I’m 94 and I’ve lived in New York City for 62 years…
I’m originally from Canada. During WW2 I used to sing and dance for soldiers at a canteen in Toronto.
After the war I moved to Buffalo and sang in nightclubs and variety shows. In those days you had to know how to sing and dance.
My Uncle did well for himself and he really wanted me to succeed as a performer.
He said, “If you really want to be a singer I'll introduce you to someone.”
So he introduced me to a teacher at Carnegie Hall and I agreed to move to New York City. At the time I thought it was fate and that Broadway was practically begging me to perform there.
My singing teacher at Carnegie Hall was good. I listened to everything she said to me. I learned about breathing. I learned about voice control. But what I really learned is this: That I liked to sing, but it’s one thing to like something and another to get paid for it. To have to show up at a certain time and perform for people day in and day out...it took some joy out of it. I wasn’t used to such a rigorous schedule and it wasn’t for me.
I ended up working all kinds of jobs. I worked as a secretary at Ogilvie, Benson and Maher. A dry cleaning store. A flower store. Shorthand bookkeeping. But always with a side focus on singing.
But after a lifetime of concentrating on singing, at the age of 84 I discovered my true passion is art. I don’t have any artistic themes, I just find the process relaxing and worthwhile. I do it for my pleasure and if people like it they like it. If not they don’t. I’m happy every day I can paint.
So it took me eight decades to find my passion. That’s the funny thing about life: by time you learn what it’s all about it’s time to go. But still, life is beautiful. I wish I could live for another thousand years…
Goose Chronicles Outtakes:
“Any life advice?”
“People always say they'll go on vacation next year. But if you can do it today, do it. Don't put it off. None of us are guaranteed that we’ll be around another day.”
“Do you have any regrets?”
“No. You can't regret anything because it already happened. Don't mind the negatives and move on.”
“What’s the secret to longevity?”
“What’s the most important life lesson you’ve learned?”
“If you don't know what your life is about, you better find out. And fast.”
“What was your favorite job?”
“My favorite job was being left alone. I don’t like to have to make margins and do things others want me to do. I like make my own margins.”
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