My Dad

Bertram Camp Bruce

Bertram Camp Bruce

Today is the centennial of my father’s birth. He lived not much over half of that century, a period that has grown shorter in my eyes with each passing year.

Dad loved music in many forms–opera, chamber, symphonic, piano, vocal, jazz, Big Band, and more. Around 1950, he opened Bruce Piano Company. The store sold Steinways and provided pianos for performers visiting the Fort Worth Symphony and Opera.

We often argued during the years that were to be his last and my first as a nominal adult. There were the perennial favorites of politics and religion, but special features such as how I didn’t understand what it meant to grow up in the Great Depression, what was wrong with contemporary pop music, and how I would benefit from more direction in my life.

I’m stubborn like Dad was, so my views probably haven’t changed much since then. Still, I’d give a lot to have the briefest time with him again, even if it were an argument. I might even be able to listen better.

My Dad was a good husband, father, friend, and community member. At his funeral, our minister quoted Jesus, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good.”

On the whole, I have fond memories and few regrets. However, one big regret is that he knew his children only as teenagers, and never met any of his six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. I know that he would have been very proud of all of them, and that they would have richer lives knowing him.

8 thoughts on “My Dad

  1. Your dad was an alumna of Sigma Nu at University of Texas of which I’m an alum.. I believe I remember shopping at Bruce Music in the late 60s as a young teenager.


  2. From a very lucky child, grateful also to be a grandchild of the special person you’ve so beautifully described: in addition to celebrating this meaningful centennial, I’m looking forward to celebrating him in song soon, too, with family time together at Thanksgiving. Even without ever meeting him, he’s so often on my mind because of music.


  3. Dear Chip and family –/Thanks so much for that lovely, warm note about your Dad. I know what a wonderful man he was — just look at his great children and grandchildren — I never look or talk to any of them without thinking “how proud he would be to know what great, good people you all are! Loads of love to you and your family and thanks a million for that lovely photo of your Dad! Your old Mother-in=law, Rhoda


  4. I have a friend who was raised Greek Orthodox. She believes the ‘communion of saints’ applies to ‘both sides’…that is, you can ‘commune’ with those who have gone on before. If so, I suspect your Dad already knows his grandkids and is very pleased with how you’ve turned out. Only a matter of time before we all find out. Meanwhile, enjoy making memories to share (with us all). Thanks for the post.


  5. Fathers have an impact on your life no matter how long or short the time they are able too share.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful message…i, too, woud give anything for a few minutes with my Dad so he could see who I have become and hope that he would be prooud of my choices!

    We had the same arguments over life, religion, politics, etc!


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