Friday, December 5, 2014


Cornets, Clarinets, Pianos, Oboe, Bassoon,

 French Horn, Voice 

These are the first musical instruments I became familiar with. My aunts that lived and went to high school in Oxford, MI, played these plus one of them sang, hence the voice. I lived in their home on W. Burdick St in that town.

Grandparent's home in Oxford, MI

  I was 3 maybe 4 yrs old. One Sister was 1 yr younger than I and another was born in that house while we were there.  My dad with his Uncle Earl were building our house on a little lagoon on Williams Lake near Waterford, MI. The house was sold by Sears & Roebuck delivered for less than $800.00
 My Grandparents home was a busy place with my aunts comings and goings. They were all band members and all of them, I came to find out in later years, were very accomplished musicians. They all went to MSU and played in the bands, (This was before women were allowed to join the traveling band) etc and one of them played the organ and I believe the Carillon there. I remember being a PIA to all of them as I went up and pushed on horns etc. Also my grandfather was fixing radios and then worked on TV's. My dad worked on refrigeration and did a lot of work for the farmers to keep their coolers working. They would put their cans of milk in the coolers, which had water in it, to cool down and keep it fresh until the dairy picked it up.
  I remember later on, probably  when I was about 8 or 9 mom bought us a piano and we were taking piano lessons. Which  I did for a few years but then started balking at practicing. It did not help to have the neighbor kids [playing ball out on the east side of our house. In front of the picture window which our piano sat behind. One day mom said do you want to play piano or play ball, I'm tired of trying to get you to practice. NOW I'm sorry to say I said play ball. I dropped piano playing like a hot potato and really never played again.
 You see I wanted to play a guitar, accordion something I could take with me, play it anyplace, it never happened. 
 I liked singing but I never tried out for anything in school because I was afraid, afraid of rejection like so many people are. But I could sing in church, lead the singing.
 When I was working with my dad he would follow along on a song from the radio and pretend he was the French Horn. I never heard him play a real one but I figure he was pretty good, at least in my mind he was.
 Like kids of today just about everywhere I went I tried to be listening and/or singing the popular tunes. That was in the 50's, early 60's and IMHO there were a lot of good songs back then.
 I remember once another guy and my self were delivering "home freezer orders". We'd have freezers to pack and cases of groceries to bring in the home of the customers, usually in the basements. I do not remember the guys name I was working with, but we were singing the pop song "Tom Dooley" while putting the meat into the freezer, he was singing bass and I was tenor. When we turned around there was the family all sitting on the steps listening to us sing. They applauded and of course we were embarrassed.
 Both of my sisters sing pretty good, I might add. And up until about 14 years ago I did also. I was diagnosed with Minere's Syndrome which is a problem with in the inner ear.
 Within 2 weeks I'd lost 80% of my hearing. So with those lost tones you cannot sing. Even with some very expensive hearing aids, IT DOESN'T WORK!! For 10 years or so I did not have a song in my heart. I could still listen to music in a sterile atmosphere, where there were no other noises present so that I could give it 100% of my attention.
 I love to listen to piano playing,especially in church. BUT a organ tears up my ears something fierce. I describe it like being in a pole barn in a hail storm with lots of thunder and maybe a steam locomotive or 3. Hard to describe but I hope you get the gist of it.
 I think for 3 years we went to the National Quartet Convention in Louisville.. Southern Gospel Music at its finest, with lots of friends there. We finally quit going when they increased the audio on the instruments so that I could not hear the singers.
Without a song the day would never end
Without a song the road would never bend
When things go wrong a man ain't got a friend
Without a song

That field of corn would never see a plow
That field of corn would be deserted now
A man is born but he's no good no how
Without a song

I got my trouble and woe but, sure as I know, the Jordan will roll
And I'll get along as long as a song, strong in my soul

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