Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Musical Tradition

A friend asked me today what I was doing special for this Memorial Day Weekend. I really have no special plans, but have thought about going to the local parade on Monday just to see the high school marching band.

That simple remark led to quite a discussion of musical talents within my family. It is an inherit trait that comes from both sides of my family. I started learning to play piano when I was 5 years old. The piano was sitting in the middle of the living room as wallpaper was being stripped from the walls. My dad was my teacher. I've mentioned before his musical talents. In 5th grade we could start learning a musical instrument. I started with the clarinet. I used my Aunt Millie's one piece silver clarinet. I played that clear through high school. In the 8th grade, my band director asked me to learn to play the bassoon as he needed a bassoonist for the high school band. I really did enjoy that instrument. In high school, I was in marching band, concert band, and the orchestra. In marching band, I played either the clarinet or the glockenspiel that you carried in front of you.

I had two sisters and one brother. My sisters were taught piano, but they never really enjoyed it. My brother was also taught to play piano and he has used it much more. One sister learned to play the trumpet, one sister played the violin and flute, and my brother played trumpet, guitar, and keyboards.

My mother also had musical talents in that she had learned to play the piano enough to get by with. She also had played the violin.

My mother's mother was also a piano player and had played the violin. She had bought her violin from a Sear's catalog in the early 1900's. That violin was used by my mother, my sister, my daughter, and my grandchildren! It has a lovely tone to it and is considered a 3/4 size violin. My grandmother was also ahead of her time as she played in a small dance band with 3 guys! How progressive she was.

I had one daughter that played violin and drums (she was also in the marching band), one daughter played violin and clarinet, but stuck with the violin for high school, and my son had different musical talents in that he played the radio.

My husband played the accordion. Some years, we were able to play Christmas music together as a family with some of the simpler Carols.

My father's family line is reported to have been a very musical family with many playing different kinds of instruments to fine singers. This is documented back to at least my 3rd if not 4th great-grandfathers.

Yes, I just may go watch the parade on Monday!

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Flowers of Spring

I love to walk around my yard in the spring and watch the growth and new life that returns. I have some favorites that have come from other family members.

A few years ago, one of my aunts gave me some woodland ferns and columbines. The ferns have disappeared, but the columbines continue to flourish. The breeze likes to shift the seeds around the yard, so I never quite know where they will appear next year. In varying shades of lavender they make quite a special display.

Also in the moist, shady spot of the back yard, I have a small group of jack-in-the-pulpit that has thrived for the 40 years we've lived in this location. The coral bells seem to like that area of the yard as well.

I have some beautiful fall lilies that came from my mother-in-law's yard. There are yellow lilies and some with a deep maroon color. I just have to keep all the weeds out of that little patch.

A couple of years ago, my daughter gave me a start of a lilac bush. It is growing well and bloomed very nicely this year. I love the scent of lilac wafting past me as I walk through the back yard.

Against my back deck, I have 3 special plants growing. One is an antique rose bush - Fantine LaTour - which they say is so old, they don't know exactly how old it is. The blooms last one day in a beautiful purplish-pink color. The second day, the blossoms are more withered. I got the start of this rosebush from my father, in Arizona. He had gotten a start from a first cousin, who had gotten their start from my father's mother, who had lived in Ohio. Since my 4th great-grandparents came to Ohio in 1795, and this rose bush is such an antique, I would like to think that perhaps they brought a start of that bush from New Jersey to Ohio with them as a remembrance of home. Of course, I can't prove that, but I like to think that. My mother always had a huge honeysuckle plant growing beside her home. I was able to get a start of honeysuckle from a plant here in Ohio, and now my honeysuckle bush is as large as hers was. It also draws the hummingbirds, which my mother also loved. The third plant is a hydrangea bush that my other daughter got me one year for Mother's Day. It too is doing extremely well and increases its blooms every year.

Other flowers in the yard include lily-of-the-valley, two iris plants, pink and dark pink peonies, two very huge hosta plants and a Japanese dogwood tree. The tree was a sapling given away by the local electric company when our oldest grandson was small. The tree is about 19 years old now is a sight to behold when it blooms. There are red and yellow tulips in the spring, balloon flowers, and an Easter lily. I have lost my beautiful coral poppies.

My walk around the yard brings me special pleasure and special memories of family members that have contributed to our collection over the years.