Sunday, October 12, 2008

Put Another Nickel In, In the Nickelodeon

Put another nickel in,
In the nickelodeon,
All I want is lovin' you,
And music! music! music!

Anybody else remember that song? It was recorded by Teresa Brewer and the Dixieland All Stars back in 1950. Now, mind you, I'm not THAT old that I remember her singing it, but because I had a musical sister that was 11 years older than me, I cut my teeth on "that" kind of music.

The only reason all that came to mind is because (in case you haven't got your sound turned up) I put a little jukebox thingie on my blog. I don't know if I like it or not so I thought I'd let my readers decide if I should keep it there. I love the music, but sometimes I find it kind of distracting when I'm trying to read. Let me know what you think, K?

I think I've previously written about music in my life. It's just always been there. Forever. Like I said, I cut my teeth on music. My sister, being 11 years older than me, spent a lot of time taking care of me. We lived on the farm then, and my Mother would have to spend time out in the barnyard taking care of animals, etc., and on occasion helping my Dad in the fields. I then became Big Sister's charge and one of the ways she would entertain me was to set me on her lap and play the piano. Apparently I instantly fell asleep, so either she was awful (which I doubt) or I found it very relaxing. It was one of those great big old upright pianos that took 16 men to move.

Many years later when my sister was married and had a family of her own, she managed to have the piano moved from our old farmhouse to her home. She wanted it in the basement family room because of its size. They had to knock a wall out in order to get it down there, and when she moved from that house she decided to just leave it because it was too much trouble to get it out. Her daughter and SIL bought the house and didn't want the monstrosity, so they took axes and hammers and chopped it into pieces to carry it out that way. I could have cried. I would have taken it but at that time had no place to put it. It looks not so good, but it still sounded wonderful. It had that old rinky-tink sound and the player mechanism still worked. That alone made it quite valuable.

When we left the farm we couldn't move the piano with us, and my sister was missing her music a lot. We were living in Pierre, SD in an 8x32 foot trailer house at the time. Yes, Folks, I'm Trailer Trash. I've written about my Gypsy growing up years previously, but if any new readers want to hear about them I'm sure I can come up with a few more stories. Anyway, I vividly remember the night my Dad went downtown to the music store and came home with a 12-base accordion that my sister taught herself to play. And of course I was right there absorbing as much as I could also.

That's my friend, Pam, holding the accordion and me with the fiddle. I don't remember where that came from, but I do remember having a lot of fun with it and driving everyone crazy. I think we were probably 5 when this picture was taken.

It didn't take long and my sister out-grew the little 12-base and my Dad decided to trade up and one day came home with this:

Oh, how I ooo'd and ahhh'd over it - it was all gold metal flake and sparkled all over. By this time I was about 6 or so, barely big enough to see over the top of it when Big Sister strapped it on me. And certainly not strong enough to stand up and hold it. But I pecked away and picked up quickly what she taught me. By this time we were living in a Little Town outside of a Big City, and my Dad decided it was time for me to take accordion lessons. So he bought me my own 12-base and enrolled me in a music conservatory where I took lessons every Saturday morning for 6 years. This is the building, today being used as an events center.

My lessons were up on the third floor (of course) and I so vividly remember having to haul my accordion up those LONG, LONG stairs. All the ceilings in this building were 15 feet, so you can imagine how long those stairs were, especially for a little kid hauling something that heavy. Here's a picture of the room that I had my lessons in. I attended a wedding there a couple of years ago, and the room still looks the same.

By this time I had graduated from a 12-base to a full-sized accordion. So - heavier and bigger. Over the years I actually wore the poor thing out. I played in a dance band for a period of time, so I got into a lot of interesting situations. Somewhere in my archives there's an entry about playing at a roadhouse that had chicken wire over the stage. There were some interesting situations those nights, believe me.

My sister wore her gold accordion out also, and replaced it with this.

And when she died her kids were cleaning her house out and were going to throw it in the trash. I couldn't handle that, so I took it home. It still works fine, although a couple of the reeds have a tendency to stick on occasion. I haven't played either hers or mine for years, they're stuck away in a closet gathering dust bunnies.

Yes, I have a piano in my house, too. I never took any formal piano lessons, but I manage to plink away now and then. I bought it for Lovely Daughter who took lessons for a few years and then lost interest. Ole bought me an electronic keyboard a couple of years ago for my birthday. I enjoy fiddling around on that more than the piano.

Speaking of fiddling - I did take violin lessons from the time I was in third grade until I reached my junior year in high school. I sat first chair the entire time I was in high school, but was never really happy in the orchestra. You see, I wanted to "fiddle" not play all this classical garbage that the teacher wanted us to play. Don't get me wrong - I love to listen to classical music, I just don't want to play it. I love things like Orange Blossom Special, Wabash Cannon Ball, - those kinds of things. I guess you could call it Hillbilly music. And of course that kind of music was unheard of in orchestra class back then. So when I was signing up for my senior year of classes I didn't sign up for orchestra. You see, there was this guy by the name of Ole that had come into my life when I was a senior, and I just didn't have time for everything, so orchestra lost out.

But that's another story.

So you see, music has been a big part of my life since the day I was born.

PS: Sorry I get so long-winded. Just tell me to shut-up, okay?


harrietv said...

YES. Music all my life. Played the violin for seven or eight years. Always wanted a piano, but we couldn't afford one. We had the fiddle, because -- I actually wrote about it:

But Teresa Brewer. I do indeed remember hearing her sing. "Music, Music, Music" was so popular our teacher let us sing it in school. Sixth grade, I believe.

Anonymous said...

I love reading life stories like this...and others you've written about your childhood.

That must have been interesting, attending a wedding in the same room where you took lessons!

Melanie a/k/a junkmel1

P.S. I have computer woes, and all my saved passwords, etc. are gone...Blogger says I don't have the right password...phooey.

StitchinByTheLake said...

I was only 4 years old when Teresa Brewer recorded that song but I remember hearing it as a child. I loved hearing your memories of music. blessings, marlene

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Lena and Her Squeeze Box. There. I just named your new band!

shear said...

I love the jukebox on your page! (so does Hubby--he's tapping his foot right now) It's amazing how polka music and cajun music sound so much alike.

Carolyn said...

These entries are my favorite kind. I love music and enjoy listening to just about any type. But, I don't have a musical bone in my body. My poor Grama gave me lessons in just about every musical instrument she could think of, but I never managed to be even mediocre. Somehow the family music gene skipped a generation and Shelby is the musical one. She sings, plays guitar and the trumpet. Your remark about not enjoying playing the violin reminds me of her. She loved playing the trumpet until her band director left and the new one did away with the jazz band. Shelby had no interest in playing any type of music but jazz.

~ Sil in Corea said...

The jukebox is a great idea. If I find it distracting, I can always turn the volume down. A Big IF.

Music is a big part of my life, too. I took fiddle and piano lessons, played in the H. S. marching band (snares) and, later, did a lot of carting my boys around to play in drum & bugle corps. I also love playing a keyboard, the musical kind, as well as the computer kind, lol.

A lot of the cajuns' ancestors came from Brittany, a Celtic-settled area, so there are musical connections with Ireland and Scotland. A schottische is in the Scottish style. Scotland, France and Poland had lots of musical connections. Fredric Chopin is just one example; he composed several songs based on Scottish melodies.

capitolady said...

That place looks familiar... :) I think :)

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