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Annual Email for 2014-2015Part 1:
If you have come here from my website, or from some other website in cyberspace like Facebook, or one of the 100s of other sites on the internet where my writing is found and, if you are interested in this most recent of my annual letters to family and friends, the following provides a quite detailed picture. There are 4 other of my annual emails at this online diary for the 3 previous years going back to 201l, and for the year 2015. If you want to read them first, you will gain a setting, a helpful perspective, on this annual email. This is just an option, not a necessity unless, of course, you are one of my many readers who, for some reason or another, take a detailed interest in my personal life and the lives of the significant others in my life-circle, significant--as they say in the field of psychology.
This annual email for 2014-2015 contains, in the main, an update on the significant individuals in my second affinal family, family by marriage. It is a family I became a part of by marriage at a Baha'i ceremony with a marriage celebrant on 20 December 1975 in Albury, Victoria, Australia. That's just 9 months short of 40 years ago as I write this final update of this annual letter. "Tempus fugit," as my mother used to say and, for those who do not know any Latin, "how time flies!"
As I write this third edition of my annual communication for the two year period: 2014-2015, a period which opened some 15 months ago, autumn has just begun in Australia, that is, on 21/3/'15. Winter in Canada for my family and friends back home where I spent my life until I was 26 in 1971 is gone and spring has begun. Readers who take a particular interest in climate can Google this subject and get all the detail they require for what it is like here at this time of year.
It is my intention to add to this annual email with one or two of my prose-poems at the end of this update. Only readers who take an interest in my online poetry need bother with these two pieces. I will not be updating this particular annual letter again. This is the final edition. Readers who want updates on my life and the significant individuals in it can go to my annual letter at this site for the year 2015.
My present family by marriage is a family that has gone through many changes, indeed, transformations in the last 41 years since I first became associated with it, when I was in my late 20s, in March 1974. In that month I began a relationship with a Christine Armstrong(nee Sheldrick). The relationship continued &, 21 months later, on 20 December 1975, Christine and I had a simple, unostentatious, Baha'i wedding ceremony, as I say above, in Albury Victoria, a town on the border of Victoria and NSW Australia.
There were only a small handful of people present, quite unlike the great number who attended my first wedding ceremony in August 1967 in Scarborough Ontario when I was 23. I am now in my 70s and have no intention of marrying again, even should my wife pass away. After nearly 50 years in the institution of marriage as a husband, as well as an additional 20 years as an only child of older-parents in a small nuclear-family of 3, back in the 1940s to the 1960s, I trust I will go the distance in this second marriage. If things go the way I hope, I will pass away before my wife who will be 70 in less than 2 years. Of course, "no man knoweth when his own end shall be", wrote some poet.
Christine, my wife(usually called Chris by her friends), was one of my students in what is now the University of Tasmania and was, back in 1974, a College of Advanced Education. I was her tutor in education studies; she was training to be a maths-science teacher in secondary schools. She, like I, at the time was separated from her first marital partner; we did not seriously think of marrying until the southern autumn(and northern spring) of 1975. She had two daughters who, in 1974 when we first met, were aged 8 and 3. Forty years later, Vivienne and Angela, those two little girls, are both working-mothers in their forties, one in nursing and the other in public relations and marketing.
In late 1973, some 27 months after arriving in Australia, my first wife(now Judy Noack) and I separated. We had been living and working near Adelaide in the town of Gawler in South Australia. Our divorce was formalized by law in 1975, as was Christine's. I won't give readers here chapter and verse of the story of Chris and I, and her two girls, over the last 40 years. I deal with some of that story in my autobiography available at several places in cyberspace, FY possible I.
I encourage readers to go to my other annual emails for: 2011, 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2014, and 2015. These emails are also found at this on-line diary, if you would like a more extended update and detail on my life and those significant individuals, as they say in psychology, who have been part of my life these last 41 years. These 4 annual emails will fill-in readers regarding my family life, at least to a limited extent, since 1974-1975, since the beginning of my life in this 2nd affinal family, as families by marriage are known in sociology.
It is not my intention, as I say, to write about the last 41 years, nor the 8 years in my first affinal family, 1967 to 1975, nor the 23 years growing-up and into my first years of adulthood in Canada. If I did write about these other aspects of my life, this annual letter would become far too long for most readers. I'm sure it already is too long for many of those who have come this far in accessing my annual emails.
The Facebook-Twitter generation I know, from my several years of posting at those popular SNS(social networking sites), likes the short and snappy, brief and curt, crisp and pithy, terse and succinct, posts to either read or write with, of course, all the visual and auditory additions that such SNS offer to their users. This is but one of the many indications of the increase in the pace of life in this 21st century. It is also an indication of several other aspects of our 21st century culture with its 24/7 news, and dozens of sources of stimulation now available to keep everyone both informed and entertained in perpetuity.
