Monday Memories and Music

9 Apr

The setting was the early 1960’s in Chicago. A young Catholic school girl dreamed of being a concert pianist, traveling the world, performing for kings and queens, maybe even the Pope. So, somewhere around the fifth grade, the girl pleaded with her mother to take piano lessons after school. The good news was, the loving mother agreed to pay for the lessons. The bad news was, Sister Mary Corporal Punishment was not the most nurturing and loving piano teacher. (Qualifier: not all the nuns were terrible and mean. Most were devoted, loving and spiritual role models. Yes, I also wanted to be a nun when I was seven, but I grew out of it.)

After no more than three or four painful ruler smacking sessions, the lessons ceased, as did the dreams of touring the world. But not to worry, the little girl had plenty of other dreams.

Fast forward about fifty years, give or take a few years. Here I am, back to the old dream and longing to learn to play the piano. The concert tours and world travel no longer a possibility, but you have to start somewhere. My wonderful husband bought me a beautiful piano. I tinkered a little here and there, just playing by ear, (actually with one finger…no ears involved).

I was too embarrassed to take piano lessons so late in life, being closer to Medicare than middle school. So, I drove over to Half Price Books to get a piano book for beginners. I was never great at following written directions. I’m more of a visual kinda gal. What better book to try than “Piano for Dummies?”


There were some very nice diagrams and easy basic tunes to play, but then the book progressed to using more than one finger, and some complicated things called chords, with all kinds of symbols called flats, sharps, and major and minor thingies. It all sounded very military school. TMI once again. I started with page one and was way beyond confused by page ten.

Several weeks of tinkering and more confusion found me back at the book store. I scoured all the piano books until I found a possible solution and hopefully an easier book. I plunked the new book on the counter and told the cashier, “Piano for Dummies was too hard. Hopefully this book will be easier. I think I’m more of an idiot than a dummy!”


The jury is still out. Is there anything easier than a book for idiots? I’m still playing with one arthritic finger and an old crusty ear.

3 Responses to “Monday Memories and Music”

  1. Dan Hennessy at 10:01 pm #

    Similar story with me and guitar . I bought a good guitar decades ago , tried it but eventually traded it , finally , for a camera . it was supposed to be an un-doable deal , but , unfortunately , the guitar mysteriously left for Chicago , never to be heard from by me again . Now I have borrowed a guitar from a friend , bought the books …………… Since you have the piano you should stick with it . No rush . I , on the other hand , probably will return the borrowed guitar , once again giving in and giving up . Until some future attempt .. .

    • Toni at 11:05 pm #

      Always good to hear other stories to console my failures and realize I am not alone. I was never good at focussing on one project at a time. That’s why I don’t do anything well, just a lot of things with sincere mediocre results. I play tennis, write stories, poetry, photography, paint, draw, volunteer, Zumba and lots of lunches. Oh we’ll. I’ll give it another go. Thanks!


  1. while my guitar gently leans | itkindofgotawayfromyou -

    […] was reading a post called Monday Memories and Music from a fellow blogger who was in a little bit of the same boat as I was in with a guitar , but she […]

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