Growing Up in the 1950's

and All that Jazz

By April 20, 20212 Comments

Setting:  A small bistro in Montecito, Ca.  I’m sitting in a small booth with my husband.  We just ordered dinner.  A cool red negroni sits just in front of me, waiting to be savored.  Sound track:  jazz.  So familiar.  It evokes other times.  Decades ago, but the memories are still sharp and still enjoyable..I invite my mind to travel backwards.

I’m back at the Music Inn in Lenox, Mass. listening to Brubeck play Take 5.  What a venue that was, and how lucky I was to be apart of it for a short time.  Lenox was about one and a half hours from my home town. Take 5  was by then almost a cliché, but it didn’t diminish the thrill of hearing it live. My ears are open and full of the notes.  It was swinging. It was cooooool.  I am really enjoying it.  This is the song that got Brubeck this gig, I’m sure.  But, it’s all ok, and the alternating rhythm is irrisistible to this listener.  I’m 20 years old again. I can feel the summer heat just outside the shed., the breath of another summer taking shape.  This is the time of my life when anything seems possible and almost  is.  The music reaffirms it. I was determined to live my life as I wanted although it seemed to be in direct conflict with my parents’ dreams for me.  Jazz was my soundtrack.

My best friend and I drive to Belchertown, Mass. to drop in on an acquaintance.  His mother kindly shows us to his 2nd floor bedroom, sweetly  ignoring the fact that we’re uninvited guests and it’s about dinnertime.  We’re welcomed.  Because there are no chairs in his room, I lay down on his empty bed.  He puts on the Sonny Rollins track that he’s been listening to. The notes of Softly as in a Morning Sunrise fill the small room.  It’s a sultry early summer evening.  Which came first, the music or the world? The world stops spinning for a few minutes.  No one talks. Did life ever get better than this?

Dianne Vapnek

Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.

2 Comments

  • Mendy Ringel says:

    IT IS ALWAYS INTERESTING TO DISCOVER NEW THINGS ABOUT A LONG TIME FRIEND. I REMEMBER SITTING AT YOUR KITCHEN TABLE WITH SOME FAMILY MEMBERS IN SANTA BARBARA A FEW YEARS BACK AND WE WERE SINGING POPULAR SONGS FROM THE 50’S AND 60’S WITH A FEW SHOW SONGS THROWN IN. IT AMAZED ME HOW YOU KNEW THE LYRICS TO EVERY TUNE. IT WAS GREAT FUN. NOW I DISCOVER YOUR WERE BIG JAZZ FAN IN YOUR EARLY TWENTIES. YOU NEVER FAIL TO AMAZE ME!

  • Elaine Nakashima says:

    Ahh, sheer perfection! My fave lines: “Jazz was my soundtrack.” and “Which came first, the music or the world?” Right there w/you, my friend! Thank you for taking me back. Few times have ever been better.

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