Playing a musical instrument has, apparently, been passed on for several generations in my family. My dad not only played the piano and the organ but he also played the accordion. I know he took piano lessons as a kid, probably why we were made to carry on the tradition. I can just imagine him practicing on this piano that was in the living room of my grandparents’ home. I remember after Grandma passed away there was a lot of discussion about what to do with the piano – I think it ended up being sold since no one had room for it.
My dad took organ lessons his entire adult life until just a few years before he died. I remember on lesson nights we’d be banished to our rooms – or at least away from the organ – while he worked through all of his musical pieces with the instructor.
Here’s his beloved organ – it broke my heart to know it sold for just $300 at the estate sale last year. I am happy, however, to know that a couple with two young children took it home so now I can visualize (as my dad loved to say) a new generation of organ players.
My daughters loved to sit with Grandpa while he played and they have so many wonderful memories of the sounds filling the house. I’m sure they wished they could grow taller so they could work the pedals themselves.
Sometimes the piano or organ was used for something other than music – often times it was a seat used to pose for pictures! Here’s me with my dad in the late 1980’s.
We were so happy that our life long friends, and Mom and Dad’s next door neighbors, took the piano for their daughter and her family after Mom passed away. Now their grandchildren will learn to play on the same piano I sat at for all of those years.
And who else in my family played a musical instrument? My second great grandmother, Bertha Schwartz Gunzendorfer. I’m sure you’re wondering how I can know that? Because look what I found!
Look at this treasure! This is the first page you see when you open the book.
I can’t quite figure this book out – this looks like a Table of Contents but when I look further into the book, nothing corresponds with this. I’m wondering if she bought different sheet music and compiled them in a book.
I found this one very interesting. Not that I can read any of this language but if you look real closely, the stamp at the bottom says “A. Waldteufel Music Store, First & Fountain Street, San Jose”. That may not be too exciting to anyone else but since I was born and raised in San Jose, this little tidbit is newsworthy!
There are many pages of music included in the book – here’s an example.
I can just imagine Bertha (aka Birdie) sitting at a piano (or other musical instrument) practicing her music.
Bertha Schwartz, c. 1878
Sadly, I think the music gene has ceased to exist in me. My girls both played the flute as they were growing up but that, too, has ended. Maybe one day one of my descendants will take Birdie’s book, practice for hours and fill their home with music.