The Great Whistling Moratorium

My dad loved to whistle, and he was good at it. His tones were sweet and clear and pleasing to the ear. Sadly, the whistling gene passed me by, and no matter how hard I try, I sound like I’m spitting out chewed up crackers.

Although he drew the line at rock and roll, my father filled our home with an otherwise diverse selection of music (classical, swing, opera, Latin, Greek) piped through his various devices: radio, hi-fi, phonograph and reel to reel tape recorders. In each of the many houses we occupied throughout our nomadic lives, Dad was designated a corner for his paraphernalia; but he hit the jackpot in Ceylon, where he commandeered an entire room in which to fuel his musical passion.

Granted, Mom also occupied that space (the den/bar) and she frequently instructed Dad as to which songs she preferred for his playlists. These tapes he dutifully labeled, “Barbara’s Favorites” but Mom sometimes expressed her own opinions of his selections, jotting down on a corner of the boxes, “not very good,” or scrawling a large “X” across his methodically listed song titles. 

One evening, my father was whistling along to one of his tunes, when my screwball mother, having decided at that very second in time that whistling after dark was bad luck, snapped, “Stop whistling, Pete.” My somewhat demoralized dad took the high road, or depending on one’s viewpoint, the path of least resistance and quit whistling whenever Mom was within earshot. 

With this photo, taken in 1951 Germany many years before the Great Whistling Moratorium, I’m treated to a blissful memory of my Dad’s pure sweet whistle and the pleasure it so evidently gives me.