#Scintilla Day Five: The Day the Music Died

Life is an intricate series of detours and hidden paths. Routes that can veer you off course.

At the time, it’s hard if not impossible to see the road one should take and why. But ultimately, things happen for a reason. A choice is made. A direction is taken even though, at the time, those bumps in the road hurt like hell.

Once upon a time a long time ago I was going to be the next Benny Goodman – traveling the world, wailing away on the old licorice stick (that’s clarinet to you) with my own big band – bringing that glorious sound back to the masses. My dream was to play Carnegie Hall.

I had known what I was going to do and be for a long time. There really was no question. I was known for my musical ability. It was my passion. It was my life. And I loved it.

Honors Theory, Honors Band. My college audition for the music program was a screaming success. Senior awards night, my band director beamed with pride as he told everyone about my successful audition that day and presented me with my band awards.

Then, high school graduation. I was oblivious to the coming storm. Although, I should have been.

For the last several years, my dad had been working in a town two hours away from our home and staying there during the week. He was living in the same area where I was going to attend college so I was going to stay with him and commute the few miles to school to save money.

I went back out to Montana to work on the ranch for the summer after graduation until Fall when I would return home and start my first year of college.

And then, my world imploded.

My parent’s marriage crumbled to dust. All this I found out while I was 1500 miles from home. The shock to my system overwhelmed me. You have to understand, despite my disgruntlements with my father, I thought I had a normal – perfect family. I was very naive.

The news of their troubles sent me into a tailspin. I opted to stay in Montana and work in the mountains that fall rather than go home.

I delayed my college entrance.

Big mistake.

When I came home that winter, my life as I knew it had changed dramatically.

Then – the phone call. My father told me he didn’t want me living with him. I listened to him as he talked. All I heard was he didn’t want me. Looking back, it was probably all for the best. I know that now, but at the time…

Something inside me broke.

I stopped playing my clarinet and the piano. I never went to that school where I was going to become the next Benny Goodman. Instead, I dashed those dreams against the jagged rocks and left the shattered pieces there to disintegrate as I walked away and didn’t look back.

0 thoughts on “#Scintilla Day Five: The Day the Music Died

    • I would have been in the way – of his affair. I think that was the reason why. I’m glad I didn’t live with him. Looking back. Thanks, Onyi.

  1. Life is a funny thing. It can slap you in the face when you thought it was going to shake your hand. This post had a terrible beauty to it. I could see each piece and feel it too.


  2. You may not be the next Benny Goodman to the world . . but Nolan and I are both accomplished singers/actors/musicians. I had my sights set on New York briefly

    We both know I’m not in New York. But I sing to these children everyday, Nolan teaches piano, we make cd’s for our family as gifts. I’m not the next big thing on Broadway. But I can sing my kids’ favorite lullables without sounding like a cat screeching.

    Point is, that talent shouldn’t go to waste when you’ve got AnneShirley. I bet you could diddle out Mary Had a Little Lamb With Her and she’d squeal in delight. It’s better, in some ways, than those bright lights.


    • I do share music with AnneShirley. It’s not that. It’s not about being famous or anything of the sort. My music was very linked to my father – it stretches further than just him saying he didn’t want me living with him. He didn’t want me because I would have interfered with his affair. I sing to AnneShirley, I play for her. I composed her a lullaby when she was two months old. My talent doesn’t necessarily go to waste. I know what you’re saying…and I’m not comparing what I have now to what I wanted. Not at all.

      • I can see what you’re saying totally. And my father hated that I sang, acted, and danced. He was a demon of a man in so many ways because there was nothing he liked better than people being unhappy around him. Luckily, he couldn’t snuff some things out.

        But Your father should no longer have that power or right. Take it back and shine just a little more every time you play something for that sweet little girl. Because she’s better than Carnegie Hall.

        • My father was very musical. I get my ability from him. He was great about supplying me with my Buffet Clarinet, my baby grand. It wasn’t for lack of support. But it came at a price. Always a price with him. And the memories of that – just kill.

          • I need to add that my mother was very supportive and always there for me and she also – goes without saying – made sure I had the best equipment for learning.

  3. How devastating. Music has an amazing ability to help us heal and transcend. Even if you didn’t go to the school, or create the band, I hope that you’ll recover the music of your soul… you deserve that! xo

    • It’s still difficult but I’ve sort of accepted it. I had a breakdown about it a few weeks ago…I examined what I turned my back on. It was sort of healing…if I can say that.

  4. You’ll pardon me for saying, but, what a colossal cocksucker.

    I know this feeling of rejection. And it stinks to high heaven. Maybe things are for the best. Maybe you would have ended up a heroin addicted jazz musician. But in the end, it’s still a direction that was forced by circumstance. I hold your hand in solidarity.

    • Oh Jen. You are right in more ways than one. I thank you for making me spit out my coffee and also for the support. 😀

  5. It really makes you stop and think about how you are to your own kids. I understand the feeling of not being wanted, thanks to my own biological father. I swore that my kids would ALWAYS know how much I love them, not just by telling them, but by being the biggest thorn in their sides & expecting nothing but the very best from them. They would always know that they are wanted.

    I am so very sorry. So many things inside you were crushed by that man. I’m sure that if you opened up his psyche, there’d be some sort of way to explain it away with psycho-babble. It’s no excuse.

    His loss. He has denied himself the joy of you.

    • Thank you, Brandee. I hope we’re doing the same – doing right by AnneShirley. I want her to always feel love, support, stability.

  6. It makes me sad that he couldn’t see beyond himself to what his words, his decision would do to you, how it would forever alter your life.
    What a difficult way to get pushed into adulthood.
    Hugs to you.

    • Hugs, Kelly. Thank you. He never has been able to see what his words and actions do to us. He was a mental abuser. He had good in him but it was always overpowered by the bad.

  7. This breaks my heart. I am so sorry and I wish I could turn it back and allow you to make those choices again with the knowledge you have now. I am sure you’re content in the life you have now, but I still wish you had the opportunity to fulfill this dream.

    • Thanks, Jason. I do in small ways. I wish I could go back and have kept up with my playing at least. I am not as proficient now and my fingers – so slow on the keys. I used to rock the clarinet. Now, my embouchure is shot and hard – painful to get back. It’s like being really out of shape and hitting the gym for the first time in years. HURTS like heck! I always appreciate your support. Always.

  8. I’m glad to read (in the comments) that you haven’t given music up entirely and that AnneShirley (and you) get to enjoy it. This is a sad story but knowing you and your courage, I know that you will continue to play and have music in your life, in some form.

    Sending love and hugs, dear Tracy.

    • Noel, I do and I have. But I get so dang frustrated because I’m (obviously) not as good as I once was. My embouchure is shot and fingers slow. I am a perfectionist both piano and clarinet. I still sing though! And I do play piano from time to time. Just not as much. It hurts. I miss it. I get joy from it at times but it still hurts.

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