The details of these last 7 decades of my life, 1943 to 2015, are not found in my annual emails, although I have made some general statements, provided some general details, on those 70 years over the several lengthy annual emails now at this diary-website. I have written about: (a) what are now nearly 50 years of married life, and (b) more than 20 of single life, as I say above, in my autobiography. Readers with the interest can access that autobiography in cyberspace, in whole or in part, at many internet sites. I also write briefly about the lives of my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents going back into the middle of the 19th century---for those who have the interest.
This annual email follows-on from the last annual letter to family and friends, for 2012-2013. This is an annual communication, and it updates the activities of: (i) my wife and I, as well as my son and his wife and daughter; (ii) my oldest step-daughter Vivienne, her husband Andrew, and their two children, Tobias and Kelsey; and, finally, (iii) the youngest of my two step-daughters, Angela and her son, George. Angela is a single mother, as I pointed out in that previous annual email. The previous annual emails give many details about these three components of my family here in Australia, details that do not need repeating here.
As the year 2015 goes through its 3rd month, as I update this annual letter for 2014-15 for the last time, and as I have now begun the decade of my 70s, I will add a few remarks to the previous annual up-date on these significant individuals in the inner circle of this family. I will also leave it to readers to read as much or as little of this annual email as they desire.
Not everyone is into writing lengthy annual letters/emails and not everyone enjoys reading them. To all those who have come this far in this particular annual email, I encourage you to read as much of this communication or as little as you so desire; also write as much or as little in response if, indeed, you want to write anything at all. All the main updating of the significant individuals in my life will now be done on my annual letter for 2015 also found at this site.
From time to time in my annual emails I mention some aspect of the Baha'i Faith that is relevant in the Baha'i calendar. I also write about what that aspect is all about to the Baha'i community which I have now been associated with for more than 60 years. Wikipedia, that most popular of the online encyclopedia, has a detailed, an excellent, series of statements in relation to all the significant dates in the annual Baha'i calendar for those who come to this annual letter and who also have an interest in this subject.
I leave it to readers to access Wikipedia to the extent they wish, not only in relation to the Baha'i Faith, but also in relation to dozens of aspects of life in Australia and Tasmania which are now covered in great detail at many cyberspace sites. It is for this reason that there are many aspects of life which I do not discuss in this annual letter like: the weather, the landscape, the many details of local culture and history, inter alia.
Three Baha'i-Holy-Day have passed in November, and there have been several Feasts since November as I update this annual email; some 120,000 to 150,000 localities in the world where Baha'is live have celebrated a gift-giving and hospitality season known as Ayyam-i-Ha. The Baha'i Fast and the new year, Naw-Ruz are also over. As I say above, readers who are interested can go to Wikipedia for a detailed exposition of the details of these events on the Baha'i calendar.
I do not write about my wife's brother and sister and their families; nor do I write about my wife's 95 year-old mother, or any of the other extensions of my wife's family here in Australia. My first affinal family, and my birth family, both in Canada--where I was born and where I lived until I was 26--are also not included in this up-dating process. Readers will find some comments and references to those earlier decades in my life, if they want to go back over those earlier annual emails at this website, this online diary.
Readers can also access my autobiography, as I say above, at various places in cyberspace by Googling "Ron Price Autobiography". I leave all this to each reader who accesses this part of my website, and this annual letter. Everyone can read as much or as little as they like, and respond in writing if they so desire.
Chris and I are still dealing with our several infirmities as we head through our 70s. Chris will head through her 70s beginning in 8/2016. I see my GP and a psychiatrist regularly to help me deal with bipolar I disorder. I also see a renal physician, or nephrolopgist, for my moderate chronic kidney disease(MCKD) phase 4, and a mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD). I see a urological surgeon for my enlarged prostate; I also see a gastroenterologist for diverticulosis, blood loss in the gastrointestinal tract, and a periodic colonoscopy which, at the moment, looks like I may not need to have another, at least as long as the colon-flies, so to speak. Readers with an interest in the health of Chris and I can get the latest update in my annual letter for the period 7/15 to 12/15 at this online diary.
With a podiatrist for my foot fungus and various other foot problems, an optometrist for my cataracts & an annual update for my prescription glasses, with my dental work in the hands of a dentist and a dental technician to help me take care of my two partial plates and my last 6 teeth, I am more than happy to pay tribute to the wonders of modern medicine in all its labyrinthine forms and sub-disciplines. Whatever troubles the world is experiencing because of its ties with many outworn shibboleths in the fields of religion and politics, the fields of science and technology have transformed and continue to transform our world.
For those who are into the vast tracts of alternative medicine, I am happy that you not write to me with your concerns for my several maladies. I am more than happy with the several local people who provide me with curative advice in these areas and several who provide me with supplements and aromas, medicines and minerals. I also have access to homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, energy medicine, various forms of acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and a wide range of faith healing prescriptions. The internet, too, is full to overflowing with advice that I can access 24/7. I have benefited for decades, indeed, since my childhood, from advice in the many healing arts thanks to a mother for whom the subjects of healing and health were at the center of her religious proclivities.
