WUMB December Program Guide

Dear Mike, Thanks Again For Your Encouragement and Inspiration 20 Years On.

I did not really think it would happen.  But today as I write this [on May 1st], I turn 20.  This is a neat trick at any age.  I should explain.  I turn 20 in Boston.  For years I imagined telling people, “I lived in Boston for nearly 20 years.”  But today it is 20 years on the dot.  And I am still here…often still trying to figure it out.

Naturally, the first thing I did when I got into town off the highway was get inexplicably lost.  4,000 miles from Southern California by highway with no problem; a mile or two off the highway in the Boston area and my head was spinning from burgeoning cluelessness.  But after some time and a somewhat embarrassed phone call to my cousin in the area (“can you direct me from Cavanaugh Square?”   “Uh, where’s Cavanaugh Square?”), I found my way to a street crossing I recognized.  Keeping calm at a blinking street light where I had to turn left, the car behind me immediately honked as I waited for room to turn.  The official welcome to Boston, of course!

Humorous as that is, it’s not what I came to write about.  A drive across the country was not something I expected of myself.  The whole notion of uprooting myself and driving across the country was the sort of thing my more adventurous friends would do.  Not me.  Wouldn’t you know it, one of the things that inspired me to embrace the idea was music.

A year before the move, I’d made two visits to Boston.  In the time between the second visit and the decision to go for it, my copy of Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road” showed up after being lost for a few years (come to think of it,  the book re-appeared while I was packing up the apartment).  And I found Mike Scott’s album Bring ‘Em All In engaging with my brain…encouraging me…almost guiding me on.

Mike Scott is the leader of The Waterboys.  This was Mike’s first proper solo album.  The album was inspired by his journey back home to Scotland – specifically the small spiritual community of Findhorn – after living briefly in the exciting energy of New York City.  It seems both moves were what he needed at the time.  Ironically, some of the songs on this album matched what was going on through my mind on a move the other way:  from a quiet small town in my native state to a major city a few thousand miles away.  A city whose history, heritage, and perceived energy I was craving.  From the early songs with more tentative sentiments to the triumphant confidence of the last two songs, the album seemed to practically answer questions in my head throughout the internal process – from wondering about making the move…to the excitement of deciding to go for it.

About ten years into the Boston journey, WUMB started to enter my life.  Four years later via an opportunity that had developed, it became official.  Allow me to do the math.  This month, I turn 6 at WUMB (hmm, I keep getting younger…).  So maybe next month I will come up with some special WUMB moments to share.  It will be interesting to see if we have some of the same ones.

Happy May,

~ Perry

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