I have no idea why I keep making excuses to myself not to blog. It could be that work is bogging me down with all kinds of things to do. It could be that I spend too much time playing Bejeweled Blitz. It could be that it is more fun to be in the basement making things than being upstairs typing away. Probably a combination of all is the reason I've abandoned my blog for awhile. It is not that I haven't been producing things or that I have nothing to say. Oh my family can attest that the last statement is not true. So excuse my absence.
I want to share my stories about the Bead Journal 2010 entry for March. As a reminder, I'm doing a theme this year called Secret Treasures. I went through my old jewelry box that was given to me when I was 10 years old and found things that have sparked memories long forgotten. March is one that very tough to right about as the pair of rhinestone peacock pins brought back many memories of a thing: an Accordian. The pins were my Mothers and she let me wear them in a photo taken of me and the Accordian at a recital in Santa Monica California in 1964.
But, I'd like to tell you something about that Accordian before I write about the pins. If you would have asked a little girl at 8 years old what instrument she'd want to play, she definitely would have told you that she wanted to play the piano just like her Mother. I did! My Mother had been the church organist when she was young living at home. She still had the piano her Father gave her in, and I always knew when she was happy as she'd sit in front of the old Baldwin piano (now lives at my brother's house) and sing as she played song after song. The joy on her face was hard to imagine. So when the music department at elementary school sent a party of people out telling my parents that I had musical talent, I was delighted thinking that I too could have my own piano some day. That was not to happen.
It also wound up at the time that we lived in Los Angeles county and my Father adored watching The Lawrence Welk show playing on KTLA. He thrilled watching Myron Floren( the Happy Norweigan) play the accordian and jump up to dance whenever Lawrence and Myron would join in playing on hearty polka. So yes, my Dad decided I'd play the accordian. What? But also he loved the music as his step brothers had a blue grass band back in Ohio and would travel around the southern part of the state and northern Kentucky playing at dances and sometimes on the radio. His one brother played an old beat up accordian. So my Dad had listen to that music for almost his whole life. I think the only thing he liked better was banjo music, and my Mother refused to let one of those in the house. So, I took accordian lessons at the Myron Floren School for Accordian. My teacher was somehow involved with the Lawrence Welk Show, but I can't remember who/how at this time. Did I ever met Myron Floren...yes! He came to our school a couple times during recitals. What can I say about him...he played one mean accordian.
My lessons were far from our home, so it was usually just myself and my Dad who would go to my weekly lessons. If I was a good girl and practiced my lesson and played well in class then we'd stop at Baskin Robbins for a sundae ("Don't tell anyone else we're doing this, okay?"), but if I was lazy and didn't practice it was no sundae and a scolding about how I embarrassed him all the way home. One night coming home the car broke down. Back in those days they ALWAYS broke down. It was miles from home, and we had to walk. My Dad dared not let the accordian sit in the trunk of the car, so he started carrying it. Did I tell you that a full accordian is HEAVY? Yes, it is. My Dad would carry it a block and blocks in LA are LONG! I felt bad and wanted to help. About 1/4 a block my hands were stinging, and I gave up sitting on the curb. Yes, it was one of those weeks where I didn't practice and I just KNEW it was my fault. He sat next to me, put his big hands over mine and told me he was proud of me. I looked up with tears and asked why because I'd embarrassed him. He smiled and told me I never embarrassed him ever. Wow! So we eventually go home. A nice man picked us up and gave us a ride. In 1965, it was pretty safe to do that and hey! we had an accordian.
I forgot to mention that I had to use a rental accordian before my own came in. It was specially made in Italy and cost $750 dollars. Now that is 1965 money and that is a whole lot. But this accordian was beautiful. The body was mother of pearl and the bellow were dyed leather. And yes, it was heavy. I was strong enough to hold it up while standing and to pull the bellows while playing the piano keyboard and the buttons, but my one flaw was my timing is off. I did and still play way too fast. Nothing has helped or probably will help slow me down. But in 1965, I was studying and practicing so hard to enter the competition in Santa Monica. We all had a set time for our performance and judging...and we were late. I don't know if it was because my Mom had to fuss with my hair (I still hate metal rollers to this day), or my dress had a wrinkle, or who knows what, but we didn't all get into the car until 15 minutes before it was my turn. And we lived in El Monte which was over an hour drive to Santa Monica. My Mother reassured me that it would be okay. It wasn't. We got there two hours late, and the panel of judges would not let me perform. I was devastated. Thank god little 11 year old girls back then didn't wear mascara or else it would have been running down my face as I was weeping uncontrollably. My Mother felt bad and told me that it didn't matter that I missed the recital because she had a surprise for me. She'd arranged for me to make a recording there at the recital of my song so we could listen to it forever (still have the record & ouch! my ears.). Of course, being in the backseat of a big Crysler sedan with my three other siblings did a wrong turn for my dress. The collars were curling up so my Mother took off those peacock pins and put them on the collars of my blue dress. I'd always loved those and would stare at them whenever she'd let us look at her jewelry. So there I was happily playing in front of a recording team and then whisked off to have my "professional" picture taken.
When we moved to Ohio in 1967, there were no accordian teachers, so I quit playing. Also for a teenager in a small southern town, I would have been ridiculed for playing an accordian. I did find a great teacher in Columbus when I moved here. He was a jazz accordianist and yes! he always was trying to get me to S-L-O-W down. I changed jobs, and had to work extra so I had to cut out my accordian lessons. My Father still loved to hear it and sometimes I'd take it out to play just for him. In 1991, he was gravely ill with cancer and I asked him what would he like to do. He smiled and told me that he wanted to hear that accordian one more time. I hadn't played for over 5 years, but it was his request. I took it out and he was smiling and stamping his foot in time to a wild variety of polka and jazz tunes. He then started to tell his grandchildren about the night we carried that thing accross half of Los Angeles county. Dad died a week later. The accordian went into its case and hasn't been open since then.
My Mother told me that I could sell it. I can't. Even though I have no desire to ever play it again, I can't get rid of it. It has so many stories yet to tell of our past together. How many times the dogs would howl, the neighbors would complain, the joy in my Father's eyes, the thrill of playing with my uncles. Those are stories yet to be told. So how can I get rid of something that hasn't finished opening my memories up. And, 5 years ago, Mom gave me those peacock pins. The now reside in a firey red jar keeping this special Secret Treasure ready to open and enjoyed again and again.