While taking advantage of some alone time by cleaning closets and drawers, I stumbled upon the divorce sentence my mother received from my father, John Kransberg, back in 1977. Holding this yellow and frayed copy, I remember my mother's reaction as if it were yesterday. I detect tear stains on the papers. My father, after a long standing extramarital affair with a Swedish woman, traveled to the Dominican Republic in order to obtain a quick and easy divorce from my mom, after 37 years of marriage and four children. He never hinted to my mother about his double life, but had become increasingly abusive towards her both verbally and physically. My mother had just turned 55, and I recall her stunned reaction to the sudden abandonment and divorce. He stole the best years of my life. How will I survive without your father? Will he ever return? I was 17 at the time, a new student in the Heifetz Masterclass at USC. My mother, in her sorrow and unrelenting grief, turned to Mr. Heifetz for consolation. Typically, Jascha Heifetz veered away from parents, mothers especially, but in her case he made an exception, and offered these enlightening words: Would you wish to have a malignant tumor return? You're better off without him, if that's the manner in which he treated you.
The comment from Mr. Heifetz gave my mother a boost, and she never forgot his wisdom.
About twenty-seven years later, I would witness my 55 year old husband's shock and grief from abandonment and displacement at Seattle Symphony, after twenty years of service. The emotions and feelings of betrayal were all too familiar. For me, it was like stepping back in time as a teenager. Instead of holding my mother's hand, this time it was my husband's. The dissolution of a career and identity, so quick and easy, like a Dominican Republic divorce.
Who, you might ask, was the executor? He Who Shall Not Be Named.