About Daniel Gracely
Biography written by Daniel Gracely in 2009
Revised by Seana Wood in 2016
Born and raised in South Jersey about 20 miles southeast of Philadelphia and an hour from the Jersey shore, Dan is youngest of four children, three of whom survived infancy. He accepted Christ as his personal Savior when he was four. He grew up in a typical Christian-family home, and had the added benefit of living next door to his aunt and his Dad’s twin brother, Elwyn, who was like a second father to the kids. To Dan, it felt as if they were spoiled every Christmas...with two Christmas trees and presents under each. In his daily life, Dan watched his father and uncle in the daily grind of running their plumbing and heating supply business. All of the family was involved with working in the business at one time or another.
Dan started college at age 20, attending Philadelphia College of Bible (now Philadelphia Biblical University). Then, he transferred to Glassboro State College (now Rowan University). He finished his B.A. in Music Composition at Reform-founded Geneva College in western Pennsylvania. As a busy student and musician, he enjoyed and took refuge in playing college tennis at PCB and Geneva. Around this time, Dan made an album of contemporary music (copyright 1983). He performed as a singer songwriter at regional coffee houses.
Dan's life changed again, when he moved to pursue his Masters at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Here he studied under his favorite professor, Dr. Joseph Wilcox Jenkins. To this day, Dan still remembers Dr. Jenkins's golden-nugget sayings like “The secret of Stravinsky is that he moved harmony slowly” or “Bartok learned to relax at the end of his life” or “Some people even object to God; why shouldn’t they object to you."
As part of the Masters requirement, Dan wrote a large-scale work The Winter Piano Concerto, and was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play excerpts of it in concert with the Duquesne University Orchestra.
The next opportunity that Dan excitingly embraced...he became a Ph.D. student in art history at SUNY-Binghamton. After 36 graduate hours, discouraged, he left the program. Struggling with finances and the small but strongly socialist-minded department. He felt that the department concerned itself more with the moneyed sponsors behind “visual culture” than about the connoisseurship of art. Dispiriting describes the seemingly pointless work, for example, the assignment to write a paper on the Third World housing in Kingston, Jamaica. Dan felt the reason behind the assignment was an art history professor had made a tenuous connection between architecture and ‘land allotment.’ Dan would not continue a program that lacks the vision and values that one would expect.
Moving forward from student life to teaching, Dan moved to the Chicago area, for a year. He taught a few art history courses at Judson College, a Christian college. At the same time, he worked at a home improvement center.
Dan felt a pull to return to home in New Jersey to run his Dad’s plumbing business with his brother David. Unfortunately, like every other small plumbing, hardware, or electrical supply in town, they eventually folded up in the competition with the big box stores like Home Depot, Builders Square, Hechinger’s, Grossman’s, Sears Hardware, Channel’s, et al. Dan points out, "Years later, on a Home Depot application for work, I was confronted with the question of why I left my employment. I simply wrote in, Home Depot."
After they closed the plumbing supply business, he decided to rehab the old building and re-open the building as a used book store. Eventually, he added a custom picture framing service to his business.
After 7 or 8 years, his family sold the building. Dan moved the books offsite for online selling. Some months later, he opened up a small picture framing business in a nearby town.
Did you write other books?
"Over the years I’ve self-published a few Sherlock Holmes pastiches, and written another book called FAMILY DIRT: The Nitty-Gritty of 'Trash' and Dubious Yard Sales.
In what ways do you use your formal education?
"Well, I’m probably a better composer than writer, but I remain discouraged about the low demand for new Classical music, and since I find composing much more intense and difficult than writing, I pretty much avoid it. I do have a simple, short piece Monet Sky you can hear online at SeptemberRoseStudio.com The tempo runs somewhat slower than intended in order to accommodate the slide presentation."
How about that wonderful wife?
"And now for my better half! I met a Christian woman named Alison some sixteen years ago, and we got married ‘afore long. I’ll admit it took me a while to realize she was quite a gal, until, of course, I figured out she was putting up with all my shenanigans instead of kicking me to the curb (and making good on her threats). We have no children but over the years have had one dog and three cats."
How did this book come to life?
"I began writing this book, in the year of my father’s death. I had never intended to write such a book, but I’ll leave those details to the Preface, and to the Interlude between Chapters 6 and 7."
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"So then, as Porky Pig would say, having run out of segues (but whose main attribute I am somewhat resembling these days), “That’s all folks!” - Dan