks shy of his 35th birthday, not his 34th. The upper limit for registration at that point was age 35.

I guess he wanted to make sure he got registered. The first enlistees were inducted the day before his actual 35th birthday. Since it was by lottery, it looks like he may not have been called right away.

Additional Enlistment Information 
• Enlistment Date: 13 Jan 1941
• Enlistment State: Maryland
• Enlistment City: Baltimore
• Grade: Private
• Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for assignment to another corps area
• Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
• Source: Civil Life
• Education: 3 years of college
• Civil Occupation: Pharmacists
• Marital Status: Single, without dependents
Did he actually enlist or was he drafted? The enlistment information above would imply it was not voluntary, referring to the component as “selectees”. But I have not yet been able to explore that. Nor have I yet been able to explore what “enlistment for assignment to another corps area” means. I have not yet been able to explore where he went next or what training he would undergo. With no diary I also have no collateral information from my grandmother. All I have is a picture dated August from Camp Blanding, FL.

Camp Blanding itself has an interesting history. It was established in northeastern Florida as a small National Guard camp. It’s history adds that it
is an example of an aptly timed, albeit humble commencement, for a soon valuable commodity. This young post's uses during [World War II] include service as a training site for a multitude of units, a basic training complex for the Infantry, and a Prisoner of War Camp. The contributions of Camp Blanding, Florida, under-publicized as they may be, were significant to the war effort.

The construction of the new facility… began in the latter half of 1939 following the conversion of Camp Clifford R. Foster in Jacksonville, formerly Camp Joseph E Johnson, from a National Guard Post into the Jacksonville Naval Air Station. Soon thereafter, a handful of Jacksonville residents united to form and Air Base Committee.

This fund raising body drew the responsibility for securing $400,000 to help finance construction of a replacement facility in the city's vicinity. It is unlikely that they realized in just a few short years this site would be the largest Infantry Replacement Training Center in the U.S. Army.

The original dimensions of the post were 28,200 acres, however, this bloomed into a sprawling site in excess of 170,000 acres following the federalization of the post in 1940. Thus, the once tiny station suddenly became the second largest training site in the nation in terms of physical size.

[T]he War Department initiated a rapid construction wave in 1941, resulting in the establishment of 10,000 new buildings. Still, the ballooning population of the Post far out paced the process of construction, and by 1942, there were some 60,000 troops quartered at the site. In conjunction with this development, construction estimates soared from the Guard Post, to $27.5 million for this federalized facility.

A shortage of quality labor to aid the process of construction presented a problem to contractors charged with this task. In response, one such company initiated a plan placing novice builders next to more experienced workers, thus allowing the former to learn from the latter. After the company organized this system, a standard mess hall could be cut to size in the lumber yard in 10 minutes, and erected in the field in 25 minutes.

In a short time, Camp Blanding included 125 miles of paved roads, in excess of one million square yards of motor parking areas, eighty one miles of water lines, twenty six and a half miles of railroad, and over two hundred fifty miles of electrical wiring. More important, the reservation boasted a highly advanced artillery range, and top notch rifle, anti-aircraft, mortar and grenade ranges. (Link to Camp Blanding history)

None of this indicates anything about my dad’s training since all I have at this point connecting him to the Post is the picture of a group of medics in August. But what the story of Camp Blanding illustrates is the amazing beginnings of a build up of the American military as had never before been seen. I will talk more about this at a later time, especially in relation to the medical services. Of main historical interest to me is the planning and foresight of President Franklin Roosevelt. From all I have read he knew that the day would come when the United States entered the European war. He did a great deal to make sure that when the day came the US would not be caught completely unprepared.

The nation may have been unprepared, but FDR was not when, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked the US base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. America was now in World War II.

Where was Buddy? I have no idea for sure. I will keep digging. But when the calendar turns to 1942 I do know he was home, most likely waiting to be activated when the other “corps area” was ready.

