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A Letter From Jonathan Schwartz: Adam and Casey

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

My son will be 27 in a week or so. He lives in the West with a girl named Kerri. Adam is reasonable, socially comfortable, generous, and wickedly funny. He was 12 when he told me, as I drove him downtown, that he wanted to be a comedian when he grew up. At that moment, an immaculate Rolls Royce stopped next to us at a red light. "And I want that car!" He continued, peering into its plush insides. Then quietly he said, "I guess nobody is THAT funny."

Adam's sister, from another marriage, is his insightful friend, his profound adviser, his most appreciative audience. They found their friendship in the desert when both were young (Casey 17 and Adam must have been 12 ) and began sharing a room in The Ocotillo Lodge, and eventually at The Tiki Spa, where, in both spots, I had set myself up as a novelist, a Hermes typewriter always stored away at a friend's house when I was gone. It's quite possible that as I write, they are texting or calling or Emailing or skyping or, God knows, skywriting. They are, in fact, the deepest sister-brother act I've ever seen.

It must be pointed out that now and then we speak in a conference call, during which I am jerked around, my deficiencies elaborated, my very presence on the phone questioned (even though one of them had suggested it) and finally a condescending (if friendly) cut-off of what both Casey and Adam call "the father figure." I must tell you that their father invented the terminology.

The reason for all of this is, of course, Adam's birthday, for which Casey will fly across the country to include herself in the merriment. As well, it is to tell you that Adam has discovered the 33- and- a- third vinyl album. "This week-end I'm going to the Amoeba. Do you know about it Dad?"

"Yes, I know about it. At any given moment they have at least a half a million vinyls. If the Amoeba record store warmly returned all the money I've given them through the years, I'd receive in the neighborhood of ten thousand dollars. And if the long gone Tower Records on Sunset Drive, (across the street from the essential Book Soup) was taken into consideration, I'd have, right now, close to fifteen thousand smackeroos. Do I know the Amoeba or what!"  With its ironic name above its cathedral self.

On the phone (God knows if Casey was listening somewhere) I told Adam that what was left of a three thousand album collection that he grew up around, would be his. Maybe a hundred. Original Sinatras, original Beatles, Jefferson Airplanes, Fairport Conventions, Pentangles,
Paul Butterfield Blues Bands, Joni Mitchells, Allman Brothers, oh golly, more. The rest had been sold at the end of a marriage.

May I ask: what should Adam buy at the Amoeba? Any genre. I'll pass your suggestions along to both Adam and Casey. "Oh Daddy”, I can hear Casey say, "Nirvana isn't on this list, just for starters!"

For now, and only for now, "Good-bye, Adam, and happy birthday.  And when you speak to Casey, tell her hello from Daddy."
"I'm here, Daddy," my gleeful daughter pointed out.
"I didn't know that," I said.
"And you never will," they both said, as if they had rehearsed it.
   
Could it be?

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Comments [16]

Gloria from Katy, TX

Many years ago I would tape (on cassettes!) your show on wnew,to take on vacation, and on several two sweet little voices would say "Good morning" and introduce you. My children are adults now also, and are a blessing as well. Happy Birthday, Adam. You are a lucky man, Jonathan!

Jan. 14 2014 01:13 PM
Joe Lazzaro from Rockville Centre, NY

Computer down for a bit, but I'm up and running. Happy Birthday Adam! Jonathan, I often hear you speak well of the Allman Brothers, but I can't recall you playing them. Am I wrong?
Keep up the wonderful work.
Joe Lazzaro
Rockville Centre, NY

Jan. 11 2014 04:12 PM
David Federman from United States

Thanks to Sundays (and Saturdays, too) In The Park(ed Car) With Jonathan, I was rescued from the rock and roll gulag and restored to the dry, high land of the American musical mainland. A long overdue thanks and a pledge of meager support from a social security dependant fan.

Jan. 08 2014 09:11 AM
Edward Saslaw from New York.

As I have instructed you before, try anything by Regina Spektor. She is the bridge.

Yes, you introduced Pentangle to me a long, long time ago. Welcome to the evening, indeed.

Jan. 07 2014 10:33 PM
Melodie Kelmer from Newton, NJ

Hello Jonathan,
How lovely to read your letter about Casey and Adam. You have spoken about them so often through the years, and it's always such a pleasure to hear the pride in your voice for your daughter and son. They are lucky to have you and lucky to have the letter you posted, to keep and read to their own children one day.

I love The Jonathan Channel and listen to it whenever I can. The only thing is that for so many years I only heard you on Saturdays and Sundays that I forget that I can now listen seven days a week! Life is good :o)

Jan. 07 2014 08:57 PM
Diane and Jim Palma from Wantagh, NY


Dear Jonathan:
Thank you Jonathan for writing this "letter" about Adam and Casey. They sound like great "kids", and we always enjoy when you share your thoughts and passions with us. You have brought great music into our homes, Jonathan, and along with that music a great deal of joy and knowledge. We thank you for that.
Diane and Jim Palma

Jan. 07 2014 08:48 PM
Linda from New York

I remember when Casey was a guest on your show. Same phrasing, same inflections, so interesting, a joy to listen to as you are Jonathan. I loved that show, maybe he will visit again. Happy Birthday to Casey......may all his dreams come true!

