|A dear friend, Carol Pratl|
Carol Pratl and Jim Haynes at the Russian/American/French feminists women conference in Paris (1989)
I am not sure when Carol
and I first became aware of each other’s existence. It probably began
at the Village Voice Bookshop in the early 1980s. The Village Voice exploded
on the Paris literary scene and all of a sudden there was a meeting place.
Because in those early exciting days, Odile not only had created one of
the best English-language bookshops in Paris, but at the same time she
created the place where we all met each other. The original Village Voice
contained a superb coffee and tea café – with excellent salads and brownies.
Because it was so intimate, one had to share tables. In so doing, of course,
people met one another. It was here that we first encountered Carol. She
was studying Russian language and literature, was fluent in French, and
quickly became a force in the local literary scene – not only in the English-speaking
community, but also with the French-speaking one.
The research for my People to People travel guides began
in the 80s. My first trip to Russia, in 1985, was organized by Carol.
Lisa Nesselson, Layne Jackson, Sylvie Daniel, Ulla Larson and another
half dozen of us were introduced to many Russians in St. Petersburg and
in Moscow. Carol organized trips to the theatre and the ballet in both
cities. In the early 90s, Carol and I traveled to Moscow together. We
stayed with her friends in the city. By this time, she was becoming more
and more involved with the Isadora Duncan legacy. Later, in the mid-90s,
she organized an Isadora Duncan conference and a Isadora Duncan dance
school in Moscow. One could go on and on about her positive energy and
the many contributions Carol made to life in Russia and France. She was
a ball of fire who burned brightly. She just burned out. Far too young.
We all miss her. I hope she is dancing wherever she is now.
Jim Haynes, 2007