At the end of 1941 the 10th Armored Division and the 80th Armored Medical Battalion did not yet exist. But now, it was only a matter of time. None of us would ever be the same again.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Tuning Slide 4.16- When You Take Too Much Time Off

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music

I just play music. That makes my whole day. I can practice and be happy.
— Trombone Shorty

Well, I’m glad I made it through the end of September and the beginning of October. If you remember I had a minor surgical procedure done at the end of last month. The doctor’s orders were clear, no playing trumpet for a week. The pressure could cause the incision to start bleeding again and extend the problem. You may also remember that as a typical trumpet player I looked for a way around it. I checked on a couple trumpet forums and they were just as clear as the doctor in stronger language. Simply put they said, Don’t be stupid. Don’t do it!

So I didn’t - for eight days. I broke an 18-month string of daily playing, practicing, and routine. I hadn’t missed that many days in a row since September 2015, right after I started this amazing journey into being a “real” trumpet player. The most had been three days, which as the oft-quoted meme says is when the audience begins to notice that the musician hasn’t been practicing.

So what happened? Did it truly affect my musicianship? How difficult has it been to get back in the groove and routine? Not a particularly surprising set of answers. They are almost exactly what most of us has been told many times. When you don’t practice everything suffers. But what was the most surprising was the reality of the word “everything.”

I noticed that I was off-kilter from the second day. The first day missed was, of course, the day of surgery. Everything was off-balance that day. I thought about missing the trumpet, but I did some extra focusing on watching some trumpet-related You Tube videos. The second day I noticed a sense of withdrawal. The trumpet was calling my name. I was then out of sorts all week, actually. Yes, some of it was from the aftermath of the surgery and the impact on my vision since it was eye surgery. But life just wasn’t right. Something was missing.

I wasn’t totally surprised by this. Anything that has become that much a part of daily life for so long will leave a void when it’s not there. But the void was more pervasive than expected. My mental focus wasn’t as clear; I was less grounded than I had been. I knew it wasn’t just the surgery. I therefore worked hard at listening to more music and spending time on You Tube. I worked on some of my compositions for the quintet and planning our gigs for later this fall. That helped since I was working on music. But I wanted to MAKE music, play it!

It was only when I got back to regular playing did it all make sense. I have written here many times about finding your song, making your music, expanding your musical voice. I have been working on these things with intent and intensity since that last long layout in September 2015. The Inner Game of Music ideas I have been exploring are about living intentionally and mindfully as much as they are about making music. Increasing daily mindfulness is something I teach and lead as part of my job- it is an evidence-based practice in the field of addiction treatment. I didn’t realize how much music helped me do that in my own life.

One of our human shortcomings I have discovered is that we often compartmentalize our lives. Each box, each compartment, each interest we may have doesn’t often connect with other areas. Here’s work. Over there is my family. Back in the corner is my music. Oh, I think I see a box for my exercising and physical health activities. I don’t often allow them to interact. That- in spite of one of those statements I have said on here many times:

How we do anything is how we do everything!

I discovered, much to my own surprise how much my music filters into everything I do. It fills my life, gives it a richness and a joy that is anything but work. It helps me relax in all I do. When I find myself being obsessive about my music- hyper-focused, overly intense, worried that it isn’t going right, for example- the rest of my life suffers. By not being able to play my music and allow it to feed and guide me, I was out of balance.

So what has happened since I started back? As I am writing this I have had just two weeks back in my daily routine. I have had friends who don’t practice on a daily basis. They seem to be able to pick up the trumpet and sound good. I have other friends who hear all their faults when they have to miss their routine. I was truly amazed at how both those things happened to me.

First, my sound did not suffer too greatly. Nor did my range. Why? I realized that it has to do with what I have learned from the Shell Lake faculty- it is in the breath and the consistency with which we learn to play with that breath. It is also the Inner Game trust of Self 2’s ability to do what it says it can do. When I picked up the trumpet again two weeks ago, I was not back where I was in 2015. I had a style, a routine, a training that allowed me to be able to do what I can do.

Second, however, my endurance and technique did suffer. I was not able to do the routine for 45 minutes like I was doing. I wasn’t even able to do two 30 minute sessions in a day. My range suffered when the endurance tanked. Today I was able to get past an hour of practice in two sessions. It felt good. My soul was renewed by that.

Third, I also learned that I had taken some stuff for granted. So I went back to some of the basic routine elements that I know help, such as ending my sessions with a couple of Concone etudes, a real confidence and sound booster. It extends the endurance while not challenging technique which gives Self 2 the opportunity to show me what I can do.

