This is Thomas
I met him as I was walking on West 72nd Street. He had his dog with him and was on his way to a veterinary appointment. So he said that he didn't have much time to talk because he did not want to be late. We walked together as we talked. He is 78 years old and I asked Tom what he did before he retired. As is often the case as I meet more and more elderly people, there is often a surprise as I ask questions. His face lit up and said, "I still do it." He teaches voice and piano from his apartment on the Upper West Side . He had taught at Julliard for 30 years and said 30 years was enough of that place.
Tom was born and raised in Bridgehampton , Long Island and moved to New York City in 1966. He said that he needed to get out of there because of family. He did not get along with his parents and two of his three brothers. He did, however, say that his youngest brother is his closest friend and that he adores him. Tom left home to go to college in Rochester, New York and from there, moved to New York City. He never wanted to be anywhere else. He loves the city and all of its cultural events available to him.
Describing himself as a troublemaker who does not like to follow rules, I got the sense that Tom was someone with lots of spunk and spirit. He said that he is smart and skipped the fourth grade and as a result, can not do addition and multiplication to this day. Subtraction and division were covered in the fifth grade so he can do that. In addition to his family, he could not stand the quiet of Bridgehampton.
His youngest brother still asks how can he stand the noise of New York City. His response to his brother -"how can you stand the quiet of Bridgehampton?" I commented that that reminded me of a Woody Allen movie where he can't sleep in the country because it is too quiet and it drives him crazy. Tom feels the same way.
Tom gets out at least three times a day to walk his dog and loves strolling around the busy city. The people make him feel young and alive so he does not feel old. As we were talking about what life is like in the current political environment, he became animated talking about his dislike for Trump. He cannot understand how any person of color or any woman could feel comfortable enough to vote for him. He added he wants to be old enough not to care. So, how old would that be? He didn't quite know although he thought perhaps in his mid-80s. He thought that might be old, and he would let me know when he gets there.
Tom never married and has no children. He is an upbeat man who loves living in New York City, teaching talented young people piano and voice and getting out to restaurants, movies, concerts and just walking about the streets as often as he can.