Sunday, July 17, 2005

Mother Tells Plight of Self and Sandy

July 17, 1947
Los Angeles

On July 7, a pretty blonde woman came to the home of Mrs. Marie J. Crow, 344 W. 82nd Street, to inquire about the classified ad she’d posted, offering a room for a mother and a child. With her was a little girl, around 4 ½ years of age. Mrs. Crow explained that the room had been rented, but she agreed to care for and board the child for $15 a week.

The blonde eagerly accepted the offer. She introduced herself as Toni, and explained that she and her daughter Sandy had just come from Seattle, that she was a cocktail waitress, separated from her husband, and that she had sold her house to finance an operation for the child, who was born blind but could now see. And if Mrs. Crow would just keep an eye on Sandy, she’d just go down to the post office and get some money…

And of course that was the last Mrs. Crow saw of Sandy’s mother. After a week, she phoned police, and Sandy was taken to Juvenile Hall as an abandoned child. A story in the Times about the little girl’s plight quickly rousted the errant mother, Mrs. Iona (Toni) DuBose, 30. She told reporters that she was broke and had no friends in Los Angeles, that Sandy was hungry, and she couldn’t stand to see the child suffer.

She’d come to town looking for her estranged husband, a barman by the name of James (Slim) DuBose, in hopes that he would pony up some cash for Sandy’s eye treatments—astigmatism had made her blind from birth until an operation last fall. Since leaving Mrs. Crow’s house, Toni had found a bar girl’s gig at a cafĂ© on Main Street, and had rented a hotel room.

After interviewing the mother, Juvenile Officer Alice Owen said, “This woman needs help more than punishment,” and declined to file charges. The case is being turned over to County Probation for hearing and disposition.

Suggested reading: Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls : True Stories of Castaways and Other Survivors by Edward E. Leslie

1 comment:

Larry said...

By mid-July, Arnold Schoenberg was hard at work on a composition he had conceived several months earlier, when choreographer Corinne Chochem sent him details on a song for a potential commission.

Although the price was too high for Chochem, Schoenberg remained focused on the idea of a work of up to nine minutes for a speaker, orchestra and chorus, saying: “I plan to make it this scene—which you described—in the Warsaw ghetto, how the doomed Jews started singing before going to die.”

In early July, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation offered him a commission, which allowed him to complete the work. Writing his own text, he began:

“I cannot remember ev’rything
I must have been unconscious most of the time.
I remember only the grandiose moment
when they all started to sing as if prearranged,
the old prayer they had neglected for so many years
the forgotten creed!

“But I have no recollection how I got underground to live in the sewers of Warsaw for so long a time.”

Schoenberg finished his Op. 46, “Survivor From Warsaw,” in September 1947. According to a biography, at its premiere by the Albuquerque Civic Symphony in November 1948, “The work… was performed twice. After the first time the audience of 1,500 sat in astonished silence; after the second the applause was stormy.”

While the work remains one of Schoenberg’s most powerful, evocative works, “Survivor of Warsaw” was not mentioned in his Times obituary after he died July 14, 1951, at his home, 116 N. Rockingham Road in Brentwood (yes, just a few blocks from O.J. Simpson).

Shortly before the work’s premiere, he wrote of using “Shema Yisroel” at the end of the piece: “The miracle is, to me, that all these people who might have forgotten, for years, that they are Jews, suddenly facing death, remember who they are.”

Note: The Los Angeles Philharmonic first performed “Survivor From Warsaw” under Zubin Mehta on Nov. 7, 1968, with Edward G. Robinson as the speaker.

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