James Earl Jones was talented at an early age
I am really pleased that James Earl Jones has recieved the Screen Actors Guild honors. Our friendship goes back to 1961 when he was acting in Jean Genet's "The Blacks" off-Broadway at the St. Mark's Playhouse. It was surely the finest all-black cast ever assembled. In addition to James, it included Maya Angelou, Roscoe Lee Browne, Louis Gossett, Cicely Tyson, Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques.
James had done summer stock (listed as "Todd" Jones) with some friends of mine from Columbia as well as with one Natalie Ross, another friend who was doing "Come Blow Your Horn" with Hal March on Broadway. She invited me to go see "The Blacks" and introduced me to James and the rest of the cast.
I later shared a dressing room with Robert Earl Jones, James' Father, when we were doing two Pinter plays off-Broadway. During the summer of 1965, the producers gave a party for Frances Sternhagen, who was leaving the plays. James, who was doing "Othello" at the Martinique Theatre at the time, attended the party, which happened to be on his 34th birthday, so we celebrated both.
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The last time I saw Robert Earl Jones, who died at 96 in 2006, was in 1968 when I was on my wedding trip. My bride and I were driving on 57th Street and saw Robert and picked him up. I spoke with Robert Earl by phone several times a year during his last days.
Americans should keep their money at home
If this new economy depends on American business, then we all should pitch in. "Buy American" was the slogan adopted by Sam Walton to promote his Wal-Mart empire. Google it! What happened? Sam died, greed moved in. There are large companies that purchase "outsourced" products. We buy them because the small man can't compete.
If you can't find it made here, try making it yourself. The Amish have been least affected by this economy. We lead the word in information, yet we are not supplying our basic needs, food shelter and clothing.
This area was built by proud Americans who were not ashamed to make cloth. The Catawba Nation produced great pottery, for food and clothing. Shelter was built by craftsmen who walked tall. When did it become unfashionable to work with your hands? If you run a loom or repair cars, by all means manage it through your PDA or laptop. But make something!
When we buy products outside of our borders, the money stays in the place of production. Think of the fuel savings of crossing the Ocean compared to crossing the Broad River. The largest 2008 employer story for York County was a company whose product was foreclosure related. What does that say for American productivity?
Cut off the TV or computer and clear out a spot in your house or shop. Make something and sell it to your friends. They, in turn, can make something and sell it to their friends. Try keeping up with that money chain. The money won't leave York County. I bet it will grow.
When the train track builders hit a hill of rock, an interesting thing happened. Some gave up, and some started businesses. The money materialized through making products and services around that Rock Hill. The more things they made, the more money showed up. It bought food, clothing and shelter.
Global enterprises will purchase the best. If we produce it, then the money stays here.
America will get things right again
The Jan. 29 Voice of the People featured a letter, "What do people see in Obama?" in which the author expressed perplexity, consternation, dire prophesies and unabashed loathsomeness toward our new president and all those "libs" in control in Washington. "How can anyone be so afraid?" I asked myself. Moved by such obvious fear, I offer my most sincere condolences. Never before have I (age 67) seen such fright. Hey, Americans are not scaredy-cats.
Yes, Obama has the biggest mess to clean up since FDR took over from Hoover, but with hard work and prayer and luck and stuff, America will get things right again and be back up to snuff, as it always has. Desperate prognostications of doom by the foolish do no good, as they just may be the sorry, easy out of the sore loser.
Look forward, not backward
Why should we spend $20 on a book Andrew Dys wrote when all we have to do is pick up the paper daily and read him? The Herald should change its name to Andrew Dys Newspaper.
I think he should leave the 1961 issue with Friendship Nine alone. My mom used to say, the more you stir it, the worse it stinks. It is in the past, leave it in the past. Let's move forward, not backward.