Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Night I Met Einstein

An account from Jerome Weidman.
When I was a very young man, just beginning to make my way, I was invited to dine at the home of a distinguished New York philanthropist. After dinner our hostess led us to an enormous drawing room. Other guests were pouring in, and my eyes beheld two unnerving sights: servants were arranging small gilt chairs in long, neat rows; and up front, leaning against the wall, were musical instruments. Apparently I was in for an evening of Chamber music.

I use the phrase “in for” because music meant nothing to me. I am almost tone deaf. Only with great effort can I carry the simplest tune, and serious music was to me no more than an arrangement of noises. So I did what I always did when trapped: I sat down and when the music started I fixed my face in what I hoped was an expression of intelligent appreciation, closed my ears from the inside and submerged myself in my own completely irrelevant thoughts.

After a while, becoming aware that the people around me were applauding, I concluded it was safe to unplug my ears. At once I heard a gentle but surprisingly penetrating voice on my right.

“You are fond of Bach?” the voice said.

I knew as much about Bach as I know about nuclear fission. But I did know one of the most famous faces in the world, with the renowned shock of untidy white hair and the ever-present pipe between the teeth. I was sitting next to Albert Einstein. (Read entire article.)


May said...

Einstein was a great friend of Albert and Elisabeth of Belgium, whom he considered to be people of deep purity and kindness. He shared his love of music with the Queen and enjoyed discussing political and philosophical issues with the King. Some might not guess it, but he deeply admired Albert's role in defending European civilization. He was staying in Belgium at one point and Albert was determined to provide him with bodyguards, so concerned were the royal couple about possible threats to his life from the Nazis. Elisabeth wrote Einstein a little poem expressing her anxiety:

elena maria vidal said...

How interesting!! The more I learn about Albert and Elisabeth, the more I love them! Thank you!