I Had No Idea He Could Play...

My dad passed away in 1966 so he has been gone fifty-two years.  I was reading his biography recently in preparation for a trip Cynthia and I were planning to eastern Germany.  Dad had lived in Germany (in the area we were to visit) in 1928-30 as a 19-21 year-old.

Imagine my surprise to find that he had written home to his parents requesting certain pieces of sheet music for the piano.  He also wrote about staying in Europe to study music for a period of time beginning in 1930.  He even mentioned playing the saxophone.

This should not have been a surprise for various reasons:  First of all, he was my father.  I should have known everything about him.  Second, dance band music then was what rock band music is today.  Everyone wanted to be in a band.

The saddest part for me is that I never, ever saw him touch, let alone heard him play an instrument  — ever!  This is the guy who, when I was nine, offered me ten cents for every 45 minutes of piano practicing  — but it had to be done before he got home from work.  He didn’t want to hear it.

I can’t help but wonder how my life might have been different if he had offered to play some Diabelli duets with me.  At the very least, I would have known him better.  And I am pretty sure I would have had greater incentive to practice.

Submitted by: Claude Richards

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