Hello to all of you, my name is Paul. It seems that much has been said of me and I, for one would like for you to know the true story, as I see it. There is nothing more beautiful than music, that is a fact that has helped me throughout all of my life. “The first sigh of the instruments” can feel to me like a thousand wonderful days all wrapped into that one moment. There are not many who understand the pull of the stage and of the arts to a person like me, not my teachers, and certainly not my father. There was a man, though, who seemed to understand my plight.
His name is Charley Edwards, an actor at Carnagie Hall, hom I have seen perform many times, and who I consider to be a close, personal friend. But even he could not grasp the luck of life which he had. In order for you to understand a little more about the truths of the arts, let me tell you what makes me love them so. Growing up among the “ugliness and commonness” of Cordelia Street was very difficult for me, not only because of my father and the loathing I had for him, but because of the “flavorless, colorless mass of everday living” there.
I never belonged there. I dreamed of the day when I could sit for hours upon hours and just listen to the orchestras, wearing purple and ooking at flowers. You see these beautiful things that belonged in my life were totally absent as long as I was anywhere near Cordelia Street in Pittsburgh. Have I told you yet about the beauty of red carnations? No, I guess I haven’t. I wore one the day I had to try to get back into school. The day my teachers attempted to determine what was the matter with me, and why I was defiant in their eyes.
I still to this day believe that it wasn’t so much that I did not like school, because the importance of schooling has always been quite obvious. I do, on the other hand, believe that in their attempts to control my thoughts and make e conform, they lost my respect. Learning about this or that, can be very engaging to some, but not to me. I would rather whistle Faust or look at a Rico. I suppose that the usher job that I had at Carnegie Hall helped keep me alive through those days.
Being around the energy that comes from the music can have The day I left school was at first very difficult for me, since I also had to quit my usher job at the hall. My father decided that he had had enough of my insolence when I decided while at school one day that I had no time for theorems, as I had more important matters to deal with at the hall. He immediately took me out of school, made me quit the hall and put me to work for Denny and Carson. I worked there for some time and became a trusted employee, even having the responsibility of taking the week’s payroll given to me.
One weekend, knowing that the ledger was to be taken in to be balanced with the payroll deposit drop-off, I asked for Saturday after off. Before I did my weekly task of dropping of the payroll deposit however, took the nearly thousand dollars and wrote a new deposit slip. After that, I simply boarded the night train to New York. I had imagined entry into New York thousand times, to be in that kind of atmosphere.
There were so many more beautiful things to see and do and feel here. “How astonishingly easy it had been. First, I bought a new suit and put it on, leaving my newly purchased frock coat and dress clothes in the cab. Then I went to a hatter’s and a shoe house, followed by Tiffany’s where I bought a silver and a new scarf pin. Then I bought traveling bags to properly store all of it. From there it was on to the Waldorf, paying in advance for a sleeping room, a sitting room and a bath. Once in the sitting room, owever, there was one detail I had dreamed of that wasn’t there, so I rang for the bellboy and had flowers brought up.
After “such a strain,” I settled into a nice hot I went for a ride through the park and saw how beautiful the flowers looked cast against the snow, then came back for dinner with the orchestra. My, what a lovely night that was, as I sat back, drinking my champagne, listening to the beautiful music among all of the beautiful people, not feeling at all out of place in my purple. “This is what all the world was fighting for… this is what the struggle was all about,” I thought. At that moment, I wasn’t sure I had ever heard of Cordelia Street, let alone lived there among the ugliness.
I felt like this was what I was born for, having the money to enjoy the finer things of life. I truly enjoyed them. After eight days of drinking, music, and socializing with some of the finest people I had ever met, the Pittsburgh papers revealed that I had been found out. My father had repaid the money I stole and was on his way to retrieve me and torment me in some or many ways, I’m sure of it. I “had not a hundred dollars left and knew now, more than ever, that money was everything. ” The power and reedom that I had enjoyed for what seemed like a lifetime now, was running out along with my money.
But I had looked fear in the face and won. I decided before I took this adventure that I wasn’t going back. Last night I even bought a pistol, and not very long ago thought of using the ugly thing to end my life. Instead I got on the train to Newark, then took a cab for a ways toward Pennsylvania. I laid down for a short nap and was awakened just in time to finish my dream, on my I don’t remember the train hitting me, just the feeling of getting punched in the chest, flying through the air, and my limbs going numb.