Another singing Les Green – who knew?


My sisters and I are on this Binghamton-specific group on Facebook. This woman that I do not know, in response to my sister posting a photo of our father, asked, “Is that Les Green the musician? If it is he worked with us Continue reading

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The writing exercise, in which Dad’s paintings appear

painting
Back in May, I participated in this ninety-minute writing class from a woman named http://www.dianecameron.info/ Diane Cameron. Among many other things, she’s a freelance writer who appears in the local newspaper regularly.

The directive was to think of three doors that were important in your life. Then you write about one of them for four minutes. And by “writing,” this means not taking the pen off the paper, not editing, just letting the words take us where they would.

The first door was the outside door Continue reading

Father’s Day

Lydia and Roger, 2010

One of the things I worried about when Lydia was born was whether I would be there when she grew up. After all, I was 51 when she was born, so I’ll be 70 when she’s 19.

What I had not seriously considered, beyond the normal concerns, is what if something happened to her. Her still mysterious illness in late February and much of March made me concerned because, as the doctors eliminated what it was NOT, I still did not know what it WAS.

It wasn’t until mid-May, though, that The Wife and I had a conversation with her about what she felt, I mean beyond the pain. Continue reading

That damn song about ancestors

Les.Trudy
Right after I got back to Albany, after my mother’s funeral in February 2011 in Charlotte, NC, I attended the church service of my current congregation. It was Black History Month, and I had helped organize the events, but did not participate much in them. I’m standing in the congregation, rather than singing in the choir Continue reading

L is for Les, Leslie and Roger, the Green Family Singers

My sister MARCIA found this and put it on Facebook:

It’s a promo sheet my father created for himself as a “singer of folk songs,” never as a “folk singer,” which was too limiting a term for him.

I’m particularly interested in the set list, I’m guessing from late 1950s. Some of the songs he was still singing a decade later, when my father, sister Leslie and I sang together, while there are others (Twenty Souls) I don’t even recognize. I’m always fascinated to hear other people sing the songs he, or we, performed Continue reading

Random Memory of My Father: Savannah, GA

For my job, I used to go to the national conference of our association every year (far less so this century.) In the fall of 1998, the event was in Savannah, Georgia, this Atlantic coastal city that had a certain old world charm. Among other things, it was a walkable locale with a sense of its history.

My father, who was living in Charlotte, NC at the time, decided to drive down and visit me. It was about 260 miles and 4.5 hours away, but when he suggested it, I was all for it. I had come down on a Saturday, and while there was a mixer on Sunday, the conference did not start in earnest until Monday; it was just cheaper at that time to fly down a day earlier, even considering the hotel costs.

Well, my father Continue reading

Grandmother Agatha Green, found at last

When my parents moved downstairs at 5 Gaines Street, Binghamton, NY, my paternal grandparents, McKinley and Agatha (nee Walker) Green moved upstairs. Her name, BTW, was pronounced a-GATH-a, not AG-a-tha. Yes, it is I who she is holding.

Grandma Green was almost certainly my first Sunday school teacher at Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church, only a couple short blocks from our home. She had a certain refinement and bearing. While my maternal grandmother would nag me, this grandma gave me the parameters she expected, and I pretty much did it.
It’s rather like some Bill Cosby routine Continue reading

Of magpies: WWII black veterans edition

Dustbury noted that he and I have something in common: we are both magpies. As he put it: “The Eurasian magpie… is wicked smart, especially for a bird… I am not quite sure how “magpie” became a descriptor for humans who flit from topic to topic, unless it has to do with the bird’s tendency to be attracted to Shiny Things, but I’m pretty sure I fit that description, and I have several readers who seem to do likewise.”

The problem with that is that I often move onto the Next Thing, less out of boredom, but the need to find something mentally Shiny, I suppose. Intellectually, at least, the phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” is pretty true of me. I know very few things in depth, but I know a little about a lot of things.

Sometimes, people have suggested Continue reading