Antheil writes about his early piano experiences

In 1910 my mother unaccountably commenced giving me piano lessons herself, teaching me what little she had already learned. Why and however she came to do this I am totally at loss to say. Mother is the most unpredictable person in the world, still all over her actions have ever seemed to have a deep and unreasoned logic, fundamentally sound. In any case I now thrilled to the learning of how to read real printed notes, to do that thing which I had so desperately wanted to do when I was but three and a half years old. That, however, was now an eon away; I was now ten years old.

Mother nevertheless stipulated that under no conditions was I to practice more than one hour a day – a obviously a very difficult condition. I now practiced from seven to eight every evening. I would have stayed glued to the piano all day had my school work and my mother permitted me to do so. 


Antheil writes about working at the family shoe store in Trenton

One of my fellow shoe clerks, a very likeable young fellow with a bright cheery Jimmy Cagney manner, was later to become the most blood-curdling gangster of New Jersey….

I meanwhile, placidly worked in the shoestore, content with the idea that its slight income afforded me everything in life I wanted most. Whenever a young lady customer became too demanding and had me tear out half of our women’s stock for her, I would innocently bring out a pair of men’s hip boots and suggest that I try them on her. This would invariably so confuse her that I would soon thereafter be rid of her – without complaint to our management.

Around about this time the boys at school nicknamed me “Angel Face”. This was to remain my nickname until I eventually left Trenton.