Everywhere I go I find a pal
Peter Weinschenk, Editor, The Record-Review
The Old World showed up at my house on Thursday.
What I received were two bronze statues that my Jewish grandparents brought with them to the United States while fleeing Hitler as residents of Mainz, Germany, in 1936.
The bronzes weighed eight pounds apiece. They came in individual U.S. Postal Service flat rate boxes that I had to sign for at the Edgar Post Office.
The bronzes, while attractive, are great examples of mediocre art. One bronze is a feline playing with a ball. A second is a female nude.
They are old, but feel at home in our house which was built in 1917.
I received the bronzes after they were scooped up from my father’s home by my siblings after his passing in 2018.
These pieces of family treasure now are part of my collection of stuff.
The bronzes mean so much to me. They represent the flower of Jewish cultural and intellectual life in Europe before the Holocaust. Mainz had been a Jewish cultural center for centuries. Hitler obliterated it and it has not ever recovered.
The bronzes sit quietly on my television cabinet next to a candelabra.
They speak silently, however, of a cataclysmic 20th century, a horrifying and bloody history of genocide, World War and a Jewish diaspora out of Europe to the far corners of the globe.
There is much to ponder in these bronzes. Could my grandparents, Jacob and Hedwig, could ever imagined while sitting in their parlor in Mainz during the 1920’s that these two recently purchased bronzes would in one hundred tumultuous years wind up in a living room in Edgar, WI? Could they ever have imagined the intervening tragic twists and turns of history?
I am happy to have these 16 pounds of forgettable parlor-room sculpture.
The bronzes tell an amazing, important and, in the end, inspiring story.
I am not that good at perfection.
That’s why I blanched at the instruction in my guitar-building guide that I needed to “perfectly mate” my archtop guitar bridge to the top of my guitar.
Perfect is a tough thing to achieve.
Yet, after a full day out in my woodworking shop, I think I nailed the task. The bridge fits solidly across the arched crown of my guitar’s spruce soundboard. You can stick a light up against the bridge. There are no gaps to be seen.
Perfection takes a step-by-step process. I made a pattern of the guitar top profile out of plywood and used it as a guide to route out the bottom of my ebony bridge. Little shavings of the dark brown wood floated in the air.
Next, I painstakingly sanded the bridge bottom. I taped sandpaper to my guitar top and sanded out the rough spots. Equal pressure on the bridge did not work. I had to slightly curl the bridge and, at times, apply greater pressure on one side of the bridge and then the next so that the bridge was cleaned up on both ends at the same time.
Luckily, things all came together.
I am jazzed. My guitar gets closer and closer to completion.