When I was a kid, I felt that I had everything I needed. Half of my clothes were hand-me-downs and the rest my mom sewed. I didn’t get a new bike until my twelfth birthday and the bike I had before that? You wouldn’t even believe it if I told you, but her name was Daisy. (Maybe that will be another blog.) We didn’t have many toys because we had ten acres in our backyard and 40 acres across the road to roam and have adventures. When it was too cold or too dark outside, we had the basement.
Dad had built a pool table in the middle of the room, which could be covered to use for ping-pong. We also had the magical dollhouse which Dad had made us one year for Christmas. And when we tired of all of that, we had the piano.
The piano in my parent’s basement was beautiful, an antique that Dad had picked up at a bar years before I was born. It was a tall upright with wood carvings. He brought it home and down the stairs before there was a corner in the stairs, so that the piano basically was never going to leave. After many years in the dampness, it was warped and out of tune beyond repair.
My sister Pat and I didn’t care though. We had a few old music books and we taught ourselves to play the easier songs. One of the books was of Christmas carols and we divided all of the songs up, the ones marked with blue were for Pat to play and I had the ones marked with red. I have no idea why we did that or how we decided who got what songs. We only picked the carols which we knew, so that without knowing the meanings of all of the musical notations, we could still figure out how to play them reasonably well.
When my mom sold their house, one of my big regrets was leaving that piano behind. I kept the music books, though. And I actually don’t think it was until I was on my own with my own piano that I taught myself to play the Christmas carols marked in blue.