We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864) wrote "Oh, Susanna," "Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)," "De Camptown Races," "Old Black Joe," "Beautiful Dreamer," "My Old Kentucky Home," "Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair," "Hard Times," - and lots more.
Where would the American songbook be without him? Nowhere.
Here's his Wikipedia listing. It's the usual: made pennies from his songs, died drunk and alone in New York City. Only visited the deep South briefly, once, on his honeymoon.
Photos of his German piano teacher in Pittsburgh, his first guitar, and the first piano he played, here.
Why the Swanee River? It fit the meter and the feeling. Here's "Old Folks at Home," a true heart-breaker of a sentimental popular song, with a lovely simple tune, as Foster wrote it in NYC for the minstrel shows.
--so i'm looking vat the painting of Foster, and it occurs that he looks like Dennis Hopper. Then it occurs that the last time i saw DH he looked pretty bad, ill with a cancer. I wondered, ''did he die, or not?'' --so i go to the wiki. Yes, he did pass away, in 2010. I'm reading the wiki --it's always interesting how lightning strikes and someone hits fame n fortune just by being someone who hits fame n fortune.
Turns out this boy from Kansas had a dad stationed there as a Postmaster, but who in reality was with the OSS (CIA befoire it was re-named) and was deep undercover with Mao Tse Tung in China.
Oh, so THAT's how he broke into the movies! Maybe not but which way would you bet it? Even not knowing how subversive his film role characters always were.