MT. VERNON — —
Dr. Sax will now have more time to play music.
As of July 31, Dr. Solomon Apostol is now a retired internist (specialist in internal medicine). Originally from the Phillipines, he has been in the United States since 1975, including the last 24 years in Mt. Vernon.
Many of you may recall that I wrote about him in this space a couple of years ago and Register-News writer Rick Hayes wrote extensively about him in 1997.
Dr. Sax said that becoming a doctor was not part of his original plan.
"It was not my choice," said Apostol. "My father made that choice for me. He told me to pursue medicine."
"My ambition when I was young was to be a professional musician," he said. "My father helped me prepare for that. My mother taught me how to sing when I was very young, and I was then a vocal solo contestant in grade school up through fifth grade. When I was in sixth grade, my father told me to switch to instrumental music, so he bought me my first clarinet and sent me to my uncle who was a bandleader in my hometown. I underwent eight intensive months of clarinet lessons, seven days a week, two hours a day. After eight months, my uncle said that I was ready to play with the band, and I went on tours with them in neighboring towns and cities. I played professionally throughout high school."
But then, his life took an abrupt change when his father made a choice for him.
"When I graduated from high school in 1962, another uncle, who was also a bandleader, was under contract to play in Hong Kong. He wanted me to be one of his sidemen," recalled Apostol. "When my father heard that, he said 'you're not going anywhere, I'm sending you to pre-med. You have no choice, I have decided that for you.'"