We left Toronto at midnight and arrived at Buffalo early on Sunday morning - an easy trip today, but in those days a tedious one, sitting up all night without sound sleep, as for me, the night ride did not drag greatly for I had new thoughts and was as ambitious as my companions. The anticipation of playing cornet in a professional orchestra with older musicians not only thrilled me, but seemed to arouse within me the spirit of manhood, and from that time on I began to mature mentally. We three brothers comprised the youth of the company, Ernest, the trombonist, was only a young man; Ed, quite young for a director, was eighteen, while of course I was the youngest. The other players were men quite old enough to have been my father, and all of them passed away years ago, but before their passing (and after I had become known as a cornet player with Gilmore's Band) I met them many times and we talked about the days when I was the "kid of the orchestra."
As previously stated, our engagement was with the Baker and Farron Company, who operated a Summer Garden in Buffalo, where we played from eight to twelve every night. At first it was a wonderful and broadening experience: Ed's orchestra played all kinds of music and my salary often dollars a week looked like a "young fortune" to me. But all this changed, for under the cold comfort of continual boarding-house living the glamour of the new life soon wore off, and I began to think what it meant to a boy; to beconstantly in the midst of home comforts and the affection of parents. I tried not to dwell gloomily on these thoughts, but they would not be quieted.
When the excitement and newness of my position had worn entirely off, and as I became more and more impressed with the difference between the environments of a strange place and those under which I had lived and been brought up, genuine homesickness began to creep in. One night when my thoughts and feelings had become all but unbearable, I told Ed how horribly homesick I actually was, and added that if he didn't get a substitute for me soon I would throw myself into the lake. Don't smile. Remember that I was a musically sensitive boy of only fifteen who never before had been out of his home surroundings.
I so thoroughly enjoyed playing the cornet at night that I forgot everything gloomy, but with the whole day to myself I had nothing to do but think! After playing for a month, Ed wrote Duncan McNabb (a cornet player in Toronto) who came on to replace me, and I returned - home! Upon arriving there I cried quietly to myself for sheer happiness in knowing that I was back again where there was nothing but love and kindness. I at once began practicing harder than ever, but with a new experience behind the practic, and, upon resuming my school work in the following fall, I devoted myself more seriously to study, with a new appreciation of what a good education means to a boy.