Fischer-Dieskau and Me - Part One

by Celia Sgroi  
State University of New York College at Oswego  

This essay, or perhaps memoir is a more accurate term, owes its title to The New Yorker, which once gave the title “Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Me” to an article by Wayne Koestenbaum (The Queen’s Throat). In the article, Mr. Koestenbaum relates that his favorite way of listening to Schwarzkopf is in the shower. I’m not very sure that’s very respectful, but what do I know? Anyway, when it came time to explore my own history as a diehard fan of a singer, I didn’t mind lifting the title and converting it to my own use. I hope the results are worth it. 

I had my first, fateful encounter with Fischer-Dieskau in the spring of 1965. When I was a junior in high school, my father fell in love with a house that was for sale and moved the family from the thriving metropolis of Fulton, New York ("the city with a future," pop. 14,000) to the village of Hannibal, a rural community with a population of about 700. My sisters and I had the dubious distinction of being among the dozen or so students who went to school every day without riding on a school bus.

It's tough to be transplanted from one school to another in the middle of the year, and I hated it. However, I soon became friendly with a young man who represented a truly bizarre phenomenon in rural upstate New York: At the age of 17, he was a fully developed opera queen. As he was something of a pariah (for obvious reasons) and I was a newbie, we were more or less thrown together. Boy, did that change my life!

My new friend was absolutely obsessed with opera. He had dozens of records, and owned a very impressive reel-to-reel tape recorder, upon which he replayed Met broadcasts and pirate tapes obtained from God-knows-where. He made trips to the Met and reported on the operas he saw and told stories about standing in line for tickets, being a standee, etc. And he was a passionate fan of Maria Callas and Franco Corelli, in particular. He did a memorable Maria Callas imitation-- I can still see him romping around the room fluting: "I am the ineffable Maria Callas. Wanna see my ineffable?" And he would fling up the skirt of his imaginary dress and laugh hysterically. (He was, after all, only seventeen.)

I thought he was great, and so I listened to a lot of opera (usually in the form of rather arbitrary excerpts) for the first time in my life. I had always had an interest in vocal music, but at that time I was going through my folk song phase (along with nearly the entire country), so opera was quite a change. I tried gamely to go along with the program, but I confess I had a difficult time getting passionate (or even interested) in Callas and Corelli and the other greats to whom I was being exposed. And then came the day when my friend played an excerpt from Le Nozze di Figaro with Fischer-Dieskau.

"Oh! Who's that?" I asked.

You could see from his face how his heart was sinking. "He's nobody. Don't pay attention to him. That's not why I'm playing this."

"But he's the one I like," I said.

"Oh God," he said in despair.

When I asked if he had anything else by this guy with the strange name, he indignantly denied it, and that was the end of the matter for several months. And then in August of 1965, I picked up an issue of Time magazine that was mainly devoted to the Watts riots, and there was an article about Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, "the thinking man's baritone," that made it sound as if this fellow with two last names could just about walk on water, and my interest was rekindled.

But what to do about it? My opera friend was of no help whatever; this was not an interest he was willing to nurture. So I decided to buy myself a recording and made a trip to Syracuse with that intention. In 1965, downtowns still existed, of course, as did all the department stores that have since been casualties of the rise of shopping malls, and the department stores had sections devoted to selling record players in impressive cabinets and the records to play on them. And those records included real classical records, along with the Mantovani and 101 Strings. I didn't even have to ask a clerk where to find a recording by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (a task I had been dreading), because there was a little section with a printed divider with his name on it, with two or three LPs in plastic dust sleeves. The only remaining challenge was to decide which of them to buy, and it was no small challenge because I didn't know anything about any of them. Fatefully, they were all Lieder recordings on the Angel label, all with Gerald Moore as accompanist.

After handling them for a while, hoping for inspiration, I bought the one with the brown cover featuring a drawing of a very young Brahms (if Brahms was ever that young), which was called "The Young Brahms" and bore it home to try out. At first I was pretty perplexed by it. I am quite certain I had never heard an art song before. They certainly weren't like folk songs or songs from Broadway shows, both of which I knew and liked, and if someone had asked me to say what an art song was like, I probably would have described something like "Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes" (which, as a matter of fact, I had heard), or some grand utterance with a rolling piano accompaniment and lots of emotion. (Actually, when I eventually heard Strauss's "Zueignung," I recognized my stereotypical "art song.")

