Stories from the Issac Platt and Minnie Mariah Potter family

Memories of Joan Tabor (from Alan)

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Joan Tabor

Some combination of May (2015) Facebook posts by Kate and Liz started me thinking about my favorite Joan memories. Here are two of them. I thought I might seed mine out and see if I can collect some of yours.

Music in the Library.

Joan tried to make the Brookings High School Library inviting to kids. As part of that, she allowed albums to be played during the afternoon study hall. (I may be wrong on the details; the Brookings Tabors could provide more detail on this.) She, also, brought in albums of her own. At one point, she started borrowing some of my mine s to bring in and play. I remember the first King Crimson record being a hit.

As such, she became the sole adult that I actually knew personally that recognized the value of the music I loved…music that was, quite honestly, a bit of life line. She actually seemed to like my favorite of the time: Jefferson Airplane’s Bathing at Baxters (an album that highlights the electric improvisation of Jorma Kaukunen and Jack Cassidy.) This may seem a small thing but it was very meaningful to me…a validation.

This seems to me to point to some of Joan’s lifelong abilities. She was open to new stuff, an omnivorous consumer of media of various types, willing to buck tradition, and could see the forest for the trees. Her library was aimed being a home and resource to the kids (unlike the Madison High School Library when I was there which seemed aimed at preserving order and only grudgingly provided resources.) After getting a tour of the Hailey library from Susan this summer, I can see the family tradition.

King Crimson album cover King Crimson album cover - inside

A side story.

Obtaining this music was not that easy. There was no online. There were albums. They were expensive. They were purchased in record stores. Madison didn’t have a record store. The closest was a small rack of wood bins at The Emporium run by Pearl Schrepple (and owned for a while by Dad & Larry) which held maybe 40 albums.

Pearl was a largish Norwegian woman with a formidable face. I was a scruffy kid (by local standards) and weighed in at 90 lbs as a result of a ruptured appendix in middle school.

The bins held mostly Mancini, Andy Williams, and Perry Como. There was usually a few Beatles, Beach Boys, and Monkees records. The Rolling Stones were considered outside the pale. The stuff I wanted had to be special ordered, paid in advance, and I had to brave the dragon to do that.

To make matters worse, we were at the height of alarmist articles about hippies in Time Magazine and such.  Extracting the Velvet Underground’s banana record at a point during the banana peel smoking panic (seriously, there was one) was a battle. Pearl insisted on consulting with my parents before releasing the album into their custody. The worst was working up to ordering Trout Mask Replica. The artist, Don Van Vliet’s stage name was Captain Beefheart…which, of course, was one of his puns made to sound like Bee Fart when spoken aloud. Saying Bee Fart to Pearl Schrepple was likely to put me in mortal danger. I still remember working up my nerve, practicing a bit, and then approaching Pearl: “…and the artist is Captain Beef…pause…Heart…that’s Beeffff…longer pause…Heart” I finally realized the obvious and asked to fill out the order form myself.

Writing Group

When Dad has his big fall on the back patio, we each took a rotation in to aid in his recovery. Trish was there first. I flew in for the 2nd rotation. Joan provided support by picking me up at the airport. She was driving a minivan and had her oxygen tank behind the console with a tube forward to the drivers seat.

We shared tales of what we’d been up to recently. I was starting to work on this site. We shared a lifelong interest in stories.

Joan told me she had recently joined a writing group and was really enjoying digging into writing! Not resting on old habits, she was pushing her own boundaries at age [ok 80? help required]. She talked about what she writing, the other folks in her writing group and how it was structured, how she was being encouraged to publish, and so forth.

It would have been great to see this latest interest blossom.

I was inspired. The openness and curiosity and growth that was with her as a young woman was with her to the end.

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by Author AlanTabor


Joined: 06/29/15
Before there was the internet
Before there was the internet there was mom. Her vertical file was the early analog version of the internet. Want to know about smog in LA, she had a folder, Judy Garland's binge drugging and drinking, mom had a folder. Her goal was to make it easy, well you had to ask to seek out info and to get multiple opinions. She did her best to provide a cross section of opinions, the Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Sunday NYTimes, she got them all and read them all. She liked to say she was a mile wide and an inch deep on any topic, but she could always point a curious body in the right direction. She was open to new and curious about much. Post retirement, she did do quite a bit of writing. Her last piece she submitted to the SD Magazine. It was too long for them. She needed to edit it, but never got the chance. Liz
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Joined: 02/22/12
Let's publish it here at
Let's publish it here at least! I just flipped Wes's poetry to Public so anyone can see it.

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