Perhaps you recall reading about my old band teacher, Emerson Ebert, in a post on Tuesday, March 28.
I learned, to my delight, that Mister Ebert is alive and going strong at age 98. So I printed a copy of the blog post and mailed it to him, with a cover letter expressing, first, how startled I would be if he remembered me after more than sixty-five years; and, second, how much I was hoping he would not be offended by my writing about him.
A few days later, I received this wonderful note from Mister Ebert, written in a firm hand:
What a surprise when I received the letter from Larry Sommers.
Believe it or not I do remember Johnny Stevens, Jack Spencer and Larry Sommers.
You certainly described the Streator music program in detail.
This was a real walk thru the past for me.
At any rate you can’t imagine how rewarding your letter was to me. Thank you!
Emerson W. Ebert
He was not displeased. In fact, he was pleased.
Encouraged, I put through a phone call to a number I had which I thought might be his. I left a message, and when he called me back I was delighted to speak with a man I knew back in the Fifties, when he was a grown man and I was a kid.
We had a nice, long chat. It included pleasantries, memories, and updates. Finally, we rung off.
Two things come out of this, Dear Reader:
1. When you reach the far end of life, you often appreciate more those people you took for granted, or were not particularly close to, in the early days. Such is the case with Mister Ebert, who really struggled heroically in the parlous exercise of teaching us music.
2. The rewards of authorship are not limited to money or fame—neither of which is guaranteed, anyway. There are moments when something you have written kindles a new friendship or reaffirms an old one. These rewards are just as sweet as the other kind.
Larry F. Sommers
Your New Favorite Writer