I hope I don’t have to do this again any time soon. It was frustrating, but at least I discovered that I am a far different musician than I was when I first set foot onto the campus as Shell Lake. Much has changed. For the better.

Now, if I could only apply this to my routine of exercise and fitness.

Thirty Wonderful Years and Still Going

When I got sober, I thought giving up was saying goodbye to all the fun and all the sparkle, and it turned out to be just the opposite. That's when the sparkle started for me.
-- Mary Karr

Fight or flight...
or
Flow!

Fight against the negatives
Flee the hopelessness
Flow with life itself.
Go with it.

Embrace your shortcomings,
knowing they can lead you to something greater. 
Trust that life can be different.

That says it all- one day at a time!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

In the Face of Death: More Light. More Life.

Another day of death. This one a sabbath.

Eleven people are dead at a synagogue in Pittsburgh,
killed in a crime of hate.

This but a few days after pipe bombs were mailed,
but did not explode. That would have been more death.

The synagogue was called
The Tree of Life.

More light. More life.
These are the words borne on the emblem of the Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, PA. They stand for that Jewish community’s daily mission and work, mode of worship, hope for the world, and rallying cry. (Museum of Jewish Heritage)
Earlier this week a man of peace and grace I have gotten to know died after a short illness. Tonight I learned of the death of a friend of many, many years. It sounds trite but any death can strike us hard. One may bring anger or fear. Another good memories and sadness. There may be relief at some deaths, surprise at others. A violent death or deaths can overwhelm us with uncertainty and confusion. A quiet, unexpected death can shock us into private grief.

In the Jewish tradition there is the Mourner's Kaddish, a prayer to be said in a time of death and for 11 months after. But it is a prayer that does not mention death. It begins in confidence and humility:
Exalted and hallowed be His great Name. 
It continues later:
 May His great Name be blessed forever and to all eternity. Blessed and praised, glorified, exalted and extolled, honored, adored and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He. 
Blessed be He. Even on a Sabbath of death.

Especially on a Sabbath of death.

May we join together to proclaim
More light. More life
In the name of the Holy One, blessed be he,

Let all say,

Amen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Buddy's War: #4- 1940- A Family in Turmoil

This is part of a series that over two years will follow the story of my father in World War II 75 years ago. I did this five years ago in the series Following the 10th Armored, but I have been doing more research and expanding the ideas. The beginning posts will set the stage for the events of 1944 and 1945 when he was in Europe as part of the 10th Armored Division's 80th Armored Medical Battalion.
~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`
June 27, 1940
Harold did not come home last night…. left after dinner [tonight] and did not come home for supper. Gee, I am almost crazy.

July 13, 1940
Harold was mad and did not eat any supper and left. Said he was never coming home.
- Diary entries, Beula Keller Lehman

With these two diary entries, Beula opens the curtain ever so slightly on what may have been a family secret. As Europe was being enveloped in a second “Great War” my father was about to add turmoil far more personal and painful to his family. In reality, I have no idea whether he was adding turmoil or just continuing it. For some reason, perhaps simply intuition, overheard but forgotten stories, or my reflection on the older Harold Lehman I knew as a child, I get the feeling that what was about to happen in mid-1940 was not anything particularly new. I do not have any of my grandmother’s diaries prior to 1940 so I cannot dig for clues. In the ones I do have she almost never gives hints of what was going on beneath the surface of her life.

I can deduce several things.
◆ She is often lonely, deeply lonely. Many times she speaks of missing her daughter, Ruth. She talks about being home alone when my grandfather was off working on the railroad, or perhaps also helping run the pharmacy he co-owned with my Dad. There is throughout an almost overwhelming sadness and loneliness.
 ◆ She is not in good health. She often says she is tired, not feeling well, suffering from a headache.
◆ She did have a number of friends who were regular visitors and with whom she periodically did things.
◆ She often mentions a person that I was told about in later years as my Dad’s girlfriend at the time. She is never called that, but she is in and out of the stories of the year, including when Beula goes into the hospital. I did not find any entry that puts her with my Dad. But from what I understood, everyone expected them to get married someday.
As mid-year approaches, things begin to fall apart. Ruth and Carl are never seen as a source of worry. It is her youngest child, Harold, who is. In mid-1940 he is 34 years old. He will be 35 by Thanksgiving. He is an apparently successful pharmacist, owning his own drug store. There was some type of legal issue I found in an old newspaper that had something to do with my grandfather selling some medication to someone when my dad, the pharmacist, was not there. It did not appear as anything major and the law had changed by the time it was settled.

