I grew up in a house with a piano, and a Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma had been a teacher for many years and she was great fun. She spent lots of time with us and we would cut and paste paper, paint and color and have all kinds of crafty fun. Every now and then I get the urge to sit down and cut out paper snowflakes and remember those time with my Grandma.
I don't know how old the piano was, but I don't remember a time when it was not there, when it did not look old, and come to think of it, I think it even had a bit of an aged smell to it. We lived in an old farm house, a two generation home that had been passed down through the family. I honestly don't know if the piano was already there in the house when my Grandma married my Grandpa, or whether she brought it with her, but I do know that she used to play.
I loved the piano. I am told that at a very young age, I started picking out tunes on it on my own. So my Grandma taught me a few more.
Then Auntie A, my very favorite aunt, decided she wanted to learn the piano. At first she would come up and use ours to practice, and she had a book of children's songs designed to teach piano playing. They started out simple and got more difficult and she let me use it to learn to read music and to practice playing. Then she got her own piano to practice on at home. Being the kind aunt that she is, she copied all of the songs into one of those music exercise notebooks for me, so that I could keep practicing.
I never did have lessons, but I loved to play and did the best I could, teaching myself. Over the years, Auntie A photocopied other music for me. It's all still at my parents house, where the piano is. Unfortunately, the piano is out of tune now - there is no one left at home who plays, and the old gentleman that my mother used to have in to tune it has passed on. The last time I had tried to play it, on a visit home, it was so badly out of tune that I gave up.
Something happened recently that has me thinking about buying a piano. And today, as my mind was wandering, in the strange and rambling way that it does, I thought of those painstakingly copied children's tunes that my aunt had given me. It's not that I didn't appreciate it at the time - I was very happy to receive that notebook and I used it for a long time. But it occurred to me today how much work that must have been; I'm sure I didn't realize it at the time, but it must have taken Auntie A a good amount of time to do all that copying, so neatly and so carefully done. I suddenly had the urge to sit down and write a thank-you letter to my aunt, 30 years after the fact.
Would that be strange? Auntie A has certainly done many kind things for me over the years, and I hope that I have always remembered to be appreciative. But that really meant a lot to me, and it still does. Heck, give how long it has been since I've touched a piano, I would probably need that little notebook to start over again!