36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 147: Get your eyes checked regularly


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 147 — Get your eyes checked regularly
27-December-1971 (Mon.)


Back to work.

Morning. Got a registered letter from Andre—made me feel really good, except that it had money. Pay it back. As with the previous day, I felt really good that I had these great friends and relatives. I love ‘em all.

Spend rest of morning in electronic music. Very frustrating. Didn’t get anything done. Very difficult.

Spent rest of the afternoon practicing horn and piano a good deal. Also did some work on stage band [jazz band] piece. Maybe, if I don’t slough off, I’ll be able to finish it.

Went home. There were about 6 letters. Read them all—it was a variety of all good news. Friends saying hello; info from Mrs. Priesing on Fontainbleu, Anjali, family; and from Rotary, more money. I really felt good—that people are writing, the good news. It makes me feel good.

Really good day.


Christmas letters. It has now been five months since I last saw my family and friends. That’s a long time. As a result, I really enjoy getting letters from everyone and reading them to see what is going on in their lives. Thankfully, I’m very active in school and always keeping busy—look at how many operas and concerts I’ve seen. Still, during holidays you miss family and friends and appreciate their letters and cards. A letter from Anjali just warms me up.

Click on the tags. As a reminder, if you are reading parts of the journal and I mention something that interests you (Anjali, or sightseeing venue), look to see if there is a “tag” either in the right-side column, or below the blog posting. It is like an index. Clicking on a tag will bring up all of the journal posts related to that tag.

Fontainbleu. One of my teachers from Montclair sent me information on Fontainbleu, a music school for composers run by the famous teacher of composers, Nadia Boulanger. At a later date, I apply for a scholarship to Fontainbleu and receive a short handwritten letter from Nadia Boulanger that I forever cherish. I hope that I can find and show you this letter before the end of the year.

School work. A full day of work, as usual. Practice and electronic music. School work, practice, study, and learning is often not easy. We forget our frustrations as we do the process. (Though, this journal reminds me of mine.) If you’re a student, keep working at it. Learning takes place and it will help shape the person you will mature into for the rest of your life. I’m still curious about this jazz band (stage band) piece—what was I writing? I would love to hear it.

Rotary money. The Rotary Clubs have sent me additional money. Rotary International has increased my fellowship and living stipend to compensate for the devaluation of the dollar back in August. This was generous of them and truly appreciated by me. Thank you again, Rotary. This has been, and will continue to be, an incredible year.

Andre, a friend. One of my best friends is Andre. We grew up together as schoolmates, though not in the same neighborhood. I remember visiting his home often and the warm welcome that his parents always gave me. (I believe that I may have mentioned Andre before in this journal.) Well, Andre not only sent me a Christmas card, but some money as well. At this time, he was probably attending Harvard Medical School. I forgot about this card and still haven’t paid him back. With 36 years of interest, it’s going to be a bit of money. It’s good to have friends of such quality. Today, Andre is a tremendously successful eye surgeon. His wife Jodi is an architect, and they have wonderful children.

My mention of Andre in the journal reminds me of a very important topic. Your vision, your eyesight. Although it has nothing to do with this journal, I must tell this story.

Get your eyes checked, regularly. I can’t tell you how much I am indebted to Andre over the years. Yes, I can. Here are just two instances: (1) He discovered that I had glaucoma, very early on while I was a student at Ohio State University. Glaucoma specialists at OSU were bringing in classes of medical students to see my “Kruckenberg spindle,” a form of pigmentary glaucoma. The doctor said, my friend was very, very good to have discovered this; many ophthalmologists would have missed it. He discovered it when it was at its earliest stages. Why is this important? I used to get my glasses at the Port Authority in New York because they were cheap. I didn't have a lot of money. I had never visited an eye doctor or ophthalmologist. If I had never visited Andre in his office when he first began his practice, I would have not known that I had glaucoma. I would have never gone to an eye doctor for many years. Glaucoma is a silent eye disease that can suddenly make you blind. As a result, I have been taking eye drops for glaucoma for over 25 years and have my vision today because of this early detection. I owe my vision to Andre. (2) Andre operated on my cataracts early on and gave me back my sight as well. To this day, when I see other eye specialists, they always remark how my cataract surgery was excellent.

Thanks Andre.


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