Anthea Kreston’s diary:
Since last writing, we have played Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, Carnegie and Cincinnati. It is exhausting but exhilarating – this tour is very social for me – between family, old friends, and this new, energized Slipped Disc family, which shows up at every concert. Last night, people had driven five hours to come hear the Quartet and talk about Slipped Disc. And, more and more readers are writing in, wanting to start physical book clubs in a variety of locations. Please write if you want to participate in or organize your own club!
What an exciting thing to feel the passion of the readers, to be able to speak to you all – you are engaged, thoughtful, filled with interesting observations. One couple who drove from Chicago mentioned that now they look at Quartets differently – and then proceeded to give me a detailed run-down of all the Quartets they had recently seen, contrasting democratic or more old-school approach, differences in set-ups, reports on new members and their adjustments. They said going to Quartet concerts now is much more engaging, that they think of all the different personal and organizational aspects. What fun.
I am also so happy to be back in my mother tongue. Naturally, when speaking English in Germany, I have been simplifying my language, keeping to basic grammar and vocabulary, or hacking mercilessly at my terrible German. As I sidled up to the check-in yesterday, saying “howdy-there”, and “okey-dokey” and even, “yes, I am one-nighting-it”, chatting with the drivers, waitresses, shoe-polisher, I feel a freedom of mind and expression, not having to measure my words.
Today, as we were driven to the airport by a blazer-wearing older gentleman, we got into the inevitable American conversation. The story of our family histories, the emigrations, the settling and eventual spreading out as the next generations grow. Our driver has a Portuguese mother, and Croatian and German grandparents. He spoke about them settling from Croatia to a teeny town in Northern Wisconsin, where his family ran a rooming house (just a large room above their kitchen and living space that they lined with hand-made bunk beds) for lumberjacks. Our driver was in charge of the chickens and ducks as a child, siblings tended the root-vegetable garden, and grandma fed everyone – the top of a large barrel of pickled cabbage was held down by stones in the basement, and he demonstrated, with arms flying above his head, her method of de-feathering a chicken.
I love the easy laughs, the willingness to dive into any topic, the optimism and eagerness of America. And yet, this trip, I am increasingly thankful for all of the things that our adopted country of Germany has afforded us, from the education of our children to incredible social services and a never-ending wealth of beauty and history. Next stop Texas – bring it on!