Saturday, January 17, 2009

BIRTH OF A NATION

I'm named after my grandmother. My maternal grandmother died three days after my mom's birth, and my paternal grandfather was killed in an automobile crash when my father was fourteen. I did meet my maternal grandfather one time when he came out from Michigan for a visit to California, but Grandma Hope was the one I grew up with.


For quite a few years she lived in a cute little apartment above a garage, with a toy poodle named Suzy and a couple of parakeets. There was always two bowls of candy - one just peppermints, and the other usually some sort of See's chocolate. She had grown a vine which was approximately 8.3 miles long and draped over most of the furniture.


And, of course, an organ.


I was raised with pianos. And I mean a lot of pianos. The only time I can recall not having multiple pianos in our house was the one year we lived in an apartment on the second floor. Otherwise, we usually had at least one grand, two uprights and usually some studio models.


My dad taught piano, and clarinet, and saxophone, and string bass.... in fact, I can't remember much that he didn't teach and play except perhaps the sitar and harp.


But the organ wasn't part of our environment. I may have been mistaken, but the give and take, the actual touch of a keyboard, was somewhat missing from the old organ keyboards. The electronic keyboards of today are miraculous with their feel, but the old organs were pretty stiff and sticky.


However, my grandmother always had an organ. And had played the organ professionally. And you will LOVE what she played for.


Silent movies.


Her accompanying was five billion times better than the silly organ they put on television with silent movies. It was emotional, it was climactic, it was scary, it was comedic - all as necessary to go with the plot and the action.


And of course all you had to do was ask her to play for you.

1 comments:

Mormor said...

What a wonderful memory of your grandmother! I would LOVE to hear her playing right there in the theater while the movie is going. Something we will never experience. Thanks for sharing!!