Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Boy's Glorious Noise

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Boy's Glorious Noise

Article excerpt

THE wall is not the only problem in West Berlin. A decision has just been handed down in the disturbing case of Herr Jeffrey Bossin, who rings the city carillon. Two years ago, Berlin spent more than 5 million marks to erect the carillon tower, and it was meant to enhance the cultural sweetness of the vicinity. But folks complained that Bossin went up there and played the same tune over and over until everybody hated him and his tune, and life in the proximity was unpleasant.

Germany has the highest per capita percentage of lawyers in the Western bloc, and going to court is the second most popular sport. The first is handshaking. Complainants' attorney won a decision that Herr Bossin may practice only four hours a week, but many neighbors feel this is too much.

I wish people would come to me for advice on such matters. I could have told the Berliners about little Jimmie and his cornet, and spared them the litigation. Little Jimmie's doting grandfather sent him a fine cornet for Christmas. Not a plaything, even though Jimmie was in kindergarten, but a real concert cornet. Jimmie took to the cornet with immediate delight. In his innocent childhood he vowed to become the world's finest cornetist.

It thus became Jimmie's routine to leap from bed just as the Orient sun lifted over the harbor and he would practice on his cornet by the open bedroom window. They had told him fresh air is essential for wind instruments. At that time, Jimmie could not read music, and he knew only one tune. That was a round used in kindergarten class, thus:

Un, deux, trois,

Nous allons au bois,

Quatre, cinq, six ... etc.

Jimmie would blow this. It was truly amazing, because the acoustical value of an open body of water allowed him to accomplish with about 36 notes more than any military band could accomplish with a march by John Philip Sousa.

The burghers of Gloucester noticed this and didn't like it. After a time a delegation approached Jimmie's father. Jimmie's father slept on the other, or landward, side of the house and didn't know how the dawn came up on Jimmie's side. He listened attentively while the delegation enumerated the options:

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