November 9, 2010

Philip G. Hodge AKA the Opera Nut AKA Grampa was born 90 years ago today, and plans to live forever, or die trying.

He is currently in the third phase of his life, and enjoys opera and various other things.


Happy 90th birthday to Dad / Grampa. This is your blog, for posting opera reviews, stories, pictures, and anything and everything else you want to share with us or with the world.

This gift comes with unlimited technical support from the three of us.

Love, Aaron, Lisa & Bill


comment by grampa          2010/11/09 at 9:11 pm
I am reminded of an Einstein story. He was being awarded an honorary degree. At the appropriate moment he got up, received his scroll of paper, said, “thank you” and sat down. There was an uneasy silence, so he realized that something more was expected, so he rose again and said, “I see I’m expected to say something, but I really have nothing to say,” and sat down. Again silence. He got up once more to add, “But if I ever do have anything to say, I will be happy to come here and say it.”

Thank you all for a wonderful birthday party.

Grampa, etc.

further comment by grampa.                        .2011/01/01 through 2011/01/03 .               Disirregardless of the fact that my initial response to this wonderful gift was one of stunned dismay (“Thanks a lot but did I need something else to do?”),  it took me less than 24 hours to realize that I had a lot to say – or rather that I had already written a lot of words and here was a wonderful opportunity to reread them and to make them available in case anyone else wanted to read them.  My dream is that another 90 years from now my great-great-great-grandchild will come across this blog (in whatever form information is being stored then) and think, “Wow!  So that’s what things were like back in historical times .”

Here is what I have in mind.  In broad terms, my  life has had three phases: single (1920-42), married (1943-2008), and widower (2008–).  For the most part, writings from the first and last phases are included in the items “Prologue” and “90 and Still Writing,” respectively,  in the menu across the top of the page.  All items in between are from the married phase.

In 1988 I had collected various writings of Thea and myself and had reproduced them in the form of two ring-bound volumes all written during the period 1942 – 1960.  These volumes were sent to various family members.  Lisa and I still have our copies; I don’t know if any others exist.  These volumes are the content of sections “Our Life Together” and “The Seaman” .

Starting in 1970 I wrote an annual “Groundhog Day” letter which I sent to family and a long list of friends.  I  have the originals or a copy of most of them – they will form the section “Groundhog Day Letters”.

In 1993 we had a wonderful Golden Wedding Anniversary at which we were given a fabulous patchwork quilt.  51 squares, one for each year, with unbelievable pictorial detail (a birthday cake with 100 (count ’em) candles).  Our son Phil had organized it and planned the arrangement of the squares, his wife Margie had done every stitch of the sewing, and Sue, Lisa, and their spouses had all contributed ideas, pictures, etc.  Then, ten years later all of our family had come together for our 60th anniversary at which the quilt had been hung up and featured.  Our granddaughter April took scads of pictures of the quilt and created a wonderful website showing the entire quilt with 51 links to pages showing an enlarged picture of each square along with descriptive comments.  Those 52 pages were an obvious choice for the “Quilt” section to start things off.

Intentionally not present in the Blog is any mention of my professional writing.  I am the author or co-author of 5 commercially published books, over a dozen survey papers, and over a hundred original research papers published in referred Journals, none of which has any place in this, my personal blog.

A word about editing.  Original files for the Quilt, the last few Groundhog letters, and most of the material in Phase 3 are all available in files in one or more of our computers.  Putting them into the blog was “simply” a matter of applying appropriate software.  You’ll have to ask April or Lisa if you want more info on this topic.

Everything else has been transcribed from hard-copy records made at or near the date associated with them.  Most of the “originals” were hand-written in pen or pencil,  but many of the letters were 5th-carbon copies typed on my muscle-powered laptop Remington typewriter.  Lisa and I proof-read all newly typed material to catch any typos, but not to change any mis-spellings or questionable grammatical configurations.  Our goal has been to make the material in the blog letter-by-letter the same as the material in the original.   If we were totally unable to decipher something in the original we have inserted […] in place of a single missing word or […  …] in place of more than one missing word.  If we could make a not-unreasonable guess, we have written the guessed word or words in [brackets?] with a question mark. (Actually we’ve ended up correcting grammar and typos here and there as well. – ed.)

We have not been as fussy about the formatting, except in cases where it was essential to the meaning of the narrative.  Also, we have introduced subsections for convenience in entering the material and in reading it.

One more point.  There is obvious overlap in time between the various chapters in phase 2 – and possibly some between the three phases.  All entries have original dates attached so an interested reader can easily check different chapters for possible different slants on the events from a given year.  No indication of a cross-reference has been inserted in any of the original writing, but the Quilt allows for the addition of currently dated comments which may sometimes include a quote from an original source, with or without credit.  Also, some of the entries in the 90 and Still Writing section may have had such quotations in their original composition.

The whole thing is definitely a “Work in Progress”.  If you find it interesting, I hope that you will check back from time to time to see what has been added to the various sections.  Given the ambitious plans and the fact of my age, it is conceivable that it may never be complete.  In the event that I am unable to finish it, I hereby give my daughter Lisa complete authority to continue to add to it herself and/or to delegate that right to anyone else.

Read and enjoy – – Philip/Grampa/Opera Nut

Philip Hodge
Palo Alto, California
January 3  2011