Sunday, March 6, 2011

SUNDAY RERUN: My First Piano

This morning I came across a list of my earliest memories, and decided I would write about the first one on the list. I suspect, since I was still a toddler at the time, that I've gotten some things wrong. Mama, you have my permission to correct me!

We were traveling from California, where Daddy was stationed, to Oregon. Daddy had leave and we were going to visit all the family up there. I'd have been two and a half or so.

It was a car trip and took two or three days back then, on the roads of the day and in the cars of the time. I seem to remember Dad telling me we drove a dark forest green Hudson. Picture the big rounded cars of the late forties, early fifties. We stayed one night of the trip with friends of my folks. 

I remember just one thing: They had a piano. 

I'd never seen one, didn't know such a miraculous object could even exist, something that made singing when you touched it. It pulled me, entranced and wondering, until I stood with the keys just at the level of my eyes. I can still see them, striped from that angle, a strip of white layered atop the tan of pale wood, and then the recessed stripe of the piano black beneath that.

My older brother was on the piano bench, kneeling, plunking at the keys, and I raised a tentative finger and touched one, softly, making it sound.

And then I looked up, and my mother was there, closing the lid to keep us from making too much noise. My eyes widened. I can still remember the thoughts tearing through my mind while she did that, although I couldn't express them in speech. No! NO! You don't understand! I'll be gentle! I won't make noise! It's music! Ple-e-a-s-e.... 

She'd taken away the miracle, and then turned and walked into the other room. I could only stand there, staring at the door, mutely grief-stricken.

Now, in case you're thinking I was deeply scarred, and resented Mama for life, or something like that, don't! The strongest memory is simply the miracle of that instrument. Of course, being able to remember the experience has probably colored my ideas of what goes on in the minds of very young people. I suspect we routinely give children too little credit.

(By the way, the view of the piano above is still one from above my eye level at the time. Even standing on tiptoe, I couldn't have seen the keys from that height. Of course, my view of the edges of the keys wouldn't have made a very attractive photo!)


Splendid Little Stars said...

awesome memory! What is more magical than something that captivates us when we are children?!
This is what it made me think of:
I remember being very young, older however than you at the time of your memory. My neighbor's cat had kittens. I fell in love, was totally enamored. It wasn't long before I had a kitty of my own--Chocolate.

Ann said...

Thought it was time I stopped by for a visit. I love your intriguing story as a child would see it. Did you ever take lessons? Take care.

Anitra Cameron said...

Splendid, you made me smile so big with your story!

Ann, I did take lessons. Ironically enough, it turns out I'm just not coordinated that way! (But music is still a huge player in my life. =^) )

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