Nevertheless, I kept playing the recording. I liked the voice, and I recognized gradually that I liked the songs, even though they were not what I was familiar with and were in a language I had heretofore considered impossibly ugly. And I found them much more to my liking than any of the mainly Italian opera that my high school friend was so devoted to. (He was so disgusted that he wouldn't even discuss this experiment with me.) The recording in question, which has long since been folded into a multivolume Brahms collection on EMI, did not have any of the "big" Brahms songs or cycles on it. It consisted of Op. 32 and other early Lieder, and the songs were to texts by poets I have come to love-- most notably Eichendorff and Rueckert, with some Near Eastern-flavored poems by Platen and Daumer. I don't think I could have chosen a better recording to fall in love with Lieder, because my first love was the small-scale, intimate, lyrical face of Lieder. A cycle like Winterreise most likely would have frightened me away. As it was, I was soon on my way back to Syracuse to buy more recordings. The second was the Schumann Op. 39 Liederkreis and other Eichendorff settings. The next was the incredible Schubert collection with some of the Rellstab songs from Schwanengesang, and F-D's finest performances of "Der Zwerg" and "Im Fruehling."

My parents were utterly baffled by my strange new taste in music. However, they were willing to give house room to Fischer-Dieskau and Moore because they were reasonably easy to listen to and made a nice change from folk music and rock and roll. As I was to discover fairly soon, college room mates were not that tolerant.

Why is it that enthusiasms turn into obsessions for some people? My enthusiasm for Fischer-Dieskau became an obsession very rapidly, I'm afraid.

As is the case with many high school students, I experienced the "wasted senior year." My opera queen friend and I lurked in the school library, aided and abetted by the friendly librarian. I assisted in the creation of many issues of our own opera magazine, called of course Opera Nudes, which was filled with in-jokes that only my friend could understand. He explained them all to me, of course.

I actually went to my first live opera that year, a production of The Magic Flute, in English, at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. My friend, in an excess of high spirits, sang and acted the entire opera single-handedly on the bus on the way back to Hannibal, to the great displeasure of the bus driver. Everyone else pretty much ignored it. However, it was on that very bus trip that a schoolmate told me seriously, "I really liked the opera. It was all that singing I couldn't stand."

Finding food for my F-D obsession was difficult, however. I bought whatever recordings were available. I think it says something for the quality of F-D's Lieder recordings for EMI during that period that I never bought a bad one, even though I was pretty much buying blindly. But there were not that many of them to be had in Syracuse, and I didn't have much money anyway. I listened to my acquisitions constantly. We lived in a house with a completely finished-off basement level, including a bedroom, which was mine. That was a real advantage for the whole family, because I did my Lieder listening away from everyone else. Lieder heard from a distance are quite tolerable to the uninitiated ear, it turns out. My younger sister Patty used to join me for Lieder listening some of the time. She was the one who started calling Fischer-Dieskau "Dieter." Soon he was Dieter to the whole family.

During my hours lurking the school library I combed back issues of the New Yorker and the Saturday Review, looking for mentions of my hero. Occasionally I was rewarded, and the rest of the time I read a lot of good writing on other subjects, so maybe my senior year wasn't quite wasted after all. My opera queen friend, tired of fighting my F-D obsession, coped by adding Fischer-Dieskau to his cast of characters. He began making cameo appearances in Opera Nudes. In my friend's mind, F-D and Gerald Moore became a couple. By this time I had discovered a copy of Gerald Moore's memoirs, Am I Too Loud?, in the public library in nearby Oswego and protested that this was not the case: They were both married to other people. It didn't matter. In Opera Nudes, they were a couple.

When I went off to college in the summer of 1966, Fischer-Dieskau and a small record player went with me. My first room mate did not like having to listen to F-D. We argued about this frequently. To my great good fortune, however, she soon acquired a boyfriend and began spending most of her time in his room. Fischer-Dieskau took over ours.

I hated my first year at Harpur College, now the SUNY University Center at Binghamton. I was homesick and I just couldn't seem to get the hang of college. I kept trying to do things the way I had always done them, and it didn't work. However, Harpur College provided a much better library to lurk in, with many more opportunities for reading about F-D. I confess that I was not always good about using photocopiers (which were much more rare in those days), and I just "disappeared" some of the F-D material. These days, when I listen to my librarian friends complain about how hard college students are on a library collection, I still cringe a bit.

