She was the heart and soul of the family. She was about an year when they moved in. She was adored by her father. Her mom was attached to her son more. When her dad used to take her out on the stroller, I could hear Jennifer’s squeals and passers by smiling.

When she was two years old, she was already ahead of other children. She could do what anyone did; but amazingly she had the ability to be the center of attraction. Other children would listen to her. The care taker adored her; she could point at Jennifer and ask the children to follow her.

As she grew up, Jennifer develop this amazing quality about her. She would be everywhere – helping out her mom at the kitchen, being with dad when he plied around the car, playing with her older brother, even finding time for her music lessons. She exceled at music. Her music teacher knew she had a special spark within her for music.

By the time she was 10 years old, Jennifer had already started to sing at the local church and had got her school recognition in school chorus. Church goers would flock the church to listen the choir. It was a long time since the choir had such an audience every week. There would be no mistake they could find in her voice and singing. The rev. Father, who also conducted the Church choir, would take help from her in putting together the program.

While her interest in music developed, the woman in her also started to blossom. Neighbors – the Cantellis and the Koreans (I forget their name) – often would want Jennifer in their home, either taking care of their children or just to hear her sing.

The trouble began when Jennifer had to attend the High School. The school was about 8 miles away, given the largeness of the district. Her mom or dad would drop her off in the mornings. Jennifer would take the bus home on the way back. The bus would stop at all other points and her’s was one of the last stops. Her interest in music had a side effect. She wasn’t getting great grades. Not that she wasn’t intelligent or smart enough. It was more she found that studying for the tests and learning History or Math or Science didn’t interest her. She had mentioned this lack of interest a couple of times to her parents, who had advised her that getting good grades was as important as pursuing singing itself.

The school counselor saw Jennifer’s deep interest in music. Mr. Lawrence would advise her to focus on what she thought she was interested in. By the time she was half way into her sophomore year, this lack of interested deepened and she almost always struggled to get a C. After she failed in a few of the tests, the school asked for a parent-teacher’s conference. Her parents were advised that it was in their best interest to put Jennifer into a Music school. There was none close by; the nearest one was near Philadelphia, almost 50 miles away.

When they took her for the interview, she did in flying colors and was promised a scholarship. So at age 15, Jennifer left to study music away from home. (To continue..)

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