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Archive for the ‘Nostalgia’ Category

I’m not really sure what tone this post should take.  It could be sad or happy.  The best word would be bittersweet, I guess.

The times they are a-changing, and with those time we too must change, make adjustments, and relinquish physical objects that hold many memories.

It was a big day at my parents’ house, Husby and I were there to give support and provide assistance.  I could say it was the day the music died, but it’s more accurate to say it was the day the piano found a new home.

The piano cost $400 when it was purchased new.  I have no idea what year that was.  It was owned by the Sisters of St. Joseph, the nuns who taught school and gave the children of St. Mary’s school piano lessons inside the convent.  Oh that convent!  That’s another story though.  The sisters eventually passed it on/sold it to my mom’s aunt and uncle.  I have no idea how long they had it, but at some point, almost five decades ago the piano was given to my parents and found a place in my childhood home.

It’s an old piano and a very big one at that – a Stark upright grand.  The room in which it was housed was dubbed “the piano room.”  My mom played that piano for pleasure for many years and taught me and my sister how to play until we got so good we needed instructions from other people.  Oh the countless scales I practiced, and moved from reading music for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to the works of Chopin, Bartok, Bach and many other great composers.

Alas, the time came when the piano room must once again become a bedroom, which it was before the piano arrived so many, many years ago.  In order for it to become a bedroom again, the piano had to go.  Away.  Out of the house.

 

Skinny hallway

Donated to Keys for Kids, easier than selling and given to a wonderful charity, the piano left my childhood home.  The moving guys were fabulous and did the job without a nick to the walls or dirt to the carpet, and in record time.

Piano movers amaze me.  I know they do it every day, but still.  One of the guys moving the piano injured his back on the last job – he got to carry the bench out to the truck.  But he also got to be the spotter/reinforcement as the piano was wheeled down the ramp.

I had a little chat with one of the mover guys, telling him I learned to play on that piano.  He told me a couple of stories about the pianos he’s moved.  One was of an old woman who’s husband played, and when he died she donated the piano to Keys for Kids.  She cried the whole time they moved that piano out of her house.  It was as if the last remnant of her husband left her house with the piano.  My heart nearly broke.  The mover guy said they see lots of cases like this, and I feel like they’re compassionate and gentle when they move these pieces of history and personal attachment.

Away goes the piano of my youth.  I wasn’t overly emotional about it as I have two pianos in own my house.  The thing is, I haven’t played in years.  I was damn good at the keyboard, and there’s no reason I shouldn’t bring more music to my house and to my life.

The digital. A college graduation gift from my entire family, which saved my sanity and brought me joy in hard times. Plus, it has a plug for headphones for practicing!

 

The big one. Similar to the one donated by my parents. This one was given to me by a friend who gave it to me for the cost of moving it from her house to mine. It’s not been tuned since I received it nearly twenty years ago. Who cares? It’s a lovely piece of furniture and sounds really old-timey.

This event, my witnessing and support of the removal of the piano of my childhood, has inspired me to take to the keyboard again while I’m able.  Music is divinity, and I think my parents would be happy and proud to see me play again.  After all, it was their piano that introduced me to the glory of music.

P.S. to Mom and Dad ~  After my time with you during the piano removal I saw a black squirrel run across my back yard.  Seemed to be a sign.  Diggy says make that room into a bedroom again.  It’s right and good.

 

 

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Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction is holding me fast,
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?

Can’t keep my eyes from the circling sky
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit, I

Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought, I thought of everything
No navigator to find my way home
Unladen, empty and turned to stone
A soul in tension that’s learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try

Can’t keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

[Spoken:]
Friction lock – set. Mixture – rich. Propellers – fully forward. Flaps – set – 10 degree. Engine gauges and suction – check
Mixture set to maximum percent – recheck
Flight instruments…
Altimeters – check both
(garbled word) – on
Navigation lights – on
Strobes – on
(to tower): Confirm 3-8-Echo ready for departure
(tower): Hello again, this is now 129.4
(to tower): 129.4. It’s to go.
(tower): You may commence your takeoff, winds over 10 knots.
(to tower): 3-8-Echo
Easy on the brakes. Take it easy. Its gonna roll this time.
Just hand the power gradually, and it…

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

There’s no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, a state of bliss

Can’t keep my mind from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

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Peter and Cora. Known to me as Grandma and Grandpa Peter.

Peter and Cora.  They were the reason we all gathered, once again.  This time it was for the funeral of their youngest child, Earl, who was born in 1929.

Peter and Cora were my great grandparents, and I referred to them as Grandma and Grandpa Peter, and still do to this day.  When I attended Earl’s funeral I saw all sorts of relatives who looked either like Grandpa Peter or Grandma Peter (aka Cora).

Heritage, ancestry and family trees are fascinating to me.  Earl, the man whose funeral we attended, was the youngest of his family of origin.  He had eight brothers and sisters, all whom have died before him.  My grandpa (Joe) was the oldest sibling, Earl was the youngest.

Peter and Cora raised superior children.  Each one of them was successful in all senses of the word.  They married and stayed married until death did they part.  They bore children, who were also superior.  The family that stems from Peter and Cora is the nicest family conglomeration I’ve ever met in my life.

The best thing is, they’re MY family!

The last of Peter and Cora’s children has finally met his maker, and I’m pretty sure Peter and Cora, as well as all of Earl’s siblings, were happy to see him glide through the Pearly Gates.

I’ve been so fortunate to know so many of my relatives, all the way back to great grandparents.  To Peter and Cora I propose a toast.  You raised good, productive, wonderful children, who, in turn built families that are equally good, productive and wonderful.  I hope all of us, when we cross the veil, will meet again and rejoice in the love that made us all a family.

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I was breaking up with Alex. We’d been together for nearly four years when he started doing weird things, like giving me pasta containers for Christmas. I didn’t need pasta containers and I didn’t want pasta containers. Then he went out and bought a car and a house without even telling me he was in the market for either. Red flag, right?

We agreed to have a date and break up like civilized people. We met at an Italian restaurant in Uptown Minneapolis, had a lovely dinner, and discussed the demise of our relationship. No one was angry, but I was a little sad. Not heartbroken, but a little sad. I’m not sure if he was sad or not, but if he was elated he had the good sense to keep it under control.

As synchronicity would have it the song Sara by Starship played quietly throughout the restaurant. I put my hand on Alex’s and said, “you’ll think of me every time you hear this song.” He said yes, he would.

I haven’t heard the song since that night. I can only assume Alex hasn’t either, giving him no reason to ever think of me again. It was the perfect break-up song, at least.

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It was cold outside and I wanted to bake something, because there’s nothing better on a cold winter day than a hot oven and fresh bakery.  I made a batch of Mom’s chocolate chip cookies.

These were the cookies I grew up on.  These were the first cookies I learned how to bake.  On the first night at my first apartment I mixed up and ate a whole batch of this cookie dough (raw eggs be damned!) as an act of independence.  Mom’s chocolate chip cookies are still following me around, giving me a cozy feeling on this winter day.

I’m not going to give a recipe because these cookies would have no significance to you.  These aren’t just chocolate chip cookies, they’re Mom’s chocolate chip cookies.  There must be dozens of recipes for “Mom’s chocolate chip cookies” because nearly every mom in the universe makes chocolate chip cookies at some time or other, even if they come out of the grocery store refrigerator case.  What makes them special is that they’re the cookies your mom made.  And they’re delicious.

 

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