“Ambassador Satch”

I am listening to a Louis Armstrong album, “Ambassador Satch.” My dad and I kind of parted ways on a lot of issues as I grew up, but I still like Jazz. Dad made me a tape version of his L.P. but as an adult I got the CD. Mom got mad at me for playing it, so it disappeared for mysterious reasons… and I got a second one. The original record was of a tour of Europe just after World War II. It is funny… for years my sister hated Jazz because it reminded her of her childhood. Mom never seemed to love or hate it till we lived together after my one year of grad school… she had always preferred country, but on that one night she yelled that Louis Armstrong was “just a lot of trash”. Renae, Larry’s second wife, liked Jazz better than popular music, but was the one who out-snobbed Dad: she preferred Classical (which she played flute on) to Jazz (what Dad played clarinet on). (And then his third wife, Ching, was indifferent to music.)

I was the only one who was disappointed that Dad did not make that great Jazz Career that he dreamed of as a young man. When Dad was first married to Mom, there was a point when he could have gotten a job playing his instrument in Las Vegas. However, he got cold feet at the last moment, deciding on steady employment instead. And something in him kind of died. He played Jazz as an avocation, but he never really tried to make it his “reason-for-being” again. At the time of his death, he was not playing at all… and this seemed to cause him a great deal of pain… he would play Ken Burns’ Jazz series (as would Gayle), but eventually as he developed Alzheimer’s even this wasn’t possible.

I learned from Dad, “To thine own self be true,” because watching him I knew that he was not true to those things he long to be. I knew that people would disapprove–but that 9-to-5 hour job with its steady income wasn’t worth it. I had to write for a living…

Published by hadassahalderson

I am a professional author who lives in Wichita, KS. I went to Friends University and spent one year at Claremont Graduate University. My published work includes: The Bible According to Eve I-IV and Faust in Love.

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