James Brown and Studio 54

It was what it was, and I had no idea what Studio 54 was at the time. Nor did I know about the joy for so many others of being put on the short list of who gets in. While in rock and roll radio, I was on everyone’s list, and it was just business as usual. I was in New York City, attending The New Music Seminar, with Jose, my partner in life. It was held at the “just opened” Marriott Marquis in Time Square. At the end of this workday, break dancers had preformed, and I thought to myself, “Boy, would I love to dance with them!”

I studied dance until I was well into my teens, including break dance moves… like the moon walk, people, in the very early 60s.

Then, we had to leave and go to dinner. As I was walking toward the exiting the turnstile, I realized I recognized the person about to enter the building. Having photographed everyone from Brian Adams to Tina Turner, Aerosmith to ZZ Top backstage et al, I wasn’t star stuck that it was James Brown about to give up his sectional to me. Still, our eyes locked, which gave me away as having recognized him. We passed each other, still locked in eye contact, and he threw out his classic “Huh,” in that usual guttural voice. I just laughed out loud and took my space in the turnstile.

Jose and I went off to dinner with record company reps, and then headed to Studio 54. There was a buzz about where we were headed, but what did I care? It was just business as usual.

When we arrived, there were the break dancers, again, ripping up the place. I was on fire wanting to dance now, and when the dance floor opened up, I threw myself into rythmic bliss. The same guy that inspired my thought of, “Boy, would I love to dance with them!” came right to me; there we were, dancing like fools… At the end of that dance and as the next hit came on, Jose said, “Let’s go,” and we left… leaving my dancing heart right on the dance floor. If I wasn’t crazy mad in love with Jose, he would have lost me that night. (It’s okay, if there wasn’t a night that he was crazy in love with me, too, – before this night in NYC – I could have lost Jose at the Cars debut concert in Boston.)

High School and Football

I had one of those moments as a senior in high school. I overhead some of the guys talking football. I had been keeping stats the entire season, glued to the NFL and the AFL, and checking the standing each Monday morning, in our local newspaper. Someone said something that was just wrong, so I corrected him. He shot back at me, “Oh, Clarke, what do you know about football?” I ripped through him with a five minute answer, stating all of the statistics, including who was in the lead and why, along with players for the year, then simply walked away. A few weeks later, when the team got their football charms for the year as the state champs, one of the guys offered his football to me. I respectfully declined. It was hockey and a hockey star that really had stolen my heart at that time, from an opposing school.

Teaching in the 60s

Once, very long ago and very far away, in a private school in Bangor, Maine. I had 100 students. One day, I was given a student who was deaf. I was also given a card with the alphabet, by another student, on the Friday before she arrived. That was the day I was told that on Monday, a deaf student would be arriving. I was really concerned. How was I going to teach “sternocleidomastoidius muscle of the neck” to a deaf student, I was thinking out loud? One of my student’s had a deaf family member, so she had an extra card. On Monday, when Patty arrived, I signed “hi” to her. We spent the next three days just learning sign… The 100 students and I were all signing, and Patty was beaming… She was integrated. I left the school before Patty did. She signed to me, “You are the best teacher I have ever had.” She was the best lesson I ever had. I can still teach it pretty quickly to anyone.

Watching the ice on Allen Pond go out

Writing to Liudas Guzas on Facebook, when inspired by this photo called “Waiting:”

“Once, when I lived on a lake, I, too, waited. I was told that when the ice goes out, the lake sighs in a mournful way. So, I waited. And then it came… Thunk, thud. I ran to the lake, took off my shoes and socks and waded in, to be the first visitor of the season. I got to my knees and said to myself, “Oh crap.” I turned and lumbered back to the shore. Once out of the frigid water, a burst of adrenalin coursed through my body; and I ran, and I ran, and I ran the long way home. I have no regrets and one solid, unlike the lake, memory. Thanks for playing along. It’s been wonderful, Liudas Guzas.”

Liudas Guzas: the lake sighs in a mournful way……….!!!!!!!! I know what it means ………..I have heard it…….. Thank you Jo Diaz for sharing wonderful memories smile emoticon

Jo Diaz: Very few of us have, Liudas Guzas. Very few of us have listened.


My friend Tracy Cervellone shared a foal being born and wrote: We see so many births with so much human assistance. This was so simple, unencumbered, beautiful. BTW, that foal is BIG.

Jo Diaz: It’s how all of nature does this, expect – with the exception of humans and many farmers. Honestly, I would have put my camera down, having had three daughters, and assisting at one of my daughter’s two separate water births. A little help from a friend does go a long way. Just watching that mother, knowing her stress, I would have lightened the burden. The baby’s legs are a pretty funny ending.

Tracy Cervellone: It’s as if humans have an instinctive need to reach out, help. I felt the same way. I have a sense this wasn’t this mare’s first rodeo, which would explain a lot. It’s a remarkable short piece.

Jo Diaz: It is, for how it works, a great video. And, yes, some of us have that nature. Yesterday I saw someone homeless, as I was headed into the grocery store. I couldn’t help myself. It was cold and raining. I bought some food, dog biscuits, and a little stuffed animal for his dog Lucy. Scott was amazed that Lucy didn’t just rip it up, per her usual. She just played with it while we talked. He was camped out in a corner, next to the store, “just trying to stay dry.” He had a radio plugged into an outlet and was just hanging out. A warm chicken from the rotisserie… I couldn’t help myself. His handshake was so warm I was really touched… Mostly at Lucy, though. Scott introduced us. Lucy and I looked into each other’s eyes for at least 15 seconds. I saw her love. Made my heart ache, but Scott is just an independent soul, not wanting to hurt anything. I’m happy that Lucy is helping him with his heart.

The Day I Comforted a Friend (from the 70s) Upon the Loss of Her Mother

Conni, The day my mom passed away, I remember thinking to myself, “There’s only one day in your life, when this happens.” So, like you, I had to find a flower to make me feel better. Yeah, so I drifted into my next door neighbor’s yard. No fence divided us in the front and it was suburbia, so it was easy to happen… And this was a new neighbor. He came out, only coincidentally, and there I was with his flower in my hand, looking really guilty. I was about six inches over the imaginary divide. We hadn’t met yet, so I said, “Today, my mother just died. I needed a flower to help me through it. I hope you don’t mind.” He just smiled and nodded. There’s only one day, and I know it well. #BraveHeart

Substitute Teacher

FUNNY MEMORY on the way to work: I was a substitute teacher for years… mostly middle school. That was a trip. I only had to get through the first day – barely. The next day, “Hello, my name is Mrs. Diaz and I’m the sub from HELL. Whatever your worst nightmare, double it!” Smooth sailing after that. (I had come from teaching adults for five years, so these kids weren’t going to get the best of me. They were going to get the BEST from me.) Thanks, Alissa Fehr Leenher for inspiring me on this one.