Chris deals with a mild inflammatory problem. Her problem is in the area of rheumatology. She has a mild fibromyalgia according to her rheumatologist, but Chris does not agree. Her hypothyriodism has been corrected in the last 12 months. I won't add to the present level of information regarding these several health problems, already indicated in previous annual emails, other than to say: (a) these infirmities are all "works in progress," as they say these days; (b) I suffer hardly at all due to the several medications I take, and (c) Chris has more of a battle due to physical discomfort and fatigue especially on some days.
Chris's thyroxine levels have been largely worked-out to her satisfaction, and this has brought her much relief to several of her symptoms. Both of our conditions are difficult for others to understand and, unless others are particularly interested, it is only on rare occasions that we even discuss our health 'challenges' to use a word of increasing popularity in our culture.
Both of us still have relatively active lives, in spite of these infirmities, and I have summarized these activities in several ways in the previous annual emails for those with the interest. After 15 months of the evolution of this annual email for the period 2014-15, and with April Fools' Day less than two days away, I will say no more about Chris and I.
My son Daniel, who was 37 in August 2014, returned from Addis Ababa Ethiopia with his wife, Zuriash, and their, then, 2 year old daughter Grace more than a year ago back in January 2014. They had a two-month stay with Zuriash's family, and took-in some travelling in parts of Ethiopia where Zuriash had not been, even though she was born and raised in that interesting country. Daniel & Zuriash are now into the 6th year of their marriage which took place on: 9/9/'09.
They were living, as I also indicated in a previous email, only a few houses from where I lived in 1974 on first arriving in Launceston more than 40 years ago at the age of 29. They just moved to another flat last week and you can read about that in my update for 2015. Daniel is working, as I again indicated in previous annual emails, as a technical writer with Tas-Gas, Tasmania’s No.1 natural gas retailer. This 3-day-a-week-job allows him to play a more extensive part in his role as a father and husband, as well as secretary of the local Baha'i community, among other volunteer activities.
Daniel was asked, if he wanted to work an additional day to the 3 he is already working but, as he heads for the age of 40 in the next three years, he is in no hurry to work full-time due to what he sees as the present convenience and suitability of his PT job. This job provides enough money to pay the bills and, at the same time, allows him "to work to live" instead of "living to work." This idea, this way of putting it, is one that people sometimes use to convey a line of thought in relation to their job-life and their personal-non-job life.
Vivienne, my oldest step-daughter at 47, and Andrew her husband, had been living in their new house in Launceston for 6 months(1/'14 to 6/'14) when they decided to separate. They had been married for 24 years which is 3 times longer than my first marriage from 1967 to 1975. This new house was to be the first stage in their downsizing.
V's and A's two children, now 21 and 18, are still at home, at least part of the time and, in all likelihood, they will both move out for good in the next 2 or 3 years. Their home is a lovely place in another part of Launceston not far from where they used to live for many years. It has an indoor swimming-pool and sauna. Both V and A(Andrew) continue at the jobs they have had, and which I have already written about in this series of annual emails. I've enjoyed my first swim in their pool and my first sauna, and Chris has enjoyed several. What a convenience to have in one's home!
Separations, of course, bring a whole new episode to one's life-narrative. V and A have been separated for 10 months, as I write this update of my annual letter, & who knows what will eventuate in the months ahead in their relationship. I will keep readers informed of the eventualities as they come to fruition in the months ahead. Andrew moved out and has been living in other parts of Launceston. Vivienne and her daughter Kelsey man-the-roost, as they say, most of the time when they are not occupied with their busy lives at work, at school and out-and-about with friends and life's assorted activities. Of course, all of these things are 'works-in-progress' as they say these days as Vivienne's family goes through some major changes.
Tobias, my step-grandson, is now 21 and spends little time at home any more. He still lives in Launceston and was working as a bar-man at a casino in northern Tasmania until he got a new job last month. I will report on that job in my letter for 2015. He was an assistant manager at the New York Hotel in Launceston where he had been working PT for several years. His sister, Kelsey, has just completed her final year of matriculation studies and has had her graduation ceremony in December 2014.
In February 2015 she began her study program at the university of Tasmania at its Hobart campus in agricultural science. She will now only be at home on the occasional weekend and holiday. At least that is the current plan. Everyone's life is a story in flux with the changes and chances of life impacting on former routines, routines which I have only written of briefly above, and which I will report on in my annual letter for 2015.
I'll say a little more about Angela, who has begun doing communication consultancy work in the last year, in addition to a new PT job here in northern Tasmania. Angela is a specialist in marketing and is a communications practitioner who is recognised for her senior consulting work. In early September she began to work half-time with an organization called 'Rural Business Tasmania.' This organization is part of the Tasmanian School of Business & Economics Corporate Internship Programme of the University of Tasmania.
She is involved with the review and revitalising services to the rural sector on this island state of Australia. This job is child-friendly in the sense that it allows her, as a single-mother, to pay the bills and raise her son without too much of a stretch of her personal and psychological resources as would be required in a FT job. It's not an easy role but, after many years in the fast lanes of the business world, Angela is coping well.
