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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Day Four of Thirty-One: Not My Music

When I was in high school, music was my life. I had been playing trumpet for many years already and decided that I would dedicate my life to music. It was my everything. I wasn't someone who was overtly social and music was an easy way for me to connect to others. Because of this dedication, I had a longing to learn to play piano. My parents were extremely supportive and at the age of 15 invested in a beautiful piano for me so I could learn. From there I began piano lessons with the organist from our church and would occasionally play for our congregation. I never became a person who could sit at a piano and play a tune from memory but I learned and felt fulfilled by the experience.

I then went to college as a music major, changed to a speech-language pathologist, and because of the work I began doing with children realized that education was my true calling. Music never left my soul but it did begin to take a back seat to my studies, family, and marriage.

We bought our home in 2005, just a few short months after Elliot was born. I remember the excitement I felt as my parents brought the piano to our new house. My dad built a wooden box with foam supports to protect the wood and we rolled the piano into its new home. I would occasionally plink the keys or pull out old songs that I had learned. At one point I wrote a song for a play the kindergarten students in my school would perform on that same piano.

A few years ago I decided I wanted to learn a new song. It was a stressful time in my life and playing the piano proved to be therapeutic. The song was "Falling Slowly" from the movie Once, which if you haven't seen Once, watch it tonight. Probably my favorite movie of all time. I had to take it a few measures at a time and it probably took me almost eight months to work my way through the whole song. I practiced almost every night and I can probably count on one hand the number of times I played it in its entirety without a mistake. Those were joyous moments. And by joyous I mean obnoxiously joyous and the entire neighborhood probably heard my screams of delight.

Of all the things we lost, losing my piano proved to be the most difficult for me. I had a really hard time letting it go. We tried to save it, had it looked at by experts, appraised, and then the news came that it would not be salvageable. I had known the truth from the beginning but the thought of not being able to keep my piano was quite devastating. Of course, it's just a thing, I realize that but it was very special to me. 

Mom to the rescue again! She suggested I take the music stand/holder off the piano and make something like a picture frame or wall hanging. Shawn went and removed it for me, cleaned it, and it now sits on top of our fireplace at the home we are living in now. It's a nice reminder and will someday be a nice piece to hang on a wall. Until then, I will look at it and sadly remember that it will no longer make music for me but it will hold memories all the while. 


  1. I really like the thread and pattern of your posts...the "not my" theme. I'm very impressed that music didn't begin until you were a teenager and that you even majored in it for a while. This piece follows the object of your piano through quite a personal journey.

  2. Beautiful Slice! I never knew you were so musical or had a different path to becoming a teacher. Your mom had a brilliant idea. So glad the music stand, and the memories, remain.

  3. This is beautiful Betsy! I love your mom's idea for the music stand. That will remain a special object, I'm sure.

  4. I'm glad he got the stand for you. So sorry about all you've lost Betsy. I'm always amazed at the forks we hit in the road of life and how certain choices change history.

  5. I am sad that it couldn't be salvaged as you hoped but glad that you could save a piece of it to keep as a memory.

  6. Betsy it's always nice to learn more about your beautiful soul! What a great solid your husband did for you when he retrieved the music stand for you. Your family love is evident in your story.

  7. Your writing is going to be a forever gift for your family.