Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Gifts of the Pack Rat

Many people (my wife amongst them) are impatient with people like me who save letters, workshop notes, sometimes train tickets or concert tickets or other such reminders that “This happened. I was here.” But I’m sticking with my intuition that such things matter, that looking through old workshop notes I sometimes get an idea for my next one, having forgotten that wonderful song/game/activity that I did 30 years ago. That reading a letter from a friend from way back then carries a certain sweetness. That finding something I wrote long ago reminds me, again and again, that nothing has changed much in terms of the things I think about it, the things I value, the things I dream of. Of course, I know that my children will not want to deal with these things when I’m gone and that there will come a time soon when I pass through them all once more, enjoy the memory and let them go. But not yet.


This on my mind because a student I taught back in 1972 that I’m still in touch with recently sent me some notes from a music class I was teaching. She’s over 60 years old and is probably going through that process of sorting and letting go, but once again, her fellow pack-rat proclivities brought me a moment of happiness and again, that sense that I could have written the exact same thing today, with just a shift in language. There’s no date on my little essay about listening to music, but the fact that it was a ditto sheet (the original handwritten!) makes me suspect it came from the late 1970’s when I was teaching an Orff Course to teachers. She sent this to me as a photo, but said she would snail-mail the other ten pages, relieving her rat’s nest and adding to mine. So it goes. 


Read on (if you can decipher ditto-print!) and see if any of this ideas about listening to and playing music resonate with you.


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