I was acquainted with James, who was African-American, for almost two years. I treated his wife Margaret in a Harlem mental clinic for depression, which she suffered after her son committed suicide. James was sixteen years older than his forty-five year old wife but looked like a youngster. He was slim, fit, and basically in great shape. I was impressed by his hipster style from the thirties of the last century. He preferred fashionable jackets with patch pockets, loose shirts with raised collars, and narrow-toed shiny shoes.
James worked in show business, and not just that, but he was the owner of the recording studio Magic Music Corp. for more than thirty years. Once upon a time he recorded music on vinyl records, and now on CD and electronically.
James loved various types of music, as long as it was a “good product,” he liked to say. He recorded jazz, spirituals, rock, and folk. The walls in his studio had vinyl records which he’d recorded and received prizes for.
James had an egg-shaped head with tiny coiled black hair. He was tall. He waltzed down the wide halls and rooms of the studio like a showman, with flapping folds of his unbuttoned jacket . Here James also had a school of audio recording, teaching whoever was willing to work with this damn difficult equipment—which cost, in his words, two million dollars.
As previously stated, I met James thanks to his wife, who was so severely depressed after her son’s suicide that she ate nonstop, had insomnia, and even started to hallucinate. James drove Margaret to the sessions at the clinic himself and courteously waited for her in the hall, showing enviable care.
Margaret was his third wife, not counting numerous past lovers. They had no children in common. Margaret was never a great beauty, but after the tragedy with her son she completely lost her womanly charms and stopped taking care of herself. But James, notwithstanding all this, remained insanely devoted.
One year after the tragedy, Margaret started to return to normal little by little, even smiling sometimes. She was one of the first and most successful patients of mine. My internship was over by then, but we stayed in touch. Sometimes we called each other. Occasionally I came to James’ studio. Grateful for my help and notwithstanding my total lack of an ear for music or a good singing voice, James persistently offered for me to record my solo concert, even ready to provide backup singers and accompaniment free of charge.