But Harpur College and the city of Binghamton provided other possibilities. There were record stores in Binghamton, and my F-D record collection grew. Die Schöne Muellerin was my first purchase, followed by two more Schubert collections on Angel, all with Gerald Moore, as well as the Brahms folksong settings with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. I also discovered DG (or DGG as it was then), and acquired the Dichterliebe and Op. 24 Liederkreis with Joerg Demus, as well as a further collection of Schumann Lieder. The best resource, however, proved to be the music listening library at the college. After all, how much money did a college freshman have to spend on records? (I can credit F-D for keepng me from taking up smoking, however. After experimenting for about two weeks I determined that the habit would be too expensive and would limit my record-buying ability. So, no more cigarettes.)

The music listening library was a gold mine. I heard Das Lied von der Erde for the first time, with F-D and Murray Dickie under Kletzki. I also listened to Britten's War Requiem. I finally dipped my toe into the waters of Fischer-Dieskau as opera singer with Tannhäuser and Der Fliegende Holländer. The two opera recordings with F-D that absolutely floored me could not have been more opposite to one another: F-D as Papageno in the Boehm Zauberflöte and F-D as Wozzeck on DG.

In my first semester at Harpur College I acquired a few friends who had similarly strange tastes. One was a girl who wanted to be a singer and adored Joan Sutherland. We made a pilgrimage to Philadelphia to hear Sutherland and Horne in Norma and found our way back to Binghamton in one piece. Another was a Geology major who studied a lot more than I considered healthy but who became my closest friend. She had studied German in high school and was continuing her study of the language in college. She was astonished by my repertoire of German words, gleaned from Lieder recordings and the dialog of the Magic Flute. It was she who first made me realize that I could learn German while I was in college, and I registered for a German course for my second semester.

It was a strange freshman year. While everyone else spent their time in the dorm rooms of their boyfriends and staggered back to campus after nights in the bars, I roamed the library and listened to F-D recordings in the listening room of an almost-deserted Music Department Library. My friends and I sent fan letters to our various idols, and I received back a signed photo of Fischer-Dieskau. My friends were impressed.

We listened to a great deal of music during that first college year. Three or four of us would go to the Music Library in the evening and spend hours listening to recordings. One night at closing time we were dashing through the nearly deserted building in a loose gaggle and cannoned into all four members of the Guarneri Quartet, who were in residence at Binghamton that year. A cello (fortunately in its case) hit the floor. With a squawk in unison, the whole bunch of us turned and tore away cartoonlike in the other direction.

The New York City Opera performed La Traviata in the college gymnasium with Beverly Sills and a very young Placido Domingo as Alfredo. We followed that up with a trip to New York City to hear Sills again as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. But the undoubted highlight of my freshman year was our trip to Carnegie Hall to hear Fischer-Dieskau sing Lieder.

I have no clear recollection of how we acquired the tickets to hear Fischer-Dieskau. I do recall that we travelled to New York City by bus. One of my most enduring memories of my freshman year at college is of bus stations. I traveled back and forth from home by Greyhound Bus, and several of our excursions were by the Trailways bus. I don't recall which one brought us to New York, but we disembarked at the Port Authority Terminal and began our great adventure.

This was not my first trip to New York City. I had gone twice to the World's Fair, once with a group of Girl Scouts and the second time with my mother and sisters. But going without adult supervision was a new experience. When we went to hear Beverly Sills at the New York State Theater, I remember looking across the plaza at the Met and thinking of my opera friend from high school, but that was as close to the Met as I got that day. Hearing Fischer-Dieskau took me to Carnegie Hall for the first time.

There were four of us, and we were invited to stay overnight at the home of one of girls, who lived in Brooklyn. As the hour of the concert drew closer, I became more and more silent and apprehensive. What if we went there and he didn't sing because he was sick? Worse yet, what if we went there and he sang and it was terrible? I had not considered such a possibility until it was nearly time for the performance. I had been living and breathing Fischer-Dieskau for more than two years--what if he turned out to be a disappointment? The closer we got to Carnegie Hall, the more scared I got. By the time we were in our seats I could scarcely breathe.

