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MUSINGS AT 84     by Phil Klein


Now that my life is at this end of its cycle, I feel an urge to express some thoughts.   Most of these "musings" are not so amusing.


Early in my life, I discovered that I was blessed with a strong sense of curiosity, which manifested itself as a constant awareness of what was going on around me.


I will confess that my curiosity could, on several occasions, have cost me my life.    You may get a sense of what I'm saying when I tell you that my initial urge, when I got my first chemistry set, was to try and make some gunpowder.   This escalated through the years, especially in chemistry class, where I messed around with some very lethal stuff.


Youth makes one less cautious, and after getting out of the U.S. Navy in '46, I rushed out and got my first car: a '35 Ford, which possessed mechanical brakes, a virtually worthless commodity.   Because of Henry Ford's reticence to install hydraulic brakes on his cars (all of the other car companies, by this time had long since done exactly that...) I had numerous hair-raising experiences, because I insisted in driving MY car - brakes, or no brakes ! Judicious use of the emergency brake plus "shifting down" managed most of the time to work for me. You can't begin to imagine the significance of the latter "most of the time" with regard to what often happened at stop lights.


But that's not why I'm writing this piece.   I am weighed down with a strong sense of depression as I contemplate what we (this nation) have come to.


As a musical kid (later a lifetime musician,) my breast was filled with patriotic joy on days like July 4th when the town band would march down Main St., playing a Sousa march, while Old Glory waved in the summer sun that bathed the parade.   Those were early years in Saranac Lake (the 30's) and my Dad, a plumber, had a good job   which paid a buck an hour.   (But coffee was a nickel, and gas was 19 cents a gallon.)





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I have spent a long and interesting life involved in music, as a performer (piano,) educator (at every level from elementary to graduate school,) solo pianist, bandleader, composer/songwriter; entertainer, storyteller and humorist. In my final (more...)
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