"Patti farewell"--Query

Mike Salovesh t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Sun Jan 2 09:54:33 UTC 2000

Others may have beaten me to the answer, but they couldn't know the
story that goes with it in this house.

The late Donn Hart, an anthropologist who did much of his research in
the Philippines, thought he would make a return gift to the people of
the island of Negros who had been so kind to him.  So he commissioned a
translation of a history of the island, written in Spanish in the 1880s
by a Basque priest who worked there.  This history wasn't available to
people on Negros because Spanish is no longer spoken there.

What he got back from the original translator was pretty crude, and
there were lots of unclear passages. Donn then passed the crude
translation to my wife for revision, editing, correction, and
footnoting. Naturally, I couldn't resist looking over her shoulder.
Eventually, I joined her in revising the translation and editing the
manuscript for the sheer fun of it.

A lot of what Donn Hart found obscure came from the normal workings of
Spanish colonial policy, and was directly parallel to things we knew
from our work in Mexico.  (During the Colonial epoch in Mexico, Spain
communicated with its colony in the Philippines by sending messengers
and envoys across the Atlantic to Veracruz, overland across Mexico to
the port of Acapulco, and thence across the Pacific.  The two colonies
were managed quite similarly, and were in close contact with each
other.)  We were used to the Spanish origins of much of what we knew in
the Mexican state of Chiapas.  Looking at a regional Philippines history
written from a Spanish viewpoint, it was easy for us to explain things
that people who worked in the Philippines years after the U.S.
occupation might not even recognize.

One puzzle Donn hadn't solved came in the description of a local fiesta.
According to the manuscript's description, part of the entertainment was
provided by a local singer who was "the Patti of the villages in that
zone". Donn thought it was the name of a local girl.  Peggy and I,
independently, instantly recognized that the reference had to be to
Adelina Patti.

Of course, it helped that we recognized what kind of a guy our author,
Father Echauz, was.  Although he doesn't say so directly, his writing
makes it clear that he had been exiled to the Philippines for his
political opinions and his worldly dedication to what passed for
sophistication.  His homesickness for his homeland, and his attempts to
show that he hadn't lost touch with the world of European culture, were
obvious subthemes throughout the book.

Peggy knew about Adelina Patti from some sheet music that used to reside
on a piano in her grandfather's house, which contained the note "As sung
by Adelina Patti".  I heard about her from MY grandfather, an opera buff
with a wind-up cabinet Victrola.  He bragged about having heard both
Patti and Galli-Curci, as well as Caruso, in person.  He might have
heard one of Patti's original farewell concerts before the turn of the
last century.

Once in a while there are advantages to being old enough to collect
Social Security.  Not often, mind you.  Sometimes the compensation for
age is that you remember from life what others missed as they dosed in
history class.

-- mike salovesh      <salovesh at niu.edu>        PEACE !!!

Gerald Cohen wrote:
>    I found a strange expression in a baseball column of the _ San Francisco
> Bulletin_ (April 2, 1913, p.19, col. 5):  "This is not Patti farewell." It
> is spoken by a retired umpire ("indicator man") who is insisting that his
> retirement is for real.  So the meaning of  "Patti farewell" seems to be "a
> false farewell."  ----But why Patti?  And  is anyone familiar this
> expression ?
>     Here is the context in the 1913 article:
>   'Jack Sheridan lent his modest presences to the opening session.  The
> veteran indicator man never misses a big occasion, but he is a man of such
> few words that only his intimate friends know that he is about.  Jack blew
> up from San Jose, which is his home, and will be the rest of his days.
> Jack declared unreservedly yesterday that he is through with baseball for
> all time.  ³This is not Patti farewell,² he avowed before the game started.
> ³I won¹t go back East this year, or the next, or the next.  I am through.
> I have a nice business at San Jose, which will take all my time, and
> besides I am tired of travelling about, and it is time for me to settle
> down.... I know I have threatened to quit before, but this time I mean
> business....²¹
> ----Gerald Cohen
> gcohen at umr.edu


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