My mother taught piano lessons. In 1930 she had her own radio show in Monongah, W. Va. Under her tutelage, I mastered “Chop Sticks,” “Heart and Soul” and just about any doo-wop melody. Years later, I was the darling of every dive bar in the Pacific, wooing the bar girls and providing a respite for sailors and Marines while singing and playing “Angel Baby.”
Philosopher Thomas Carlyle said, “All deep things are comprised of song.”
We all have regrets. One that’s recurring for me is a disappointment that I never learned to play the violin. In the Fleet Marines I’d often travel through Singapore. I would spend hours at the Raffles Hotel there, sipping bourbon and sitting where Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling wrote their masterpieces. I’d listen to a children’s orchestra of violins playing Bach, Mozart and Paganini.
The violin is captivating, especially for the wanderer. Writer Edmond de Goncourt tells us, “A poet puts up a ladder to a star and climbs it while playing the violin.”