We were there very early and found ourselves sitting in a nearly empty hall. I inspected the program and absorbed the various admonitions about not clapping between songs or turning the pages until each song was over. I read the list of songs to be performed. This was an all-Schumann recital, but none of the songs listed was familiar to me. The texts were printed in the booklet with English translations. I looked at the biographical information--nothing new there. I could have recited F-D's basic biography by heart at the drop of a hat. In fact, I had been known to do so. The advertisements for recordings were more interesting. Maybe there would be time to go shopping before we had to return to Binghamton. Gradually, the hall filled with people.

I had never been in a concert hall that was anything like Carnegie Hall. It seemed huge to me, and my fear rose to panic proportions. This was not going to be like listening to a recording. On the stage was the enormous black Steinway grand piano surrounded by semicircular rows of chairs. We had pretty good seats, but even so the stage seemed miles away, and there was all this cavernous space. One man was going to sing in this and be heard? It seemed impossible.

And there were so many people! Gradually it dawned on me that the seats on the stage were for additional members of the audience. And all of these people were here for the same purpose as I was. Being a Fischer-Dieskau fan had always been a solitary activity, but not this night. I found myself looking around at other members of the audience, curious about how they came to be here. Finally the lights dimmed. The audience grew silent, except for a kind of excited murmur of anticipation. For a few aching moments, nothing happened.

Then a tall man in white tie and tails strode rapidly onto the stage and threaded his way through the rows of stage seats to stand in front of the huge piano. A shorter man followed him. There was a huge wave of applause. He acknowledged the applause but seemed tense and a bit impatient, as if he wanted to get started. Gerald Moore got himself situated at the piano. Fischer-Dieskau looked toward Moore for a few moments, then gave a barely imperceptible nod, and Moore began to play. Fischer-Dieskau turned abruptly toward the audience and began to sing.

I can't really tell you what happened after that. My older sister, who sometimes uses hypnosis in her clinical practice, tells me that the way I concentrate on music and "zone" is very much the same as being hypnotized. This was the first of many Fischer-Dieskau recitals at which I had the feeling of being pulled under the surface and disappearing as long as singer and pianist performed. The first half of the concert left me more than a little dazed. When the second half began, I felt a kind of ache because I knew that the concert would soon be over. The second half went by so quickly. At the end there was long applause, much coming and going by singer and pianist, some encores, even a couple of songs I recognized. Finally, Fischer-Dieskau took a final bow and waved both hands at the audience, a combination of farewell and outright dismissal. The lights went up. It was over.

On the way to Brooklyn by subway, I found it hard to talk. I was still trying to make sense of what seemed like just a jumble of impressions. I felt exhilarated, but I also felt bereft. There was nothing left to anticipate. It was over.

 A very few lasting impressions remain in my memory. One is that, in fact, the size of the hall turned out to have no effect on the impact of the performance. I had the feeling that F-D was singing only to me, that there was some kind of invisible bond that linked us across that considerable distance as long as the performance lasted. A second is that his voice was much more attractive live than on recordings, more full and rounded, without the sharp edge or nasal quality you sometimes hear in his recorded voice. And there seemed to be nothing he couldn't do with that voice. The dynamic range and variety of vocal colors seemed limitless. A third is that Fischer-Dieskau turned out to be much better looking than I had imagined. All of the photographs I had seen of him to that time depicted a somewhat demonic version of the Pillsbury Doughboy. He turned out to be a tall, broad-shouldered vigorous-looking man of very youthful appearance. This discovery did not exactly serve to curb my enthusiasm. Finally, I found him incredibly intimidating--there was nothing of the warm fuzzy about him. Despite the round, boyish face and the dimples, he projected an aura of tension and extreme reserve, and he never seemed entirely comfortable in his own body, an observation I have confirmed on numerous occasions.

When my friends suggested that we should try to get Fischer-Dieskau's autograph, I vetoed the proposal. At that point, I was not willing to risk having my "perfect" image of Fischer-Dieskau shattered by finding out that he was rude or unfriendly or had B.O. or any other unattractive feature I might imagine. I wanted to take my positive experience of the concert home and cherish it. And as it turned out, even the boldest of my friends was sufficiently intimated by F-D in the flesh that after the concert was over no one really wanted to go backstage.

