William’s father was born to a woman who would go on to have 5 children, none of whom she raised. Some were taken into custody of the state of Pennsylvania. Others were placed for adoption. William’s father, as an infant, was returned to the hospital dangerously sick with whooping cough. He was left there for several months. No one from his family would ever return for him. Finally, many months later, he was adopted by a kind doctor who became his father. Never knowing his birth family, or why he was left, it was assumed that mystery would remain forever. And thus this story was written upon William’s father, and from him, written upon William.
Loss, painful though it is, offers a unique and potent opportunity for the kind of emotional clarity that only comes a few times during our lives. It forgets that which doesn’t matter and fans the flame for what does. It burns us with the names of those who gave their good years so that we might have our own.
William never had the opportunity to meet or know his grandmother Thelma. In writing these pieces he hopes to do so in some small way. She was from Charleroi, Pennsylvania. These songs are about her.