Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
Buy a signed copy of the book!
a signed
copy of the
Get a 17 page
excerpt when you
join our mailing list!

Follow me on
Follow Jeanne Simonoff on TwitterFollow Jeanne Simonoff on Facebook
A Jewish Childhood - Fete de la Musique, Happy Summer Solstice
Sunday, 07 July 2013 10:39

I wake up.

One stanza, note upon note.

Fete de la Musique.

Here it is again, one of my favorite times in Paris, music alive in the streets, public places day and night, this on one day of the year. What a joyous gift.


Luxembourg Gardens, another year.

The sky is again threatening rain.

I see a whole section of children off to my left in those wonderful dulled green, almost a sage green, the chairs marked SENAT. They sit ready to be mesmerized by the song. I see their feet start to move. Some of them are not tall enough for their feet to touch the ground, the pebbles. Next year they will. Next year I will again take my seat here.

I find my way here every summer solstice. The sun returned for the longest time, a front row seat. No. I will miss nothing. My time my choice.

While rehearsing, I spoke with Guelle Marie, one of the performers. I thank her for her songs. She hands me a flyer that tells about her CD. "Too bad you don't understand more French. There's jokes in my performance." I think to myself, oh well tant pis.

Flutes, a French horn, a sax walks across the stage. The concert will begin

The small children pick up a hand full of stones. They fall through fingers, thumb to pointer poised for just a second and then a toss up onto the stage. Here in Paris they call it the kiosk. Back home we call it the bandstand.

The Gardens have been inhabited by hundreds of people. They wait for the music. I wait for these days to return, to step into their skin, to feel a body free of pain. Sometimes I think the dead weep. I am not among them. What started out as 30 has now reached at least 200. It's 14:35. Five more minutes then as long as rain stays away it begins. Fete de la Musique.

I look at my notes as I write this. Top of page: Yorkshire Terrier, Whippit. My last Blog is usually the dogs of Paris.

Four hours of music in the Gardens. Afterwards, my friend Sherry meets me. We have a decaf and catch up. The music has stopped. The large moving trucks are pulling up to take what needs to be removed. The posters for the fete are still flanking two sides of the bandstand. We go for Amerino Gelato. Sherry is going to head back to her friends outside of Versailles. I will continue over to Yaki for my sushi, Maki California, Sushi salmon and perhaps I will even throw in a sundae or a decaf.

Back out on the street, I hear riffs of Jim Morrison and see the same tall skinny guy whose band occupied the space across the street on rue Gay Lussac. I dance for about 30 minutes and head up the street to my apartment. Next door there is a small tent and more chairs placed out and I know that again this year I will be serenaded at least until 1am by the band and vocalists who were also there last year. I want another decaf but it is too smoky out there. The law is that you can't smoke inside public places but outside anything goes.

I go back upstairs to see who is on Skype, and talk with Pat, see Alice B. and Tango, talk with Martha in Silver City and do some writing.

The glorious first day of summer ends for me at 1am. It finishes with a few pages from THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ALICE B. TOKLAS and so I drift off to dreamland and not one drop of rain.

Thanks for indulging me and sharing my memories from the city of light on this glorious first day of summer 2013. Thanks for reading this Jewish Childhood Blog. Just know that I am just a web site away at