We stayed overnight in Brooklyn at the home of one of the girls I had attended the concert with. The next day her father told me that he had been very distressed when his daughter told him that she was going to hear Fischer-Dieskau and that he still did not feel right about it. They were Jews whose family had suffered terribly at the hands of Germans and he thought it was wrong to listen to those songs in that language, sung by a man who had been there during that time. I was speechless. He was clearly upset and so was I. I didn't have an answer for him, and I felt bad. I don't think it would have helped my feelings of confusion and inner struggle to have known how many other Jews had been in that overflow audience at Carnegie Hall the night before. Even if I had known, I couldn't have said that to him.

 The next day we took the bus back to Binghamton. Soon after, my freshman year ended and I went home. I had already decided that I was not returning to Harpur College for my second year. The little record player and a greatly expanded F-D record collection went home in boxes in the cargo hold of a Greyhound Bus.

It had long since been decided that I would not return to Harpur College for my second year of college but would transfer to SUNY at Oswego and live at home. I was happy, because I had never really gotten to like Binghamton, although my grades certainly improved during my second semester, and my father was happy because he simply couldn't see the point of paying money to live somewhere else when you had a home to live in.

However pleased my parents might have been to have me back, they were adamant on one point: I was not going to sit around for the nearly six-month period until the next college semester began in Oswego, I would have to find a job. After some difficulty, I got a job at Dey Brothers, a now defunct department store in Syracuse. My first job was to be "Debbie Blake," a telephone shopping salesperson. Taking orders over the phone from newspaper advertisements was a piece of cake; unfortunately, the other part of being Debbie Blake was to act as a kind of personal shopper for people who wanted to buy gifts, for example, and wanted suggestions. I was not very good at this. At 18, I didn't care about things unless they were black vinyl discs with holes in the center. I soon got myself transferred to the credit department.

I traveled to Syracuse every day on the bus to work and had to work a good many nights and weekends. The sole compensation was my proximity to record stores and to the main branch of the Onondaga County Public Library. I recall buying, among others, the delightful album of duets with Victoria de los Angeles and F-D, as well as Gerald Moore's farewell concert. However, my record buying was somewhat limited because I had to accumulate enough money to buy a car so that I would be able to commute from Fulton to Oswego to go to college in the fall.

Even though I had to watch my purchases, it was during this period that I bought my first books about Fischer-Dieskau. The first was a small biography with pictures by Friedrich Herzfeld published by Rembrandt Verlag. I had ordered this while still in Binghamton. It arrived in Fulton while I was working at Dey Brothers. It was in German, of course, and it was clear that one semester of German language study was not enough to read it. This strengthened my resolve to continue learning German. The second book, also published by Rembrandt Verlag, was mostly pictures. It included an interview with Fischer-Dieskau and essays about his career as an opera singer by Werner Oehlmann and an appreciation by Joerg Demus. More incentive to improve my German! I honestly do not recall how these German books found their way to Fulton, New York, any more than I recall how I obtained concert tickets with relative ease. It seemed as if there was nothing that was too hard to accomplish in support of my FiDi passion.

I started my second year of college in Oswego in the fall of 1967. Things were very different at Oswego. Harpur College had pretensions to be an elite liberal arts college, while Oswego had just become an arts and sciences college after three quarters of a century as first a normal school, then a teacher's college. Nelson Rockefeller's dream of public higher education in New York State was at its peak, and the taxpayers' money was being spent lavishly. Oswego had a new campus, lots of new bright young faculty from all over the country, and lots of new majors and courses. In those early years, however, the School of Education still dominated the landscape in every sense of the word. Practically everyone I knew was either an elementary education major or studying Industrial Arts Education. My father thought I should become a school teacher, so of course I immediately declared a major in one of the arts and sciences disciplines.

The time working with adults at Dey Brothers had wrought a significant change in me. All of the things that had defeated me as a freshman, most notably time management and taking responsibility for my work, were no longer a problem. I had my own bedroom at home, and no one disturbed me. The little record player and F-D took their places in this new room, but I had to be circumspect because my parents' room was right next door, and it occurred to me that they might not want to be serenaded at all hours-- a hard lesson learned from my dormitory experience. All of a sudden going to college was a piece of cake. The only setback came in my first semester, when I learned at registration that the German language course I needed would not be offered until the spring semester. Dutifully following the professor's suggestion, I bought a copy of the textbook and reviewed it during the intersession so that I would be ready for the course.

