Yours truly, 1979, age 21, almost 22
C O L L E C T I O N — The photo I selected for my college senior yearbook. My parents would have preferred a smile with a blazer and a tie, but admitted in the end this was certainly more "me." It appears as if I'm casting a wary eye towards my future—as clairvoyant a moment as I've ever had! I graduated 31 years and two months ago—such a baby! I can still remember the night of the photoshoot like it was yesterday. Odd how some memories are embedded in my brain for life, and others are gone-with-the-wind so to speak.
I was a music composition major, but have never done anything in that field. I've played piano since I was two years old, and could sight-read 12 staves at once at the 'height' of my studies. I was never able to memorize a darn thing, maybe 3 measures of this or 5 bars of that, but I could sit down with a new piece of music, one that I'd never seen before, and play it the first time well enough to perform if I had to. I also sang in the choir and in a professional Bach Cantata singing group in Poughkeepsie, the small city where Vassar was located.
I've rarely thought about music since I graduated except to sit down at the piano once a year or so. I was in the piano room in my mother's house next to her bedroom playing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata when she died—the result of a brain tumor, and by her own choice not to receive extraordinary treatment. I've always felt that she was carried away on the arms of Beethoven—not a bad way to leave this mortal coil, to use a term written by Shakespeare in Hamlet:
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ah there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.
My mother, 1939, age 21, almost 22