She was employed until early March 2014, a year ago now, in a job I reported-on briefly in my last email. It was a job which was highly suited to her role as a single mother since she did not have to work evenings, or at the weekend, as she had done in her previous job. She was able to give much more of her time to her son, George, who was 4 years old in September 2014. It was also a job in which she could invest her passions and social concerns. I will describe that job briefly below since it was an interesting part of her working life.
Angela was the Manager of Fundraising and Events with an organization known as "Child Wise." Child Wise is Australia’s leading child protection charity at the international level. It is, and was, committed to the prevention and reduction of sexual abuse and exploitation of children around the world. Child Wise’s primary focus is to prevent abuse before it happens. Their programs are child-focused, award-winning and informed by a fundamental belief that children have a right to physical and psychological safety. Child abuse in its many forms is a global problem that knows no borders. Her employers, Child Wise, work in Australia, Asia and the Pacific delivering programs to prevent abuses against children.
Angela was highly suited to this job due to her general career trajectory with its 18 years’ experience in a number of industries throughout Australia, Asia, and beyond. She has worked with organisations including: global telecommunications behemoths Alcatel- Lucent and the Nokia-Siemens Networks, as well as an Indonesia head-quartered global property developer, the Karma Royal Group. Most recently, in 2013, she worked with national event specialists, SuperSprint.
Angela is an energetic and seasoned marketing, communications, events, and fund-raising professional and, as I say above, has had many years, in the world's many fast lanes. At the moment she has slowed-down, at least to some extent, in this PT job which allows her to focus on raising her son George and on her several life-interests during the time she is not at work.
That previous job, a fund-raising and marketing position came to an abrupt-halt in early March 2014 for a complex set of reasons having to do with a change in direction of this charitable organization's mission statement and with their inability to continue to finance Angela's position. Angela commands what you might call "an executive salary" for some of the many jobs in the public relations industry. Even on her PT job now in Launceston, it is enough money for her to pay her bills and lead a busy life raising her son George.
I have followed Angela's career with interest in the last two decades, beginning as that career did back in 1996 after her graduation from RMIT(The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) with a BA in Public Relations and Psychology. My own career was heading to its end back then in 1996, and in 1999 I took an early retirement at the age of 55.
I look forward to Angela's personal & professional development in the years ahead as she continues through the challenges of her remaining years of middle-age: 44 to 60, and as she raises her son, George, who was 4 years old on 20/9/'14. Angela is now living back in Launceston with her son George. She and George stayed with her sister Vivienne until early October when they moved into a lovely flat in Launceston close to George's school and to Angela's work.
She is hoping to buy a house in the near future and get off the rental-treadmill. Her father has been very generous over the years in assisting Angela financially. My wife and I have not had sufficient financial assets to help Angela in the way we would like to do. But her father, a Robert Armstrong and a retired chemist/pharmacist aged 73, helps her from time to time. He is in an aged-care facility and in a wheel-chair, partly due to a football accident he had many years ago. I came into Angela's life when she was 3 and, as a step-father, I have now been in her life for some 40 years!
Running the gauntlet in the job-world presents individuals with many challenges. This has been true for my son & for my two step-daughters over the last 2 to 3 decades, as it was true for me from the 1960s to the beginning of this 21st century. They each deal with that gauntlet in their different ways, to say nothing of the other 3 major life-gauntlets: marriage-partner-relationships, health-hygiene, and interests-leisure-time. These other major aspects of their personal lives are each stories in themselves which I won't go into here.
After being employed myself from 1955 to 2005 at a vast assortment of jobs, I am more than a little happy to have my working life and its FT, PT and casual-volunteer aspects, behind me. My 3 children each have many years to go in their working-employment lives. The 3 of them each have one to three decades more of paid-employment before retirement arrives in their lives. This, of course, depends on how their careers develop and when they want to enjoy their retirement years. Not having to concern oneself with earning a living, raising children and paying the bills is an evolving story for each individual in their lives. So, too, is retirement an evolving part of one's life-narrative. With the advances in modern medicine I could be around for another 3 decades or more!
In recent months in Australia there has been talk of raising the retirement age to 70! The job-world is a gauntlet, as I say above, for millions, a gauntlet which must be run along with those other gauntlets I mentioned. It is difficult for most people to win on all these fronts all the time as they go through the several stages of their lifespan.
All the above individuals have on-going stories which I will continue to report-on in 2015, as it goes from month to month. Much happens in the daily round; it is my intention to highlight only a few aspects of the lives of these several significant family members, and the life of my wife and I.
I will not be returning to this 3rd edition of my annual communication for 2014-15. Readers can go to my annual email for 2015 to read the updates as they become relevant. The year 2015 is now about to enter its fourth month. In the meantime, I trust that all those who happen to read this annual missive for 2014-15 lots of energy, good spirits & good health as we go through the autumn and winter months ahead. Those in the northern hemisphere, of course, will now be going through spring. As I say above, if you feel inclined, do write back. My email address is: email@example.com
-----------------SOME PROSE-POETRY FROM MY POEM FACTORY---------------
Peter James O'Toole(1932-2013) was an Irish-born, British educated, actor of fame who died nearly a year ago on 14/12/'13. He began working in the theater, and gaining recognition as a Shakespearean actor, while I was making a name for myself in a small town in Ontario in pee-wee and bantam baseball for teens and pre-teens in the 1950s. O'Toole made his film debut in 1959, the same year that I was in grade 10, that I was in love with a girl around the corner named Susan Gregory, and that I joined the Baha'i Faith.
