I returned to Philadelphia from Spokane in December 1979 to spend Christmas break with my family. In early January 1980, at the end of Christmas break, my mother drove me to the Philadelphia Airport, where I took a flight back to Spokane.
I remember that was a Sunday afternoon. I remember that because I can recall listening to the weekly broadcast of the Philadelphia Orchestra during the automobile ride. Philadelphia classical music radio station WFLN (now defunct) used to broadcast Philadelphia Orchestra concerts from 2:00 to 4:00 PM every Sunday afternoon.
I can still remember the music that comprised that Philadelphia Orchestra broadcast. I remember the Orchestra performed Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony, a tragically mournful piece. Uncannily, I had the premonition, listening to the music, that something terrible was about to happen. In fact, my mother died a few days later. My ride to the Philadelphia Airport that Sunday afternoon in early January 1980 was the last time I saw my mother.
An aria from Catalani's opera, La Wally seems to encapsulate these events with uncanny verisimilitude:
Ah well then! I shall go far away
Like the echo of the pious church-bell goes away,
There somewhere in the white snow;
There amongst the clouds of gold,
There where hope, hope
Is regret, is regret, is sorrow!
O from my mother's cheerful house
I am about to go away from you, from you!
Quite far away, and perhaps to you,
And perhaps to you, will never more return,
Nor ever more see you again!
Never again, never again!
I will go away alone and far,
There, somewhere in the white snow, I shall go,
I will go away alone and far
And amongst the clouds of gold!