Knowing what you want

Letters of Note includes this message from the young Samuel Barber to his mother in 1919:

NOTICE to Mother and nobody else

Dear Mother: I have written this to tell you my worrying secret. Now don’t cry when you read it because it is neither yours nor my fault. I suppose I will have to tell it now without any nonsense. To begin with I was not meant to be an athlet [sic]. I was meant to be a composer, and will be I’m sure. I’ll ask you one more thing.—Don’t ask me to try to forget this unpleasant thing and go play football.—Please—Sometimes I’ve been worrying about this so much that it makes me mad (not very),

Sam Barber II

Samuel Barber went on to become one of the foremost composers of the twentieth century, twice being awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music. When he wrote this letter, he was nine years old.

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2 Responses to Knowing what you want

  1. Susan says:

    Children are so wise, and so often we as adults don’t respect that about them. I smiled at the part where he reassures her it’s not her fault, because I am one of those mothers who always thinks it’s my fault. The young Sam knew who he was. Sometimes I think I have spent my whole life trying to remember what I knew intuitively as a little girl. Thank you for sharing this.

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