I had landed in Oswego as a French major. In those days, there was none of this wimpy "undecided" nonsense, you started college with a major or else. Everyone I knew declared themselves an English major because it seemed pretty safe. I was always a smartass, so I declared myself a French major instead. I discovered only one problem with that--French majors had to study French. By my third semester of college I had decided this was not for me, so I became a history major, which was much more satisfactory. In the spring of 1968 I took my second German course and made good progress. I signed up for another course without a second thought.

A few things stand out in this final three years of college. In June of 1968, I spent three weeks up to my knees in mud participating in an archaeological field school in northern New York. While I grubbed little pot sherds out of the dirt, the BBC film The Golden Ring was broadcast on PBS and I couldn't watch it. My sister Patty watched it in my place and sent me an admirably detailed report, with appropriate focus on Fischer-Dieskau, of course. As I recall, she called him "Dieder" throughout the entire letter.

In October of 1968, I went to Carnegie Hall to hear F-D sing Die Schöne Müllerin with Norman Shetler at the piano. This had been preceded by some newspaper reports of F-D's marriage to a young American student. This was of interest, of course. I looked at the photographs in the newspaper. She was a very beautiful girl. Was I jealous? Not exactly. I was curious about F-D's personal life, all the more so because he kept it very private, but I had never entertained fantasies of being Mrs. F-D. I realized dimly that my obsession with Fischer-Dieskau, although it had its sexual element, was a bit more complex. The fact was, I didn't want to sleep with Fischer-Dieskau, I wanted to be Fischer-Dieskau.

One thing that did begin to occur to me around this time was that F-D's life was perhaps not so neat and tidy as it appeared in the press. I has read what Gerald Moore had to say about him, and there were articles about him in High Fidelity and Stereo Review from the early 1960's that I had searched out and read. In all of these, F-D emerged as an insufferably worthy individual. I had to admit that I couldn't figure out how I had become attached to such a paragon. From one of my Rembrandt Verlag books I knew that F-D had been previously married to Irmgard Poppen, who had died in childbirth, which did nothing to harm the prevailing Romantic image of F-D, and subsequently to a film actress, Ruth Leuwerik. When The Sound of Music was immensely popular on Broadway, somebody got the bright idea of distributing an amalgam of the two original German Trapp Family films that had inspired the musical, and Ruth Leuwerik was Maria Trapp in those films. I had seen The Trapp Family long before I knew who F-D was and had been very favorably impressed with Ruth Leuwerik, a beautiful and talented actress. It seemed a colossal coincidence that F-D should be married to someone I recognized. But not for long. Now he was married for the third time.

For quite a while, it was important for me that F-D should be perfect, even though being perfect made him just a bit boring. All these marital adventures suggested that perhaps he was not perfect after all. I really wasn't ready to deal with that at 19, but there would come a time when I would be very relieved to acknowledge that F-D was no paragon after all. When I was a college kid, however, I would have battled anyone who cast aspersions on my hero, and persons who expressed a preference for Hermann Prey, for example, were scarcely to be tolerated.

Something quite strange happened to me when I got to be a junior. The chair of the Foreign Languages Department called me into his office and proposed to me that I should major in German. I liked the idea, and I was astonished that someone thought I was doing good work and wanted me to continue. So German became my second major, along with History, and I plunged into advanced language courses and literature courses. They were difficult, but I already had quite an extensive background in German literature due to my Lieder and opera listening. And my pronunciation of the German language was close to exemplary. Why wouldn't it be? I had been immersed in the best possible language laboratory since I had been in high school. F-D was proving to have a practical value I had never anticipated.

When it came time to think of going to graduate school, I followed my German professors' urging and applied to German programs. My history professors thought this was quite odd, but none of them had ever suggested that I do graduate work in history! The chair of the Language department, who had appointed himself my mentor, wanted me to get accepted into a prestige institution. I was accepted at Harvard, which was exactly what he had hoped for. However, Harvard did not want to give me any money, and I was sufficiently my father's daughter to not want to pay for something that someone else was willing to give me for free. So I accepted a four-year University Fellowship from the Ohio State University. Before I went to Columbus, however, I spent a summer studying German in Austria, which gave me additional opportunities to pursue my FiDi passion.


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