January 6, 2017
Do you remember, in my Christmas entry, that I said Mathew appears to have published one of my essays, under the single initial, "P."--but that Steve couldn't prove that it was a pseudonym Mathew was using? And that he felt I was certain enough, that I wanted him to go ahead and share the essay with you, anyway? And, last entry I talked about faith, and signs. Now I'm going to show you how I work with Steve. This, you might put under the category of "cosmic nagging." Ladies, pay attention! This is how it's done...and Steve is grateful! Do you want your man to be grateful for your nagging? Watch and learn...(but then, you might have to die for him to really appreciate even the nagging, which we don't want you to do).
So (I am trying to be modern, so I must start the sentence with "So," so that young people can relate to this journal. "Just so." Or, "So, just so.")
Anyway, I kept bugging Steve, putting the idea into his subconscious mind, that since we seemed to be finished with incorporating all the new discoveries into the book, he might want to stave off restless boredom (which tends to set in when he has no more work to do on it), by creating an inventory list of all the stray items he has purchased online over the past several years. These are individual editions of old newspapers, engravings, and so-on, and they are all stored in one box. He "took up" the idea, and started on it this morning--but as he went through each of the old editions carefully, he realized there were things he had missed. And one of the things he had missed, was a letter to another paper's editor, during roughly the same period, 1846, signed with this same initial, "P."
Now, Steve knew that Mathew had submitted frequently to this other newspaper; and also that he would write under variations of his initials, i.e., "M." (for "Mathew"), "F." (for "Franklin," his middle name), and so-on. But he had never thought to look for "P.," before. Long story short, as he typed the letter, he could see that it was definitely Mathew writing. No question. So now, the "P."-signed pieces in the first newspaper, which Mathew also contributed to heavily, were almost certainly his, as well. The "P." was ambiguous enough that it could cover both of us--it could stand for "Poins," another of his early pseudonyms, or it could stand for my last name, "Poyen," or both, together.
So through my subconscious nagging, you see, I helped him prove, to a pretty high degree, that the "P."-signed essay was, in fact, my writing. Case closed.
What's the matter, you don't believe us? "Oh ye of little faith!" Well, you would have to read dozens of Mathew's letters--both private, and published letters to the editor--in order to see that this was his voice. And remember, Steve knows his own intuitively, as well. But let's take a peek at this letter signed "P." It's a good opportunity to give you all an idea of how funny he was. Mathew, you see, always felt that he had a very good deal, having married a musician. But I had married a comedian, so I felt I had come out alright, too!
I would get this all day long--he kept me in stitches! I was the serious one. Don't get me wrong, I had a sense of humor--Mathew said it was razor-sharp--but I was just kept entertained by him all the time. Keep in mind how naughty the comment about the young married couple would be, in the mid-1800's. In case you missed it, Mathew broadly hints they slept together first, were caught, and were obliged to marry on-the-spot! It could get embarrassing with Mathew in public, as he was just a bit immature--but then, I tended to be too mature, so we balanced each other out nicely. Secretly, I felt jealous when he would share his dear humor with others--thinking of it as something intimate we shared just in our marriage--but I have gotten over that, now, because I can see his mind as he jokes with others, today. I can see it is actually nothing at all like when he jokes with me, inside. I only imagined that he gave everyone else what he was giving me. But, I digress.
I said Mathew enjoyed my music...as Steve practices sight-reading from the book I used to practice from, which magically appeared on Ebay a few months ago :-), he recognizes the ones I used to play. And he confirmed one of them in the history. I used to play piano for the mid-week practices of the Portland Sacred Music Society, and this is the book I would borrow from their library to practice from, at home (the rules for checking it out are pasted in the book). One of the songs was "Come, Gentle Spring," by Haydn (we will say "by" him). You can see the full choral version of that song here:
Steve found evidence that the Society had performed Haydn's "Seasons" several times over the years; and of course they would perform those pieces found in their book, so it is a "no brainer" that they performed this one. And since I am also a "no-brainer," it must be true! (Forgive me for repeating a joke--Steve felt I wanted to, for anyone who may have missed it.)
What Steve seems to remember, first of all, is me playing the piano in our own house. There was a time when Mathew was a business owner in Portland, and we were doing fairly well. Then we fell on hard times, had to move to a tiny place, but brought the piano along, so that we had this tiny room, the walls covered in wool blankets and rugs and tapestry to keep us warm, and this piano taking up about a third of it, against one wall. But Steve remembers that so long as I played for him, he remained in heaven whether he was in a big house, or a small room! And he still can feel poignant, strong reminders of what he would feel when I would play each piece.
This one, "Come, Gentle Spring," he thought was a bit girlish and trite. This was one of those rare instances where we disagreed--I thought it was beautifully expressive of the meaning of Spring, and he thought it was "la-de-da." Now, he sees it as I saw it--and this is partly because my mind and heart are actually with him, in "real time," as he attempts to play it. So here, he has (or will, actually) record the first page, which he has learned more-or-less to play. He admits he doesn't have the nuance that I had when I played it, or the joy I transmitted through the keys directly to his heart. But it will give you some idea. This, of course, is played from the same book. He remembers certain phrases--the emotion comes flooding back, exactly as he felt it then. Isn't that odd how memory works?
Here is Steve's rather hasty effort on his lunch break... He recalls that we both used to especially like the very last few ascending notes.
Incidentally, you may not think that "Spring" is sacred--but in the 19th century, many of us still did, as Nature was God's direct hand in the world.
Speaking of Nature, there is more that Steve found about me and "stars"; but perhaps we will save that for another entry.
Love to each and all,