Another Saturday morning and I pull myself out of bed and look out the little window in the attic. The leaves are beginning to turn and many have fallen to the ground. Halloween is over and for the first time ever, Ma told me to go with Curt so he could trick or treat. We went to Grammy Martin’s and got a big fat cookie and then to Gracie and Charlie Day’s house where we got a shiny apple. Those were the two places we were allowed to visit and that was enough with the cold night air!
I have to dress warmly because Dad will be taking me to Grammy Ring’s for my piano lesson. Ever since we went to Sunday school at their farm on Rowe Hill, I have wanted to learn to play. She makes it look so easy. I am surprised that Dad is willing to take me, because this past summer I have been in trouble more than once.
Rex and I had one day when we just squabbled all day. Ma kept telling us to “straighten out or else” and we would for a little while and then something else would get us started all over again. Finally we ended up in the front yard throwing our shoes at each other, if you can imagine. I am a little ashamed, thinking about it. Well, at that point out she came and told us to march into the house and sit in the chairs until she told us we could move. Rex did just that but I started running for the road. She yelled at me and told me I had to come home some time and when I did, the chair would be waiting. I don’t know what got into me. I just walked around the neighborhood and ended up sitting on my favorite fishing rock on the other side of Wagner’s camp for about an hour. When I went home, Ma was busy and didn’t even look up. She probably figured it was just another day at the Martin house.
Oh, Lord, and the unscheduled ride Rex and I took in the door yard. Dad’s friend, Toivo Lehto, came to visit with his son. Well, he has a mighty fine looking car and his son wanted to show us the inside, so the three of us jumped in to look it over. We knew better. You just don’t go jumping in other people’s cars. I don’t know what got into us. Ma was in the house and Toivo and Dad were walking around the outside paying no attention. Well, Toivo’s son put the car in gear and we started rolling backwards. I swear I felt my eyes getting bigger and bigger. Toivo and Dad came running as the car slowed to a stop. Toivo grabbed his son by the shoulder and shook him good and Dad just told us to get out and go in the house. His voice was very low and gravely so I figured he was plenty mad.
I also did something awful with my pet rooster. I forgot to tell you I have a pet rooster..well, now he is at Grampa Libby’s for the winter as there is no place for him to roost here. But he rode around on my shoulder all summer. Well, Curt is very afraid of birds. He does not like chickens , roosters, or any birds. One day I was mean and chased him with the rooster perched on my shoulder. Chased him way to the main road and boy, he told Ma that night. I got a real tongue lashing. I think that is why the rooster went early to my grandfather’s. Oh, well.
Well, today is piano lesson day and maybe both Ma and Dad think a little music will do me good and keep me out of trouble. Here we go again, up to Dan Cole’s farm, hang a right and up the mountain to the top and down the other side til we get to Grammy Ring’s.
Grammy tells Dad to come back in an hour, seats me at the piano, points out my lesson in the beginner’s book and goes to her kitchen where she is baking. I will hear you playing and if I hear something that is wrong, I will be right in here, she always says. I have mastered this piece of music pretty well. I hate the finger exercises..up and down, up and down…drives me crazy but I love Grammy Ring and she is so sweet to teach me.
It is over an hour and Dad has not returned, so I sit and visit with Grammy. She tells me I have done very well and she sees that I improve each week. Ah, there is Dad and I pile into the front seat with him. He is grinning as we drive past the Sumner place to the top of the hill and says, well what did you play today, Muff? I can play The Peach Blossom Waltz from start to finish and no mistakes. Dad chuckles and says, well you must be doing pretty good. I have never seen him so excited about my music.
Into the yard we drive and it seems he is driving faster than usual. Come on, Muff, he says. He opens the door and what do I see in the corner of the kitchen. A huge church organ sitting in the corner of our kitchen!!!! Look at the pedals to pump and the stops…oh, the sounds that will come out of that. Where did you get it, Dad? Never mind, it was $5 and I want to hear you play. Ma is saying nothing but kind of shaking her head . I know she feels that a church organ in the corner of the kitchen is the last thing she needs to walk around. Sit down and play, Muff. Well I know lots of songs in my head and there are no pieces of music to read, so I figure I will just have to listen to the notes and play. Dad likes anything that is harmony, so I play a couple of songs I have heard him play on the guitar. The music is in my head so it comes out my fingers and this is so much more fun than watching those tiny little black notes. Ma finally speaks up and says that I should only play when I have music and not play “by ear.” I tell her it is more fun this way. She sighs, shakes her head again and goes back to baking.
Suddenly, she turns and says if the organ is there, where are we putting the Christmas tree this year? Dad takes a drink of coffee, taps his foot and says, Ethel, you worry too much. When Christmas comes, we will put the organ in the other room.
I can’t believe I have my own musical instrument and I don’t care if it is an old church organ or not. It has its own bench and I fit on it perfectly. I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know how Dad managed to get it in the house and probably it is better that I don’t.
I always figure a house is not a house without music.