I have put together, in the 2300 words which follow, several pieces of prose and poetry, pieces I wrote in recent years since retiring after a 50 year student and working life: 1949 to 1999, & after reinventing myself as a writer and author, poet and publisher, online blogger and journalist, editor and researcher, reader and scholar.
These words below serve as a personal reflection on Peter O'Toole, his life, and my own life. I see our two lives in a curious & interesting synchronicity, interesting at least to me; if readers enjoy the following that will be a bonus to the pleasure I had in writing this prose-poetic set of words.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, George Town, Tasmania.
CINEMATOGRAPHY and ECCENTRICITY
IN LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
Perhaps I was attracted to the autobiographical aspect,the epic story, of a larger-than-life adventurer, T.E. Lawrence(1888-1935). His Arabian adventure in the film Lawrence of Arabia moved me, I recall, even after the passing of more than half a century. Perhaps it was the impressive cinematography that got to my emotions. Perhaps it was the music, the rich lyrical scores, of Maurice Jarre, someone I came to know a little about many years after seeing the film.
By the time I came to write this prose-poem, this reflection, after the passing of Peter O'Toole in December 2013, I had seen the film Lawrence of Arabia twice. In the 54 years since the start of the film's production back in October 1959, my own life has taken a circuitous route, a journey I could not, and did not, anticipate.
October 1959 was the month that the famous TV series "The Twilight Zone" started. I also began the first season of midget ice-hockey in October. I joined the Bahá’í Faith one evening early in that same month. O'Toole married for the first time in 1959; 1959 was a big year for this now famous man who has acted for the last time.
O'Toole was into autobiography and memoirs, as I have been in recent decades, and you can read about his memoiristic interests in the detailed account of his life at Wikipedia. I have now been working on my own autobiography for 30 years; I do not possess the genius for words which this man, who is said to have memorized all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets, clearly possessed.
O'Toole played the role of Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia. The film was first released three months after my travelling-pioneering venture began in Canada in September 1962 for the Canadian Baha’i community. Lawrence's life and personality were enigmatic and complex, solitary and adventurous. He was, we are told, given to masochism; he was often beaten when a child by his mother; his sex-life was problematic; we are also told he was excessively arrogant. These are qualities I have myself exhibited but, after more than 50 years of living, and after some reflection and reading, I don't think I have ever exhibited these qualities and these problems with anything like the same intensity as Lawrence did. Of course, personal reflections of this nature are, for the most part, hypothetical, like so many of the views we come to have of ourselves as we travel the road to the end of our days on this earthly life.
I have not been tested by envy or jealousy except on the rarest of occasions. I've never had trouble with sex in anything like the same way and extent as was the case with Lawrence, although I must admit that my sex-life in the last 50 years or so has not been an entirely easy road, to say the least. Fame and wealth, the frenzy of renown, have also eluded me and, in some ways, I am thankful. O'Toole had to deal with alcohol and cancer, diabetes and a blood disorder; I think I've had a healthier, and far less frenetic life; alcohol has never been a problem for me nor have drugs, although I've had to deal with the perils of bipolar I disorder, as well as other infirmities at I now head through my 70s in the years 2014 to 2024.
These qualities, these human problems and attributes to which I have referred above in the lives of either Lawrence or O'Toole , are features of life that characterize people's life-narratives, millions of people, in various degrees. People sometimes become more conscious of them, more articulate, when they go to write their autobiography as I have done in recent decades, and as Lawrence did in writing his, his Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Peter O’Toole(1932-2013), as I say, had his problems with alcohol, marriage, & health. He also had to deal with an extreme eccentricity, and a brilliance of sorts; he is and was a useful exemplar for students who study in the field of abnormal psychology. It seems, though, that they were useful qualities for his role in Lawrence, a man of brilliance and eccentricity as well. O'Toole said he was “a retired Christian” who had given up organized religion in his teens when my own life was just getting started back in the 1940s in southern Ontario in a region of Canada known as The Golden Horseshoe.
The historical man, T. E. Lawrence, took on the task, among others, of uniting the Arabian Bedouins against their Turkish oppressors. My task was one of trying to bring unity to a people as well, although in the years 1959 to 1962, my adolescence, when I first began to deal with this task, I had no idea of the scale, the nature and the complexity of the exercise, an exercise I have come to be involved with myself in some three dozen towns where I lived since my last year of adolescence in 1962—more than 50 years ago.
My task, my life, did not operate on anything like the scale that Lawrence’s did. My world was a micro-world; my mise-en-scene, was: small towns and cities, schools and places of work, families and small groups. I don't want to summarize the story of Lawrence nor the movie here, suffice it to say, the cinematography was breathtaking, and the music captivating. The music has hung around in my memory bank for decades.
