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.
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?