Sunlight Shining Through Cloud

A Father’s Son

Posted on: February 13, 2011

I love maps.  I can spend hours absorbing details and directions which, often, help me find the way.  It wasn’t till I was in my forties that I learned that my father also loved maps and that, as a child, he’d aspired to become a cartographer.  Could there be some kind of genetic transmission?  It seems unlikely, and yet…

One of Pop’s passions that I did know about was music.  I, too, loved music though never the same kind.  He liked Brahms and Beethoven.  I liked The Beatles and Blood Sweat & Tears.  I was rebellious; so much so that five years of forced piano lessons yielded no ability to play the instrument.  But I did like music.

Pop played about twenty-seven instruments – all of them self-taught beginning as a child.  He composed boxes and boxes of music never to be performed.  He directed church choirs for many decades and wrote spiritual music; even cantata’s for Easter and Christmas.  I remember standing to applaud after one such performance.  It happened in a usually staid Catholic church.  The surprise was that the entire church body also stood and applauded.  He wrote magnificently.

I have two life regrets: one is that I never went to college opting instead to take a military path; and two, that I didn’t apply myself to the piano.  If I had, I, too, could be writing the music that plays in my head.  Sure, I could learn now.  But I’m busy.  Maybe later.  Leave me alone.

When I was old enough to be a credible high tenor, I was allowed (or perhaps forced, I don’t remember) to join Pop’s choir at St. Catherine’s Church in Glen Rock, New Jersey.  On the big occasions, Pop would set up a Sony reel-to-reel tape recorder and two microphones maybe ten yards apart.  I was fascinated with the process of taping the concert.  When we got home, I’d listen in my headphones to catch the nuances of a stereo recording.

Not too many years later, I had become a good enough technician that I engineered and announced radio programs.  More than that, I engineered three record albums, two of them with my father among the musicians.

I joined the U.S. Air Force to become a broadcaster.  Part of that experience, beginning in tech school, was to learn how to write professionally, how to record audio and video and then how to edit.  I worked hard to learn it, but in the end, it was all great fun and I did it well.

I went on to enjoy six of the best years of my life.  I wrote lots of scripts and produced many television and radio programs – several of which won huge awards.  One award was for a song.  I’d written the lyrics, and separately engineered the recording of voices and of the famed Air Force Band.  What a life.

After the Air Force, it was commercial radio, independent television production, and leadership of a crew that assembled an internationally-viewed thirty-minute TV show each week.

All this from a reel-to-reel tape deck set up in a church choir loft.  Thanks, Pop.

1 Response to "A Father’s Son"

I too have a love for map reading and have taken it a notch further by reading aeronautical maps as a pilot. As to piano though, don’t be too hard on yourself. Piano practice was a mandatory 2 hours (1 1/2 hours more than ADD kids should practice) and it was never good enough. It woulda been nice but so would being born into the Rockefeller family.

I love your new blog site and just think you’re the smartest person I know (almost). And I’m a good judge since I’m your sister. And I always get the last word too.

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