Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Music by Enes Berg Stringam

My Mom, age 20. Why couldn't I have looked like that?!

It's the first of November. 
If she were still with us, my Mom would have been taking down the Halloween decorations and hunting out the boxes marked 'Christmas'. (Canadian Thanksgiving is in October, so we move directly from Halloween to Remembrance day to Christmas.)
And she would also be digging out the Christmas albums to put on the stereo.
Mom loved music.
I'm thinking about her today . . .
This is another entry from her journal.

There was much music in our house.
Mama had a beautiful voice, singing us to sleep with lilting Swedish tunes.
Papa was quite proficient on the accordion, playing schottisches, polkas and old-time waltzes for dances at the school house, and at home, especially when we had visitors.
Early on, Papa bought an organ at a sale.
I loved music and tried to play that organ.
Later, Papa purchased a piano to which I became attached as to a loving friend.
Tommy Mair, a musician friend of our teacher, arranged to give music lessons after school in Millicent.
I was thrilled to be enrolled and Tommy became my teacher, maestro and hero.
He could play anything without a sheet of music.
As he rippled through my lessons with a magic touch, I was enthralled, floating on a cloud of notes so sweet and heavenly, I wanted the rhapsody to go on forever.
For eight wonderful lessons, I wafted in ecstasy.
Tommy would play a tune and I would copy him.
Then he would improvise with many delightful trills so that the simple little single notes became a whole orchestra of sound.
As his nimble fingers raced over the keyboard, I was transfixed into a fantasy world beyond my fondest dreams.
In that moment, I yearned to be a maestro like Tommy Mair.
But after eight lessons, I was on my own.
At every opportunity, whether at home or at a community dance, I was at the piano watching the artistic mastery of every pianist.
Fascinated by the variety of piano improvisations.
Then, at home, I would spend every available moment trying to replicate what I had seen.
I was drawn to the piano like a moth to light, picking out tunes in a painful process of matching notes to keys until I had memorized them so I could play them by ear.
The piano became my best friend and companion.
It became an outlet for self-expression.
I learned that if we express ourselves well, others will listen, understand, and believe in us.
They will be buoyed up and motivated by our message and inspiration and we, ourselves will also be inspired with a feeling of accomplishment.
Music has helped me to greatly raise my self worth, to feel good about myself.
For this, I am thankful to my first inspirational music teacher, Tommy Mair.

7 comments:

  1. Lucky you to have both music and the written word as an outlet for self expression.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Such firm and insightful writing. Why do you think she didn't pass on the handsome gene, too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is so nice to remember,
    I have similar memories with my parents. My Dad played the guitar and my Mom and I sang. It was so nice.
    It is funny how women wore their hair in those days. Seems every one had the same hairstyle lol

    ReplyDelete
  4. Diane, what a stunner your mom was! She looks like one f those beautiful Hollywood starlets! I have to agree with you--the therapeutic effects of music are unbelievable. I can tell you that music has the magical ability to motivate me, empower me, and get me out of any funk I may be in. You're very lucky to have had music in your life from a young age. And by that I mean, real music, the kind played on musical instruments like the ones you mention! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I would've loved your mom...
    Tomorrow I will take out the Christmas music.
    Love,
    K @ The Chuppies/NOBH

    ReplyDelete

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