Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Remember Me

How come you here, staffed wayfarer,
Part plunged in what a darkness,
But with remembered joy still singing in the heart?

Whatever happened to What's his name?
Sometimes AOL will put up a picture of some young celebrity of years gone by and tell where they are now. One of the strange things about being a public person is that when no one hears about you or sees you anywhere for a long time they don't believe you have a life. You've either passed along or your sitting like some manikin in a back room somewhere or up on a shelf. Life isn't really about what a celebrity does out in the public eye. Life goes on for them just as it does for everyone else.

Louis Thomas Hardin, better known as Moondog, was a New York fixture for many years. He could be seen standing on the sidewalk, usually on Sixth Avenue, in his Viking garb with a staff. He was a strange sight to see. A blind man, Moondog would listen. He listened to the sounds of the city and from those sounds he made poetry and music.

He was primarily a composer and musician. He wrote simple melodies with complicated rhythms. He played in various clubs around New York and made several record albums. His music was used by many well known recording artists of the day, including Janis Joplin. He was admired and respected by Arturo Toscanini, Benny Goodman and Charlie Parker. He also invented musical instruments. One of them, the trimba, is still played today.

And then one day in the 70's he disappeared. "Where's Moondog?" "What happened to Moondog?" "I wonder what became of Moondog." "Who?" "You know, that blind guy who used to stand on the corner in the funny costume." "Oh, yeah. Where did he go?" "I guess he died or something."

There was no more Moondog.

Then 14 years later I was walking down a street in lower Manhattan. I passed an obscure jazz club and out in front was a poster saying that Moondog was going to conduct the Brooklyn Philharmonic in a concert of his music. He was back in town just for that occasion. He was living in Germany and had been touring all over Europe. So much for "He must have died or something."

Life goes on and the heart still sings, even if no one knows about it.

DB - The Vagabond.


pacifica62 said...

I enjoyed reading this entry. The odd time I have managed to catch a glimpse of a TV show called "Whatever Happened To...". Just as you said I sometimes thought these people just faded into the woodwork or into a grave. I am always pleasantly surprised to see and hear that they have gone on to lead productive lives for the most part, day to day living just like the rest of us. Some just sit around and spend all the money they have made, and others have kind of taken some detours in life through addictions or bad health. However you are quite correct in that life goes on even if no one knows about it.

Linda's World said...

Interesting entry....what ever happened to Alfred E Neuman? Remember him? 45* here tonight~it's colder than that in Florida. Linda in Washington's Bananna Belt

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

The key is to have friends that notice.

Lori said...

How great! Loved this entry!

Janice said...

This entry made my heart happy and put a big smile on my face.

Rose~* said...

Your entry brought back memories. Now that we have the internet, one of my fascinations is looking up the stars of yesterday and seeing what they are up to. I even found some music that I had listened to when I was a very young girl. Someone had posted it on their blog and I was overjoyed to hear it again. Amazing, this technology we have today ~*