Jun. 22, 2001

where we are (for edward field)

by Gerald Locklin

Friday, 22 June 2001
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Poem: "where we are (for edward field)," by Gerald Locklin.

where we are

i envy those
who live in two places:
new york, say, and london;
wales and spain;
l.a. and paris;
hawaii and switzerland.

there is always the anticipation
of the change, the chance that what is wrong
is the result of where you are. i have
always loved both the freshness of
arriving and the relief of leaving. with
two homes every move would be a homecoming.
i am not even considering the weather, hot
or cold, dry or wet: i am talking about hope.

It's the birthday of novelist Joanna Scott, born in Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1960. Her first novel was Fading, My Parmacheene Belle, in which she adopted the voice of an old backwoods fisherman who had just lost his wife of 53 years. She also wrote Arrogance, Make Believe, and The Closest Possible Union.

It's the birthday of Octavia Butler, born in Pasadena, California in 1947, one of the few African American writers in the field of science fiction. Many of her characters are powerful black women, and many of her books have been best-sellers, including Patternmaster, Adulthood Rites, and Parable of the Sower.

On this day in 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Serviceman's Readjustment Act, known as the G.I. Bill, which provided funds for American veterans to go to college. In 1946 and 1947, more than two and a half million former G.I.s were students in higher education.

It's the birthday of the theatrical producer and patron Joseph Papp, born in Brooklyn in 1921. He was the founder of the "public theater."

It's the birthday of author and aviator Anne Morrow Lindbergh, born in Englewood, New Jersey, in 1906. She was shy young woman who had trouble talking to her classmates and who would go off and write instead, saying that her writing was a delayed reaction to conversation. She graduated from Smith College and met and married the most famous man in the world, Charles Lindbergh. She wrote her first book about flying with him, called North to the Orient. Her book, Gift from the Sea, in 1955, was on the best-seller list for almost two years.

It's the birthday of the director and screenwriter Billy Wilder, born in Sucha, Austria, in 1906. He was a newspaper man, and also wrote scenes for dozens of silent films. He left Berlin in 1933 when it became clear that being a Jew would prevent him from getting more work in the German film industry. He ended up in Los Angeles, not speaking any English, and he began writing for films. He was teamed with Charles Brackett, who helped him write The Lost Weekend, and Sunset Boulevard. He eventually produced and directed dozens of films, including The Apartment, The Seven Year Itch, and Some Like It Hot. Billy Wilder said, "I just made pictures I would like to see."

It's the birthday of the war novelist Erich Maria Remarque, born in Osnabruck, Germany, in 1898. He was drafted into the German army when he was 18, served on the western front during World War I, and was wounded five times. After the war, he wrote his novel All Quiet on the Western Front, which sold three million copies in six weeks in 1929. It was translated into 45 languages. The book was banned in Germany, after the Nazis came to power, and his German citizenship was revoked. He came to the United States aboard the Queen Mary, and en route, World War II broke out in Europe.

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