Jan. 07 2014 08:15 PM
Lissa Block from Charleston, SC

Happy Birthday Adam! It feels as though we have been with Adam and Casey as they have grown up and moved into their adulthood. So thank you Jonathan for sharing these moments of parenting. Our relationships with our adults kids are precious and being able to relate our experiences is soooo cool.

Jan. 07 2014 07:56 PM
Kimberly Torchy from Mtns of NC (formerly NJ)

What a delightful email to receive! Obviously, "Father Figure", you've done well raising your children! A sense of humor, intelligence, love and appreciation of family, desire to spend time with your family - these are values to build a true, well-lived life upon. I do hope your son has a chance to pursue his dream of comedy (unless that dream has changed over the years) and if so, please keep your devoted, appreciative listeners informed. I'm being bold and speaking for a group I don't know personally but I'm pretty darn sure most of your listeners get much pleasure out of your anecdotes, opinions and reminiscences. Happy, blessed New Year to you and yours!

Jan. 07 2014 06:59 PM
Bobby from CT

My recommendations

Phil and Don's greatest hits

Pet sounds

The Ventures Live in Japan

Jeffry Foskett

Scott Bennet

Jan. 07 2014 06:55 PM
don gunn from Laguna Woods, California

I have to tell you having ridden horses for 50 years, I had one excellent experience and a terrible one(years later) at Smoketree Stables. On the excellent ride with a friend, the guide saw that we were experienced and let us gallop away from the group from time to time. That was nice. The last time, I was alone and out by myself with a guide. When I asked when we were going to do more than walk he told me that the rangers didn't allow anything but walking. I then opted to return to the stable. He finally said I could trot and lope, but I told him I was not going to break any laws set up by the rangers, returned to the stable, wrote a letter requesting a refund, and actually received one! Having ridden in the Andes, Provence, Hungary, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Cape Cod, Chicago and California I found it bad business not to tell the rider the rules of the stable and then to encourage him to break them. Never again. I did get to ride in Ireland in October and that was fantastic.

Jan. 07 2014 06:33 PM
Annette Spallino from Westfield,NJ

Fairport Convention and Pentangle...why I would never have guessed!! Thank-you Jonathan for being a part of my week, every week. Bring on the stories.

Jan. 07 2014 06:32 PM
Edith from Long Island

Every parent's dream to have the family stick together and actually enjoy one another. I'm still waiting for my dream to come through. God knows I've done everything in my heart to have it happen……. Congratulations to yours and of course to you as always. I dido the great appreciation to have you have your own channel. It is always a treat to listen to you and the music you select.

Jan. 07 2014 06:28 PM
Jane Campbell from Manhattan

Why I'd care abt this letter from "Jonnie Schwartz" as I am wont to call him as I listen or anticipate listening: entitled to call him such, as I see it, because of my long long standing attention to a man whom u cannnot really call selfless, al least in saintlike terms, for he has no such pretense. He does hve, given his learning, life experience, & great love for his music (it becomes his music because of his great knowledge and love of it) great taste! He never says too much or too little; however, if you're a steady listener, from time to time, he'll tell you what
really matters to him. His brand of sainthood is humility... about what he says, what he plays, and what he feels, but mostly what he does not say, but what u gather from long term exposure. You're never shoved in the face with his opinions (which may be his right, given his work ethic) but gentle and ever so aesthetictically, except, and only perhaps, when it comes to baseball.

Of course, I wud care abt his kids! Look what he's given me time after time after time!
Can u imagine how I felt on Nov 1, 2013 when he became "The Jonathan Channel. org! Goodness gracious, he DESERVES it!"

Jan. 07 2014 06:18 PM
Peter Schweitzer from New York City

At least both your children love the Red Sox Father Figure...Wait til Adam discovers BOB&RAY..hehehe!!! STay well my friend...Peter Schweitzer

Jan. 07 2014 06:17 PM
Charles Guariglia from Middletown NJ

Two Darin Albums:
That's All
This is Darin

It bespeaks the early 60's- before the mishigas.

Jan. 07 2014 05:41 PM

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The sounds of Frank Sinatra, Nelson Riddle, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday and other masters of the American songbook can be heard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in the world.

“The Jonathan Channel” provides an unparalleled showcase for this timeless music, presented by its strongest advocate, Jonathan Schwartz, in his intimate, insightful, and utterly original approach that combines impeccable taste with countless personal tales, colorful anecdotes and encyclopedic knowledge

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