After the Communists expelled my family from Hungary in 1949 we became Stateless Aliens and nobody wanted us.
My Parents settled in Paris temporarily so they were issued French Residence Cards with which to travel. My maternal Grandmother lived in Lausanne so she had Swiss papers, and my sister and I – both of us studying in England – possessed Identity Cards issued by His British Majesty’s Home Office.
You can imagine what we had to endure whenever we got together at vacation-time and attempted to cross a border – in post war-Europe – as a family composed of members “resident” in at least four different nations simultaneously – a bureaucratic nightmare for border guards and customs officers.
Nor was it easy for us either to put up with this chaotic situation. It forced each one of us to find a hobby – nay, a passion – that afforded at least a modest emotional stability.
I chose music.
But I was never in one place long enough to learn to play a musical instrument properly. So I began to “collect” music – the more eclectic the better – AND MUSICIANS.
Allow me to illustrate.
1. Sydney Bechet. American Soprano Saxophonist. I met him in Cap d’Antibes in 1949.
2. Omara Portuondo. Cuban Singer. I met her in Cuba in 1964.
3. Bebo Valdes. Cuban Pianist and Diego El Cigala Spanish Flamenco Singer. I met Bebo Valdes in Miami in 1978, and El Cigala in Montreal in 2015.
4. Katica Illenyi. Hungarian Violinist and Theremin player. (The Theremin is a musical instrument that is played without touching it!) I tried but I have never managed to meet Katica yet.
As for music now, as a member of the monthly Columbia Record Club for many, many years, I ended up with over seven hundred long playing Jazz records which I still have but to which I very seldom listen. Apple Music is easier to handle.
SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI.