Will the Real David Please Stand
I wrote a little piece the other day on request
from one of the teachers at the piano school my kids are attending.
She had not given me a specific topic to discuss, but as it was to be
printed in their little school newsletter, it obviously made sense to
speak about something related to musical activities.
So I touched on some of my experiences with music,
how I had 'discovered' it during my high school days, and how it had
provided a focus for all my energies for quite a number of years. I
mentioned the different ensembles I had been a member of and some of
the different instruments and types of music I had played. When the
piece was finished, after Sadako had put it into Japanese for me I
left it on my desk ready to be taken to the piano school when next we
It was here that my daughter Fumi noticed it. I
came into the room while she was reading through it, saw what she was
doing, and stood back out of her way until she finished. When she was
through, she turned to me and asked, "None of this is true, is it?" I
laughed and assured her that yes, it all was, but I know she had
trouble believing this. The events I described all took place before
she was born; the David in that story, playing his flute and
saxophone, was a different person from her father David, working with
his woodblocks and chisels.
Obvious it may now seem, this is something that I
hadn't really considered before. If I think back to the image I hold
of my own father, I can see two men - one the man as he currently is,
a grey-bearded 'gent' living on his pensions, and generally taking
life pretty easy - and the other as he must have appeared when I was
in my early 20's, and he was a working 'club' musician. I feel I know
those two guys, but what about all the 'other' fathers I had? What
about that man who married my mother ... and the father of the
new-born David ... of the little boy David ... of the teenager David
...? What were those men like? I have no idea, and I guess I never
This makes me quite curious as to what kind of
image my kids have of me, and which one of their different fathers
they will remember. Fumi naturally has no knowledge of what I was
like, and what I was doing, before she was born, but how much will
she remember of these years we are spending together? If my own
experience is anything to go by ... it won't be much! The adult Fumi
will obviously see me directly as an 'old' man, but I'd like to think
that she will also feel that she knows (knew?) the younger me.
This is why I was so careful not to disturb her
when I saw her reading that little piece. It was a new experience for
me, to find myself 'talking' to her with my pencil, and it made me
aware that at some time in the future, Himi and Fumi will presumably
read through many of these little collections of my scribbling ...
Will this help them fill in the 'gaps' in their memories? If my
father had written little personal essays like these during the years
I was a child, would that now help me to understand who he was ...
who he is?
Perhaps it doesn't really matter. But it would be
a kick to be able to read such stories. How about it 'future Himi'
and 'future Fumi' ... are you enjoying these?