Some argue that the music and the photography were the main reasons for seeing the film. Lawrence seemed to possess the paradoxical qualities of a man blinded by his ego, desirous of fame and yet, at the same time, self-effacing. The film works with themes of fate and war, Arab tribal disunity and national politics. Lawrence exists as a dark, blank shadow, a complex, jelly-like personality in a brightly lit desert. He is a man incomprehensible even to those who knew him best: intelligent, charismatic and slightly mad. In the end he could not bring unity to the Arab tribes, could not even begin to create an Arab state. It's been a problem writ-large during the recent Arab spring.
Unity was elusive for Lawrence and for the Arabs for many reasons, as it is elusive for us in our 21st century planetizing world. The pioneers of our generations beginning, say, with the silent generation (1919-1939), have been able to construct only a portion of this unity, a stage along the way to the unity of humankind in the generations to come. These several generations have got some help from science and technology which have catapulted us into a neighborhood virtually overnight, at least as the bird of history flies. As Buckminster Fuller once put it: it’s utopia or oblivion. I’m going for utopia; there is little point in working for oblivion.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 28/12/'06 to 16/12/'13.
I had no idea back then that
I would be a bit mad, too, as
I journeyed across the desert,
the Arctic-ice, the many great
tracts of land playing my part
in trying to unite the peoples
of the Earth who did not seem
to want to unite at least through
the mechanism which I advised
and suggested-again and again-
for over sixty years, let's say,
back to the '50s as we were just
starting to go to the moon, to
rock-'n-roll, to a lot of other
stuff which you can read about.
The cinematography, the mise-
en-scene of my days, could be
magnificent in the hands of a
David Lean, a poetic imagery
with super-Panavision 70 mm
scope. You could even capture
the hills and valleys of my life
with a spectacular epic story, a
much larger-than-life idealistic
adventure & reduce my several
decades to, say, 150 minutes!!!
I had my eccentricity, but it
was nothing like Peter O’Toole’s;
I married someone who helped
to keep my eccentricities within
bounds of social propriety—and
thus function in society, in the
classroom and in the community
with its heterogeneity. But fame
and wealth would never be mine.
28/12/'06 to 23/10/'14.
SOME FINAL REFLECTIONS ON PETER O'TOOLE AND PEOPLE IN THE MEDIA
I found it interesting that Peter O’Toole and the director David Lean reportedly had a falling out after O’Toole turned down the lead in Zhivago. It was interesting to me, too, that Lean was married six times! This fact puts whatever sexual and marital troubles I've had in the six-decades, 1954 to 2014, in a helpful perspective. O'Toole's marital troubles make mine pale into insignificance. My slings and arrows have not been as extensive or as intensive as O'Toole's, at least thanks to the wonders of modern pharmacology and psychiatry.
These intensities and aspects of outrageous fortune which are often the case with celebrities of stage and screen, of sport & of the superhero world in all its many forms sorts make for stories which come across our visual screen, onto our radar, so to speak.
We who enjoy the pleasures of stage and screen, of the print and electronic media, can always find others who have had more difficult lives, and suffered far more than we and in whatever areas of our lives we have suffered. On the other-hand, we can always find others in those same media who are better-looking than us, more talented, more rich, more of virtually any human quality one could want to mention.
Oscar-winning French composer Maurice Jarre, who wrote the rich, lyrical scores for films including Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, died a more than five-and-one-half years ago, on 28/3/'09, in Los Angeles at the age of 84. I post here this prose-poem as a personal quasi-eulogy to this pioneer-traveler in the world of music composition for film.-Ron Price, Tasmania, Australia
The shooting of the film Lawrence of Arabia was completed in the first two months of my own travel-pioneering life for the Canadian Bahá'í community, from 20 August to 20 October 1962. The film was released in North America on 16 December 1962, the year I finished my adolescent baseball and hockey careers, and my matriculation exams in Ontario at the age of 18 hoping to enter university the following year.
Lawrence of Arabia has been ranked as the greatest film in the history of the epic genre; it won seven Academy Awards that year, and it is today regarded as a masterpiece of world cinema. The film depicts the experiences of T.E. Lawrence, author of The Pillars of Wisdom, an autobiographical account penned in the aftermath of WWI. It tells of the experiences of British soldier, T. E. Lawrence, during WWI serving as a liaison officer with rebel forces during the Arab Revolt of 1916 to 1918 against the Ottoman Turks.-Ron Price with thanks to “Lawrence of Arabia,” in Wikipedia, 1 April 2009.
There are epics and epics, eh Lawrence?
Little did I know that I would come to
write one forty years later and they could
argue over whether I, too, was egotistical.
Your epic has many twists and turns, eh?
