Rebecca insists that birthday presents may not ever be given in advance of actual birthdays – or at least, not opened – nor may any celebrations be held. She is quite firm about this, and while I don’t totally buy into it, her opinions usually wear off onto me to some extent. So, when Samos wanted to have a celebratory lunch and bring me my birthday present a week prior to my actual birthday, I said that he must wait. But, alas, there was no other convenient day, so I said we could have a non-celebratory lunch, and he could bring it, but I would not open it yet. This too wouldn’t do, because he needed to see my delighted expression when I opened it. In this, he was not disappointed. I was thrilled. Really, really thrilled. A few weeks previously, for some reason, we had been talking about Pinetop Smith’s Boogie Woogie.
I mentioned that I had played it in high school, and was supposed to play it for a piano recital. At nearly the last minute, I told my teacher that I refused to play it, because it was beyond my capabilities, and I knew that, under the stupendous pressure of these nerve wracking ordeals, I would fail, humiliating myself and my family. It was a truly horrifying thought, as anyone who has been forced to endure the agony of piano recitals can testify. The same thing had happened the previous year when I was supposed to play The Doll Dance by Nacio Herb Brown. In both instances, the teachers gave me an easy no-fail piece to learn quickly, thus sparing both me and my family a major trauma. I also told Samos that my mother, who was the absolute antithesis of a hoarder, especially with her family’s possessions, had, when I went off to college, gotten rid of all my piano music, even the ones she liked to hear me play.
Why you might ask, did I select such odd choices for my music lessons? Well, as those who know me now might expect, I was an odd girl. My father’s secretary had given me a box of old 78’s, with some classical fare, but mostly music from the 20’s and 30’s – lots of fox trots, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Gershwin. I loved them! And Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra playing Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie was one of my favorites. Now, after a huge piano playing hiatus, I wanted to revisit the fun music of my youth. But, thanks to my mother’s neatnik clutterless propensities, I couldn’t. So what a delightful surprise it was to find this fabuloso gift!!!!
It was not a tremendous surprise to find that the piece was still beyond me – and by a long shot – but I plan to struggle through. When I showed it to my friend Carolyn, she sat down and played it right off. Sigh! Why was I born so ungifted?????
The Party Kitty pin - a little gift from Michelle