I grew up in the best years this country had ever seen: the thirties, the forties, and the fifties. When I put down my baton, after thirty-nine years of conducting bands and orchestras, I needed a project.
I decided to share my early years growing up in the town of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, by writing an autobiography. As I collected the material for this venture, I came to two conclusions: first, I didn’t have enough interesting material, and second, who would want to read it?
Some of those memories combined with later writings were the basis for the first part of this book, “Essays and Reflections.”
The “Music and Correspondence” sections speak for themselves. The greeting cards are but a few I have written to my wife, Jean, over our fifty-seven years of marriage. They were my reaction to the commercial bland verse and high-priced cards. Growing up in a funeral home, I had seen enough flowers to last several lifetimes. I very seldom gave my wife flowers.
As for the poetry, it came about by accident. It started with writing song lyrics and just seemed to segue into the poems. I never really looked for a poem subject; every day events presented themselves with constant frequency.
The individual limericks added a personal touch to my correspondence and were greatly appreciated by the receiver.
Many of the later poems could not have been written at an earlier age. Again, experience is a writing necessity.
I do hope you enjoy my writings, my humor, and my comments on life. I am surprised I have made this venture into writing a book at age eighty-six, but as I remarked at the end of my final concert, “Tonight, I end my conducting career.” I broke my baton here. “Old conductors never die, they’re always beating time. Good-bye.”