I am married but I use my maiden name. Why? Because years ago I promised my father I would. When I was writing for Sheet Music Magazine, I received a lot of reader write-in mail, all with music related comments or questions……except for one. It was addressed to me, marked ‘Personal’. The letter writer introduced herself as a representative of a high school reunion committee and wondered if, because of my unusual name, I was one related to one of their classmates. She was hopeful that I could send the reunion invitation to the right person. My heart skipped a beat as I read the name of their “missing classmate.” It was my father’s name.
I rushed to visit my father, handed him the letter, and waited as he slowly opened and read it. I could see he was carefully reading and rereading the letter and but he looked confused. The only sound in the room was the ticking of the mantel clock. I didn’t understand. Was the committee looking for someone else with the same name? I became concerned that the writer was mistaken, or worse, that we were the victims of a sick joke. Finally, slowly, Dad looked up with tears in his eyes. All he said was, “I didn’t think anyone remembered me.” Then he went back to reading the letter, this time with a smile.