Thursday, June 23, 2016

Farewell Toronto and hello Macomb for Emily

SHERYL AND I went to Macomb last night to see Emily. She is teaching oboe at summer camps for Western Illinois University. Sunday, she leaves for a month-long stint at Blue Lake to help with the international program. Then she spends two weeks in Toronto saying farewell to a city she loves and will really miss.

Then she comes back to Macomb in early August to start her first professional job - Professor of Oboe.

Geesh. Big Emily. All grown up. Academia and art and performance and being responsible. She'll be a lot better at it than I would.

Wasn't this just yesterday?
The campus was quiet on a hot summer night. We met Emily at the music building - it looks exactly the same. We went downtown and ate at Chicks, then walked around. Emily will be living in an apartment on the square, and it looks very nice from the outside. Like Quincy, Macomb's downtown shops are mostly closed after 5 or 6. Over by the park they were getting ready for a weekend festival - we had two Gus Macker tournaments over there a few years ago and it was a perfect location, though the organizers were woefully unprepared.

For the past two weeks, Emily has been staying in one of the refurbished dorms. She is also house-sitting for one of her former professors (he has two cats, so it's actually called "cat-sitting"). It's in a leafy subdivision just west of campus. There are a lot of houses for sale, because WIU just let go a bunch of staff due to the state of Illinois budget crisis.

But they hired Emily, at least for a year. She has mixed emotions - she loves Toronto, the big city with so much to do, and she loves the Royal Conservatory of Music, where she took oboe lessons, learned to make better reeds and found out all kinds of things about the world of classical music. Her oboe teacher "is one of the hippest people I've ever met," she says. She also worked at a music store and she was living with a family friend, and fell in love with their sweet Border Collie.

Leaving Toronto is hard. "I'm crying on the inside," Emily says. But she's got a real job doing something she loves, teaching and playing the oboe. It doesn't have to be forever - it could be a great launching pad to even bigger and better things. Or, she might just fall in love with it and take it from there.

My little Emily. All grown up. Well, sort of - I'm not sure her idea of maybe getting a tattoo is a good one, but that's up to her.

She'll be an hour away. I look forward to seeing her more after a whirlwind three years, including two at Eastman in upper New York and a year in Toronto.

Big Emily. All grown up. Where has the time gone?

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