Monday, April 25, 2011

An Uncanny Coincidence!

I am originally from Philadelphia.  In late August 1979, at age 25, I moved to Spokane, Washington to attend Gonzaga University Law School.  I transferred to Temple University Law School a year later, in August 1980, and earned my J.D. from Temple in May 1982.

I returned to Philadelphia from Spokane in December 1979 to spend Christmas break with my family.  In early January 1980, at the end of Christmas break, my mother drove me to the Philadelphia Airport, where I took a flight back to Spokane.

I remember that was a Sunday afternoon.  I remember that because I can recall listening to the weekly broadcast of the Philadelphia Orchestra during the automobile ride.  Philadelphia classical music radio station WFLN (now defunct) used to broadcast Philadelphia Orchestra concerts from 2:00 to 4:00 PM every Sunday afternoon.

I can still remember the music that comprised that Philadelphia Orchestra broadcast.  I remember the Orchestra performed Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony, a tragically mournful piece.  Uncannily, I had the premonition, listening to the music, that something terrible was about to happen.  In fact, my mother died a few days later.  My ride to the Philadelphia Airport that Sunday afternoon in early January 1980 was the last time I saw my mother.

An aria from Catalani's opera, La Wally seems to encapsulate these events with uncanny verisimilitude:

Ah well then! I shall go far away
Like the echo of the pious church-bell goes away,
There somewhere in the white snow;
There amongst the clouds of gold,
There where hope, hope
Is regret, is regret, is sorrow!

O from my mother's cheerful house
I am about to go away from you, from you!
Quite far away, and perhaps to you,
And perhaps to you, will never more return,
Nor ever more see you again!
Never again, never again!

I will go away alone and far,
There, somewhere in the white snow, I shall go,
I will go away alone and far
And amongst the clouds of gold!


Gary Freedman said...

In the fall of 1991 then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas testified that the sexual harassment accusations lodged against him by EEOC employee Anita Hill were false and that, "I deny each and every single allegation against me today that suggested in any way that I had conversations of a sexual nature or about pornographic material with Anita Hill, that I ever attempted to date her, that I ever had any personal sexual interest in her, or that I in any way ever harassed her."

Clarence Thomas also stated that, "This is a case in which this sleaze, this dirt, was searched for by staffers of members of this committee. It was then leaked to the media. And this committee and this body validated it and displayed it in prime time over our entire nation." He called the hearing a type of lynching:
“This is not an opportunity to talk about difficult matters privately or in a closed environment. This is a circus. It's a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.”

The hearings were notable for their sexually explicit content, particularly Senator Orrin Hatch's (R-UT) questions "[D]id you ever say in words or substance something like there is a pubic hair in my Coke?" and "Did you ever use the term Long Dong Silver in conversation with Professor Hill?". Thomas firmly denied having said either, as well as denying having read The Exorcist, in which the character Burke Dennings says at a party, "There appear[s] to be an alien pubic hair floating around in my gin."

There can be striking coincidences between published material and real life experience -- coincidences of facts and statements that have no real relationship.

Gary Freedman said...

The soprano in the YouTube video, Angela Gheorghiu, is Romanian, from Bucharest, as was Alec Peters, manager of the Science Information Services Department of The Franklin Institute where I worked from 7/70 to 6/79.