There was a large basket of flowers on the porch! For me!
Having just returned from playing a noon-time concert that consisted of three major flute and tenor arias from the JS Bach b-minor Mass, and the Sts. Matthew and John Passions, I naturally supposed the flowers were from the grateful tenor for my heroic work that day.
That assumption was very wrong.
They were from the famed first flutist of the New York Philharmonic, Jeanne Baxtresser.
The previous day she had called me after tracking me down through AFM Local 802 in New York City. She had read the book, "Dyslexia, a Modern Watergate" by Dr. Harold Levinson as research to help a family member. My son and I were very successfully treated by Dr. Levinson, and he published much of my journal in his book, in which I detailed the many improvements my son and I had enjoyed since beginning treatment. My photo was published, as well as the fact that I was a professional flutist. Jeanne did the rest herself.
"I've met you before," I said as we chatted. I recalled the time I was substituting with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the run out concert we did at Avery Fischer Hall, the home of the NY Phil. In a classic moment, the Philadelphia musicians were taking the stage as the New Yorkers left it. Jeanne and Mindy Kauffman, the piccoloist in the Phil, were just packing up when the Philadelphia flute section got to our chairs. I was introduced to Jeanne and Mindy and we all exchanged greetings. Looking out into the hall as we warmed up, I saw Jeanne and Mindy, listening.
In that program, I covered the 2nd flute part in the Copland 3rd Symphony. The third movement opened with the now-famous "Fanfare for the Common Man" theme. Only it is introduced by two flutes playing in open octaves, 4ths and 5ths. And....what did Riccardo Muti begin the rehearsal with? Yes indeedy, the 3rd movement of the Copeland. Yikes!!! Luckily all went well, the pitch was fine (my teacher, the legendary Murray Panitz, was principal flute) and the rehearsal went on.
Back to Jeanne and the phone conversation: she remembered that occasion. We connected over that shared experience.
Jeanne and I spent a good hour and a half on the phone chatting about Dr. Levinson, the treatment, and how it was a good possibility that her family member could be helped. In that short amount of time I realized what a caring, compassionate and genuine person she is. Grabbing the phone, I called her immediately to thank her for the gorgeous arrangement. Again her graciousness flowed over the phone lines (back then, in the 80's, we still used land lines. We had "car phones" that were large, bulky, and had hand sets much like land lines).
I hadn't seen or spoken to Jeanne until last year, when Flute Pro Shop attended The Consummate Flutist seminar at Carnegie Mellon University. We reconnected over our two shared experiences. What I saw and heard in that amazing flute class inspired me to donate the Murray W. Panitz Memorial Scholarship for 2015, the 25th anniversary year of his passing.
Isn't it amazing where a bouquet of flowers will lead?