Having moved away from Oberlin for 20 years after high school, the one thing I’m not surprised about after returning is running into people who ask me if I am “Geof and Bruce’s brother.”
I bumped into Hassan Allen at the winter market at Eastwood Elementary School a few weeks ago as he was playing the piano in the corner as shoppers milled around the tables. He was amazing, but for all I knew he was just a guy who knew how to play the piano. We nodded at each other.
A week or two later, walking down College Street, I bumped into him and asked him if I could interview him. He asked me, or knew enough to suggest that I was “Bruce and Geof’s brother.”
Turns out Hassan had been a student at the Oberlin Conservatory in the early 1990s, a little bit more of which I found out about in the intervening time as we saw each other at the Feve one weekend.
Hassan and I found a spot to meet with access to a piano a couple of weeks ago and by the end he shared a couple of tunes.
I’m grateful for my brothers’ networking, although I doubt they called it that at the time.