Telegram announcing brother Bob’s birth some years ago today – sent by Dad (Lorne, which is also Bob’s middle name along with Olaf – our paternal grandfather) to Lucile Stevenson, our maternal great-grandmother living in Elmhurst, Illinois where our maternal grandfather, Robert Louis Stevenson, was born, sent from Eugene, Oregon (USA) where Robert (aka brother Bob) was born.
Among the information is:
weight, 8 lbs 5 ounces
Lauralee (our mother) is fine
parents are proud (naturally)
Continuing, here is me (right) visiting Bob in about 1983/4 in Logan, UT with aforementioned grandfather RLS’s truck in background at (divorced but still cordial at this time) maternal grandmother Isobel’s house – now occupied by a cousin who received in her will. At the time, Aunt L (and a few cousins) and Uncle M lived there as well.
Note: along with brother Bob and grandpa Robert, there is an uncle, cousin and brother Bob’s son (my nephew) with the same appellation (possibly others i’ve missed). Derivatives and nicknames ensue to keep all straight. I am the only Dave in the extended clan.
In hospital with sedated Grandpa, Dave reads complete “Letters from Russia” epistolary literature project with frequent interruptions from visitors, nurses and medical apparatus. The letters address issues of class, revolutions, monarchy, war, trade, and love in the context of Napoleon’s foray into Russia in 1812 through letters from a cobbler to his fiancé in Paris. Then finishes with Walt Whitman heading on the open road (which ole Gramps was so fond of doing himself).
Featured music: Mark Olson (music, guitar, vocals) and Dave Olson (lyrics, drums) “Little Flame” – recorded to 4 track cassette, circa 1996.
On a forgotten forest walk, Dave riffs a story about first trip to Europe – starting with trying not to puke over an Amsterdam bridge after a meeting new temporary coffee shop pals – with flashback to Mexican desert trips with Grandpa, LSD trips with VW bus-fixing pals, and family Grateful Dead road trip to in Arizona.
Foreshadows future stories of an rapid exit from London to Florida then a (rather dangerous) driveway car to Dallas, bus to SLC, flight to Vancouver, then to Japan…
Paying poetic respects to recently deceased Grandpa in a rainforest with Walt Whitman, Charles Baudelaire, Chief Dan George and original works inspired by the globe rambling, oddly charming, big fish – while official funeral happening elsewhere. Originally recorded: May 13, 2006
I’ve held the globe
thread for vapour trails
each colour a route
pinned from Greece to Kenya
or St John’s Bay
is that Israel or Syria?
A blue loop with stops at
20 pins circumnavigates
a memory of connections
meals with colleagues
strangers and stewardesses
Red thread of elongated triangles
crosses over itself
making obtuse angles o’er Pacific
Tinian, Hawaii, Japan, Guam
a green line returns to Perth
Pins cover provinces and states
organized pushed with vigor and precision
Prague before velvet divorce
Misnamed Indies several times
around Belize, Venezuela, Colombia, Paraguay
Was it a holiday steamer
or a recruiting mission?
Heavy machinery to militants, airplanes to diplomats or typewriters to rogues
a letter carried from a mexican ambassador from a round of golf decades before –
carried not as a prize but a pocket card – not an ace but a jack at least,
“This is to introduce my friend, please provide any due consideration.”
Outside the machines dig holes for bricks
disguising the drip and hum of apparatus
chest heaves so shallow,
mouth gapes, head askew,
hands, arms, fingers flush with fluid
ruddy, worn and odd
a man who worked with head and heart,
but little by his hands
Often times, I make scrap journals for no particular reason, just for enjoyment of gathering interesting paper tidbits and ephemera which I enjoy… Then somehow a “theme” or story of some kind emerges. Especially after being stuck/fermenting in a suitcase for months or years, as soon as I open a booklet of artifacts, so many memories return. Some of you might see oddities in here wish you recognize and enjoy as well presented in a different context.