“It’s Never Too Late” is a new series that tells the stories of people who decide to fulfill their dreams on their own terms.
In 1940, at the age of 12, Vera GG found her first passion: the cello. She learned to love playing orchestral instruments at the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan. “I didn’t choose the cello. They assigned it to me because I had a nice ear and long fingers,” said the Bronx native, now 93. “I loved it. It’s a beautiful instrument that can sound like a human voice. It sounded like a female body, with hips, breasts, and a waist. Holding and playing it was a very intimate experience.”
However, as an adult, he stopped playing the instrument. She became a professor and a fixture at Brooklyn College teaching English classes. He married twice and had four children. Her beloved cello, her mother’s high school graduation, rested in the back of her wardrobe. It remained untouched for almost 40 years, almost forgotten. He took up his cello again only after retiring at the age of 62.
“I revived the passion I always felt when I started playing again,” she said. Since then, it’s like a second life.
Today Dr. GG, who lives in an Upper East Side townhouse with her 93-year-old husband, can be found playing most Fridays with other amateurs and friends in two musical groups, a trio and a string quartet at the 92nd Street Y . He is also a part of Y’s annual musical performance. In 2007 he self-published his first book, “Cello Playing for Music Lovers”, which is sold on Amazon in over 20 countries. (The following interview has been edited and condensed.)
What made you return to music after so many years?
Brooklyn College gave me companionship and socialization with other teachers and students. I felt socially important. When I retired, I lost that. I felt an emptiness and needed to change that loss and the community. I wanted to meet the people of the neighbourhood.
How did you feel about retiring?
I thought my life was over; It was not. I had to find another road. I thought about the road I took when I was little, and the one I didn’t take because I was a wife and mother of four kids and my career. I thought about the road I hadn’t traveled – one filled with music – and realized I must go down that road now. I could not take both together. What I took became my life. I went back to the fork and went to the other road to see where it would take me.
How did you know where to start?
I’m half a block from 92nd Street Y. I went in and asked about classes; He had a creative music class for people over 60 and he just asked me to show up. I thought I’d have to take a test, but I didn’t. I was at the piano, sitting next to an instructor who said, “Let’s see how you play,” when someone walked along with the cello. I couldn’t believe it. I asked if I could play it and I immediately fell in love with the instrument.
What did it feel like?
Like coming home It all flooded back, and it was wonderful. I felt like I was reunited with a best friend. I needed the opportunity to play music and bring these other musicians into my life. It was the return of a prized passion.
What did you gain by returning to this passion?
Music is a perfect language; It’s like a conversation between people who never misunderstand each other and never get bored. When you play music with people, it’s a kind of friendship. Music is a world of joy. It has given me a way to communicate without using words. It gave me the next step in life.
Why did you write your book “Cello Playing for Music Lovers”?
I looked for other books I could look up, and didn’t find anything useful. So I decided to write one. As an English professor, I knew how to do this. I’m good at expressing ideas, able to jot things down in a way that people can follow, and I’m disciplined enough to sit down and write everyday. I made it a practice to stop at a specific point where I knew what I wanted to say next. I never stopped when I was at a loss. That way I could continue on to the next day knowing I had direction and wouldn’t be overwhelmed. And I wanted to help others.
How do you feel about this phase of your life?
I am 93 years old. People look at age the wrong way: getting older doesn’t mean you can’t have something, you can. And getting old isn’t getting worse. I am all about enjoying the moment. You have to wake up every morning and do something you love. That’s how you proceed.
What is your best advice for people looking to make a difference?
Don’t be afraid to go back to something you used to love. People don’t say things too quickly. We are not always our best friends. Your passion or skill is still there. You will remember more than you think. All the information about music that I thought I’d lost was in a part of my brain that wasn’t talking to me until I got back into it.
What did you learn during this new assignment in your life?
Even though I was getting older, I learned that I could still re-enter this wonderful world of making music. And the community I lost I found again. Music gave me a whole new group of people. It supported me. It gave me a new home.
In this second task, what are you most proud of completing?
Writing and Publishing “Cello Playing for Music Lovers.” I lived, I died; What have I given to the world? This book, which will overtake me. It’ll still be here when I’m gone, helping people learn the cello.
What can people learn from your experience?
Don’t tell yourself no.
We’re looking for people who decide it’s never too late to change gears, change their lives, and chase dreams. Should we talk to you or someone you know? share your story Here.