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14 A School Band on the Railroad Tracks

RushJr. Loving Indiana University Press ePub

While McClellan and the others had been creating Amtrak, Judge John P. Fullam, who was presiding over the Penn Central bankruptcy, had named four trustees, three to serve part-time as the equivalent of directors. The fourth was Jervis Langdon Jr., who became the chief trustee and served full-time. A former president of the Baltimore and Ohio, Langdon, 65, had flown the Hump with the Flying Tigers during World War II and continued to pilot his own airplane. He was a tall man with a rocklike face that was softening with age. His looks and demeanor seemed soft, but that was misleading, for his cold, alert eyes told the real story about Langdon, who was well versed in the subtleties of corporate politics.

Langdon was a great-nephew of Mark Twain, who wrote Tom Sawyer in an outbuilding at the family farm—where Langdon himself still lived—outside Elmira, New York. Langdon was the ideal choice because—although no operating man—he knew how to scrutinize operations, and he understood the art of diplomacy and compromise. The latter skills would be mandatory, since working with Washington and the labor unions would be key to Penn Central’s survival. He knew the railroad business from the viewpoint of a strategist.

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Medium 9781574412840

5. A New Beginning (1945)

Michael Sparke University of North Texas Press PDF

5.

A New Beginning

(1945)

During the summer of 1945 Stan was giving serious thought to the future direction of the orchestra. With the end of the war came a desire for change. Public acceptance of the more daring modern bands was growing, the Woody Herman Herd setting a lead, and Kenton became increasingly convinced this was the time to return to the jazz course he had largely abandoned when joining Bob Hope in 1943. As

Kenton dramatically phrased it in a famous quote that helped cement his own reputation among fans as a virtuoso of deific proportions: “I remember one morning in Boston, I woke up and I said to Gene Howard,

‘Gene, I think the Lord must have spoken to me last night. The clarinets are out. We need a mood—a JAZZ mood.’”1

“So the five clarinets backing the boy singer went,” Al Anthony remembered. “I never did like their sound, nor could I make any sense of what we were doing, playing fast figures in a very high register: it sounded like we were playing exercises. We lead players are a particular breed of people—we don’t hear things the same way as a soloist. But Stan liked my work, and the way I interpreted the book, although many times I didn’t really have a good feeling of what I was doing. The music then was very different from some of the later bands. We didn’t swing, and I didn’t really like the music, but Stan, being the person he was, convinced me to stay.

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16 Mauthausen, Gusen I, and Gusen II

J. Ted Hartman Indiana University Press ePub

16

Mauthausen, Gusen I, and Gusen II

After camping northeast of Zwettl the night of May 3rd, we met no resistance as we advanced into Gallneukirchen the next day, where we joined the other companies of our battalion. We were assigned houses to stay in, which meant the inhabitants had to move out. Our chaplain arrived, so we had church services in the local Protestant church. In contrast to the low attendance at Camp Cooke and in England, a surprisingly large group was there. As we were coming back from services, guns started going off. We were fearful that some sort of counterattack was starting.

Then battalion headquarters announced that all of the German troops in Austria had surrendered. This information was misinterpreted by some of the staff as total German surrender and that the war was over. Even though this was not true, it wasn’t surprising that such a rumor could set off some celebration. The past two weeks had been filled with immense tension for us, as there were so many signs pointing to the end of the European war. We relaxed somewhat that night and then had very good church services on Sunday, May 6th.

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Medium 9781574413243

Chapter 9 ✚ Ambush in the Delta

Joann Puffer Kotcher University of North Texas Press PDF

✚ C ha p t e r 9 ✚

Ambush in the Delta

S

ometimes the places we thought were the safest were the opposite.

One day I received an audiocassette tape from my parents. They

talked about what was going on, and told me they had just added a new room, with a fireplace, to the farm house. On the tape, they had recorded sounds of my father stoking the fire. I played the tape on the equipment at the center, available for anyone to use. Guys came in every once in a while to play tapes from home. I felt bad for one man. He told me, “My wife is mad at me. She’s not speaking to me, so she sent me a

90-minute tape that turned out to be blank, nothing on it.” Telling me about it seemed to make him feel better.

I thought my buddies, the pilots, would enjoy hearing my dad stoke the fireplace. I took the tape to supper the next day, and sure enough, the pilots were eager to hear it. One man volunteered that he had a tape player in his room. The dozen pilots pushed back their chairs. The scraping sounds echoed through the empty mess hall. We all trooped the 50 feet to the man’s room.1 He was proud to show it off, one of a

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Medium 9781574412666

X. The Songwriter

Vince Bell University of North Texas Press PDF

  X 

The Songwriter

T

hroughout all the luck, good and bad, I wrote songs. I wrote them in the kitchen, in the car, in the evening, on holidays, but mostly when it was inconvenient. A lot of the work I put into a new tune was done when trying to sleep, before I would wake for the day and put my thoughts to the test. I have always had collections of ideas and tunes penned in an “idea cache” of Black Books. They were the enduring, final resting place for all kinds of recollections, reflections, and the thoughts that occurred day-to-day. By my observation, it took eight pages of cross-outs to be able to settle on three four-line verses and a refrain.

Writing is not writing at all. It’s editing windy cliché and dogtrot verse. It’s taking what you so loved the day before and, with a fastballthrowing motion, tossing the miserable piece of trash into the can in the corner. Sometimes songs take 60 minutes. Sometimes songs take six years. Further, when you finally get down to it, it’s not what you write, it’s what you don’t write. It’s as important to know what you don’t want as it is to know what you do. Lastly, when you learn to write the pause, the spaces between the words become as influential

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