Go West Young Man

[I believe that most of you are interested in my current situation. To get there more quickly, I am going to send two blog entries per week.]

John Greenleaf Whittier would not have been pleased with me. I continued heading east until I reached the Atlantic. Filled to the gunnels with all my belongings, I left New York state in a small Opal station wagon. This time, I really avoided the Interstate because my license plate had expired a month earlier and I was determined to get out of the state without getting caught. No such luck. I got caught and had to mail a check back to the state’s coffers.

Marsh Chapel, Boston University
Marsh Chapel, Boston University

I arrived in Boston to go to grad school (Boston University). I had only a few dollars in my pocket and no other funds. Brazenly, I got in the registration line not having any idea how I was going to pay for my enrollment. While in line, I noticed people leaving another line with a check in their hands, so I quickly got into that line. When I was asked how much money I needed, I confidently said I needed the full amount for the year. I received full tuition, room and board, and spent the next several years paying it back. So much for the third degree, literally.

One of the faculty got word of an organist-choir director position 40 miles outside Boston. I grabbed it as it had a good organ, and I didn’t have to compete with all the competent Boston organists. I remember one very snowy, stormy day when I pushed my car out those 40 miles only to find that the local parishioners wouldn’t leave their doorsteps. So much for fair weather Christians.

I also took a part-time job with a publishing company. They produced a magazine about this new thing called a computer. Their computer was taller than a refrigerator and had to be installed in a climate-controlled room. One of my jobs was to track computer installations in Russia. I can’t imagine how I got that information but track them I did. I doubt that anyone tracks computers anywhere today.

Portland Head

After a couple of years, I took that Opal and drove north, this time to Portland, Maine. I spent 7 years getting acquainted with the coast line, loving the salt air, the salt box homes, all the while salting away an income. I worked as Minister of Music and the Arts at Maine’s unofficial UCC “cathedral” and at Maine’s official Episcopal cathedral. The Opal got me around the state playing recitals and performing on Portland’s City Hall organ, the second largest in the world when it was installed. Eventually, that Opal would no longer go in reverse. I had driven it into the ground. What now?

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