So, with this new year, will you do things with verve? With vim? With vigor?
You probably know ‘vigor’, but vim (lively and energetic spirit) and verve (enthusiasm and animation) may be not so familiar to you. And neither was Florence Foster Jenkins, aka Flo Fo, to me.
Driving down the road, listening attentively to NPR’s “Wait, Wait…”, I heard a piece on the woman known as Flo Fo, and fell in love with her spirit, her verve, her vim.
Florence Foster Jenkins, born in 1868, wished to become a singer despite a distinct lack of any talent. Whatso-ever. After her wealthy parents refused to send her to Europe to study, she eloped (with Jenkins, a physician). Upon her father’s death in 1909, she inherited money which allowed her to launch her successful singing career, despite “her complete lack of rhythm, pitch, tone, and overall singing ability.”
After a taxicab crash in 1943, she found she could sing “a higher F than ever before,” and she sent the driver a box of expensive cigars. She sang happily and erratically throughout her long and ear-damaging career. At the age of 76, Jenkins finally yielded to public demand and performed at a sold out performance at Carnegie Hall on October 25, 1944. Jenkins died a month later. (more…)