But that is the way life is, Lawrence. I’ve
found it so and I never even went to war,
but I must say, Lawrence, that my years
have seen a war of sorts; goodness, it has
never ended. It’s been an epic tale and(1)
associated with what well may become
the greatest drama in the world’s religious
history; that erudite Gibbon, in matters
ecclesiastical, wrote about the most awful
scene in the history of humankind only he
was out by, arguably, at least 1000 years!(2)
(1) American writer Henry Miller described as "far more terrible than the destruction" of the first two wars, the destruction we are now witnessing. The fires now in this 21st century "will rage until the very foundations of this present world crumble." –Henry Miller quoted in Geoffrey Nash, The Pheonix and the Ashes, George Ronald, Oxford, p.55.
(2) J. W. Swain, Edward Gibbon: The Historian, MacMillan, London, 1966, p.70.
1/4/'09 to 23/10/'14.
NEW LIFE AND A NEW LARA
Oscar-winning French composer Maurice Jarre who wrote the rich, lyrical, scores for many films including Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia died, as I say above, on 28/3/'09, in Los Angeles at the age of 84. I post here this second prose-poem in relation to this famous composer, as a personal quasi-eulogy to this pioneer-traveler in the world of music composition for film.-Ron Price, Tasmania
Ten weeks after I had come to the firmest and most realistic of decisions I had yet made in my young life regarding my future career—the decision to become a primary school teacher--the film Dr. Zhivago was released. During my pre-adult life(1943-1964), I had wanted to be a bricklayer, a fireman, and a professional baseball player--in that order. My career as a primary school teacher also proved unrealistic, and was short-lived, although it proved to be much more realistic than those other three alternatives mentioned above, all of which were early life enthusiasms born of childhood and adolescent play and dreams.
On 22 December 1965, the day that the film Dr. Zhivago was released, I was on my way to a Baha’i-youth winter-school at the University of Waterloo campus in Waterloo Ontario just north of where I was living at the time in Ontario's Golden Horseshoe. I was one year short of graduation with a BA in sociology.
The film was shot in the previous months while my father lay dying at the age of 74 in Dundas Ontario. My mother, at the time, was finishing her working life as a secretary and poet, editor and writer, among other roles, and about to enjoy her dozen or so years of retirement before her death in 1978. In December 1965 I was in the middle of my second year of university and majoring in history, philosophy and sociology at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario. Hamilton is and was called the lunch-pail city of Canada because it was a working-man's city.
In the first year(22/12/'65-22/12/'66) of the release of Dr. Zhivago, a film that became one of the most popular 20th century movies, I moved to Canada's most southerly city, Windsor Ontario, to study under Dr. Jameson Bond, an anthropologist at the University of Windsor, and a Baha’i who had lived in the high Arctic for a dozen years; I also began my teacher-training and started a relationship with Miss Judy Gower whom I married 8 months later in August 1967.
After pondering, in a state of some anxiety, for eight months(12/'65-8/'66) the decision to teach school in the Canadian Arctic, and after finishing my degree; after selling ice-cream for 80 hours a week for the Good Humor Company during three summer months, and after attending a one week Baha’i youth-training institute in Michigan, I left my home town, my family and friends, and I started my teaching career on the fifth largest island in the world, Baffin Island, among the Inuit.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 30/3/'08 to 16/12/'13.
I knew nothing of Dr. Zhivago
until years later & little of
the Russian revolution, Stalin,
or communism for that matter.
I had studied Marx’s Economic
and Philosophical Manuscripts.(1)
I had discovered my own romance
not unlike Zhivago’s in another
revolution of quite another order
in a snow-bound world of another
time and place far removed from
Zhivago's world and my home-town.
With tragedy and a new high-seriousness
built into my daily life & with decisions
made--the entire enterprise came to naught.
The north, the Arctic, the Eskimos, health,
marriage, career and, like Zhivago, I found
an inner poetic beauty, a new life and--like
Zhivago--I created one with my own Lara (2)
and life went on and on toward my own
mysterious end which has not yet come.
(1) Written by Karl Marx in the summer of 1844.
(2) While married, but separated from my first wife, I formed a relationship with a woman who became my second wife in December 1975, and we have now been married for nearly 40 years.
30/3/'08 to 20/4/'14.
America's Tuning Fork
I only vaguely recall Pete Seeger from the 1950s, when I was in my early-to-mid-teens; his then hit record "Goodnight Irene" when he was with the Weavers is back there somewhere in my memory-bank. Perhaps it was in 1959, when his hit Kumbaya hit the marketplace, that he first came into my life on my little radio, in my little room, in my little house, in the little town I lived in back in the little world of the '50s. I had just joined the Baha'i Faith one evening in early October, and I might even have watched the first program of The Twilight Zone that same week although, in retrospect, I think that unlikely because my parents sold out Tv sometime before I got to high school in 1957.
By the '60s Pete was a big part of the public scene, and the 12 Seeger LPs someone gave me as a wedding present in August of 1967, placed him at the centre of my musical life. But it was not for long, as he slowly slipped to the periphery of my musical interests, and then right off my radar until two days ago when I heard of his passing at the ripe-old-age of 94!