He is almost never mentioned in the diary entries until that one on June 27. There is no indication of any issue that might be involved. Three weeks later, by July 13, it is has gone beyond resolution. A simple matter-of-fact statement of dad’s anger, leaving, and promise never to come home.

I can see him doing that. Anger, a short-fused temper, was one of his personality traits. Others have told me the same thing about him. Basically, in so many words, don’t get Harold mad. Who got him angry? Who else was at dinner on July 13? We are never told. For several days she mentions that she hasn’t heard from him. Four days after he left she comments that she “heard that Harold was in New York.” Then nothing.

On September 7 she writes that it is eight weeks since he left. She calls him “Buddy” in that entry, the first and only time she uses that nickname in 1940. On the 8th he sends for his clothes. She never mentions where he is. Only putting later things together do I know that he was somewhere in Maryland, most likely around Bethesda and Montgomery County.

Throughout this whole period of time, Beula has been getting sicker and spent many a day in bed. She finally has blood tests done around September 8. The doctor calls and says she has to go into the hospital, which she does on September 14. She will remain there over one month, not getting out if bed for almost four weeks. Three days after admission, the handwriting in the diary changes to what to me is instantly recognizable as her daughter’s. The same day it is noted that they sent a telegram to Harold who arrives the next day. He remains home for ten days during which time he is at the hospital part of every day, as were Ruth and my grandfather.

Whatever was wrong it appears to have been serious. They hired private duty nurses for part of the time to be with her twenty-four hours a day. Lots of people visited. The presumed girlfriend was one of the most regular. She came on her own and with others, but I didn’t see any time when she came with Harold. A week after dad leaves the handwriting returns to Beula’s and three days later she sits up out of bed for the first time. She goes home on October 15. From this period on there are regular letters to and from Harold. As usual there are very few personal comments that give a hint to what was going on.

One, however, is the start of what will be the most significant change in his life.
October, 17, 1940
Letter from Harold. He registered. I think he feels better now.
- Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman
This is one day after the first peacetime draft registration began in the United States.
The 1940 law instituted conscription in peacetime, requiring the registration of all men between 21 and 35, with selection for one year's service by a national lottery. President Roosevelt's signing of the Selective Training and Service Act on September 16, 1940, began the first peacetime draft in the United States. … This act came when other preparations, such as increased training and equipment production, had not yet been approved…. The act set a cap of 900,000 men to be in training at any given time, and limited military service to 12 months unless Congress deemed it necessary to extend such service in the interest of national defense…The draft began in October 1940, with the first men entering military service on November 18. (Wikipedia)
I have no idea what Beula meant when she said that she thought he felt better after registering. Any reflecting on it would be completely out of nothingness. The only way I ever heard this described was that Harold “ran away from home” when he was 35, was working in Maryland, and was drafted. Had he remained at home, the owner of an essential business, he would probably never have been drafted. Somehow I get the idea from Beula that in some way or another dad wanted to go. He had no choice but to register, obviously. But there is at least the hint that there was more going on.

Whatever the full story, in October of 1940 the world turmoil and the Lehman family chaos was merging, as it would for many families in the United States. The world as it has been known is about to end. While Pearl Harbor is still a year away, the changes. What Herman Wouk would call the Winds of War were being stirred. No part of the world would be spared.

A month later on November 19 Beula writes that it is the first time Harold is not at home for his birthday in 12 years. (Last time was when he was in college.) She concludes, “It makes me homesick.”

It was a tough year for Beula. My grandfather spent some days in the hospital after a work accident. He is now 64 years old. Beula at 65 had spent a month in the hospital in obviously critical condition. Her son, at 34, had run away to join the Army. There wasn’t much left to say.
December 31, 1940
Well the old year will soon be gone. Hope next year will be better. I had three awful things happen this year.
- Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman