Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Non-Birthday Day

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


Samos said...

It is a really great piece of music! Happy Birthday Week! :-)

Marta said...

I agree with Samos. Great music, great gift.

Janet McKee said...

Belated Happy Birthday. My brother played all those pieces. They are still in the house in Rutland Vermont but one of his sons wants them to stay there. Have a browse at Magus -you might have a lucky find. I bought some music for South Pacific there. Not quite old enough but nice all the same.