So many of your songs, Pete, I played again and again and forgot they were yours. But you always seemed a humble sort of chap as you played through the heart of the protest movement of those '60s. Yes, Pete, you were right there at the beginning of my young political-religious life life using music to help others change the world, as you thought, and as I thought. And much changed, eh Pete? I'll say a few words below, Pete, to finish off this quasi-eulogy in appreciation for all you did for me, especially in my young life, in my teens and twenties, before life caught me by the jugular and sent me spinning far away from you and your music.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Five Epochs with thanks to Wikipedia, 29/1/'14.
After '67 you slipped to
the periphery of my life
and right off my radar
for the next half-century:
now you are gone, Pete!
All your songs will stay with
those who want to listen, and
you'll still have listeners for
some time to come, Pete, eh?
For many you were America's(1)
tuning-fork, and you certainly
sang your way into my life in
those '60s when so much came
into my life that set the stage
for the long-haul, and it was
some long-haul for you, and
your 94 years, 25 years my
senior and always leading
even when forgotten, Pete.
I heard just yesterday that
you had passed on, and I
wish you well in that land
of light from which no man
returns, and I trust you have
had enough of this old world:(2)
"goodonyer", as they say here in
this world I now live, Downunder.
(1) President Barack Obama called Pete Seeker "America's tuning-fork"
(2) Seeger lived through a great tempest: 1919 to 2014
TURN! TURN! TURN!
Some eight years ago I listened to a radio interview with singer and songwriter Judy Collins, then in her late fifties. Margaret Throsby interviewed Collins on her ABC Radio National program, 6 December 2006, so my notes inform me as I go about writing this prose-poem. Collins informed listeners to that radio program that her mentor Pete Seeger had written the words and the music to the song "Turn Turn Turn" as early as 1954. Seeger did not release the song until 1962.
The year 1962 was the beginning of my travelling-pioneering life in the Bahá’í community. Judy Collins sang the song on her 1963 album, "Judy Collins #3". The year 1963 was the year of the formation of the first Universal House of Justice, an institution of more than a little significance in more than 50 years of my life-narrative. There was a significant turning going on in the Bahá’í community at the time, a community I have now been associated with for more than 60 years.(2)
In writing this song, Seeger had adapted the words from chapter three of the Book of Ecclesiastes, 3: 1-8. He did this at another turning point in the history of the Bahá’í community and my own life. The words and that book of The Bible are often interpreted as conveying a spirit of fatalistic resignation. The words of Seeger's song have also been criticized as just being a series of over-simplifications. We all see things differently in music, and in most other things in life as well, although often we are on the same page, as they say, that others in our life are also on. And thank-goodness for that!
The Byrds' released a version of the same song in October 1965. Their version possessed, some felt, more optimism than previous versions. One analyst of the song said that The Byrds' release of "Turn! Turn! Turn!" in that October of 1965 captured the zeitgeist of the time. It was, in that same month of 1965, that I decided to pioneer, to move, among the Inuit in Canada. When I arrived in my new home on Baffin Island, I played Pete Seeger songs ad nauseam from the 12 LPs someone had given me as a wedding present.
I had, indeed, in that October of 1965, at last made a decision, a specific, a directed, a difficult decision to leave my home and hearth, the place I had grown-up in southern Ontario. I had decided to make a major turn in my then young life. This anthem of the peace movement and the civil rights cause, "Turn Turn Turn" could have been the anthem for my own decisions and some significant turning points in the life of my spiritual community, first at the age of 10, then at 18 and then again at the age of 21, as I started my baseball career, then finished high school and entered my last year of university.
I finally had a specific direction to my future vocational career as a teacher, and to my role as a homefront and, later, international life as a pioneer in the Bahá’í community. I had, indeed, done a lot of turning. -Ron Price with thanks to (1) Radio National on 6/12/'06, and "Turn! Turn! Turn!" Wikipedia, 6/12/06, and (2) this prose-poem was updated on 29/1/'14.
They were hot days back then in '65.
Depression had lifted and those initial
erotic excitements or, perhaps it was
some quite mysterious body chemistry
that had sent me into the manic phase
sufficiently below the hypomanic to
cope with life and limb, and libido.
Somewhat serendipitously, it seems,
looking back after more than 40 years,
I chanced to go to Chatham--the end of
the Underground Railway--it happens--
where they came to a world of freedom(1)
as I--looking back--was going to my world
of freedom; or, perhaps, it was a prison,
the Most Great Prison of my life, little
did I know then in '65 when I was just
starting out on the long, long, road......
(1) This town in southern Ontario was the last stop for Negroes escaping from the oppressive racism in the USA in the 19th century.
7/12/'06 to 29/1/'14.
SOME REFLECTIONS ON JUDY COLLINS
I listened to Judy Collins 50 years ago in my late teens and early twenties--back in the sixties--but I never heard her talk as I did in the above interview some 8 years ago now. I have added the above personal reminiscence to the words I heard on Collins. The interview was a replay on ABC Radio National on the Margaret Throsby program. I found the interview and especially Collins' words a source of such nostalgia that I wrote the above prose-poem. Judy may never see the poem, but that does not matter. She is in no more need of accolades after more than 50 years of them. But thank you, Judy, for so much you have given me.
End of Document