The Blue Note, 1901 W. Armitage: It was an amazing coincidence! We had just come from a dinner party where we ate sweet-potato empanadas and fortune cookies served by an artist who is packing up all the Italian lights, votive candles, and tulle petticoats she can fit into her 1960 Buick Electra and moving to Memphis to live with a country-western singer because, only weeks before, she fell in love. Her friends are shocked by her sudden action. She claims it makes absolute sense as he is her precise counterpart–he has a 1965 Mercury Marauder and his apartment looks exactly like hers. And he invented a game called “Psycho Coffee Shop” which they will play forever, plus they can’t go on talking for four hours long distance every night. Anyway, after getting our fill of her favorite album, Herb Alpert’s Going Places, we adjourned to the newly opened late night Blue Note, which has a jazzy jukebox and a bar made of glass blocks filled with blue light. We instinctively sat down next to a blues musician of German-Mexican extraction who also happens to be packing up everything he can carry–in this case a harmonica–and moving to Krakow because he, too, has fallen in love.

“I fell in love with the whole city. She was behind the bar. I’ll never forget her skin . . . ” Heightening this moment of Jungian synchronicity–a meaningful coincidence of noncausally connected events activated by archetypes in the unconscious–a man sat down at the bar who was from Amsterdam and told us that he, too, had suddenly packed up to move to the States, but he did it for money so we turned our attention back to the harmonica player.

As we listened to Blossom Dearie on the jukebox–we chose her because of her bebop eyeglasses in the photograph on the CD cover–we browsed through the harmonica player’s how-to-teach-English-in-Poland book, Rozmowki Amerykanskie dla Polakow, and told him in Polish, “I want a cantaloupe.” He told us that he is definitely not going to wear red shoes the next time he’s in Krakow. They are not popular. He also will not dance again with “this fat woman who insisted on doing the tango and she wanted to dip. She fell down and I fell down on top of her. It happened twice. When we got back up, I said we gotta stop doing this.” He said he is going back to find the girl with the velvet skin.

Later it dawned on us that we wanted to pack up everything and move away for love too but we didn’t know where to go. A friend said we could go stay with his parents Charlotte and Elliott Kaminsky in Cleveland. We thanked him for the suggestion and went instead to Tower Records and bought a CD of Blossom Dearie, who one day in the 50s, by the way, packed up and took off for Paris from New York. Though she did it for art, it turned out that she met a Belgian saxophone player and fell in love.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Tom Bachtell.