Sunday, August 4, 2013

7 Minute Autobiography with One Lie

Dry heat and subzero blizzards savaged the Montana railroad town
Mom didn't want to marry a farmer
Dad was a good candidate, he had a railroad job
His Italian family was not what the Norwegians on Mom's side expected, or hoped for
Everybody got used to the idea, some time after I was born

We were railroaded from Montana to Minnesota then to Oregon
In elementary school I heard of the Puritans but visited the Plains Indians and their graves
By junior high we were in Minnesota
The land of 1000 Lakes and the Hamm's Beer Bear
Southern Oregon
In high school I studied math, physics, and football

The Vietnam war got me into college
I was a straight-A student
You don't have to believe that

Still, my years at the University of Oregon were a renaissance
I couldn't get over the girl back home, so I studied Shakespeare
We'd been to a festival in Ashland, Shakespeare under the stars
The bard wasn't the same without her, but I persisted
History, philosophy

I had learned to sing in church
A choir at the university opened my ears to Bach, Handel, and Mozart
I breathed deeper and rejoiced
Every day since, I've opened my mouth to sing
The war ended before I got a degree

But music followed me even working in Portland
A few years as a salesman, and I went to Seattle to sing opera
I drove a truck and moved furniture
Got married and divorced
Sold the business to save the house

Then my career as a singer really took off
Three years in the chorus
Tannhauser, Der Ring des Niebelungen
La Forza del Destino, The Marriage of Figaro
I was born to sing
In the shower

Operatic romance was better offstage
We hiked in the North Cascades
Buried my sister

I negotiated peace between music and business
And have lived happier ever after

I married another singer

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