Friday, June 10, 2011

Music. It's All In the Family!


The stress of the day was thickening so I decided we all needed a swim. While transitioning from "me" time to family time I accidentally lay my artwork on top of the CD player's play button and the music came on. My mood noticeably changed, and I said to myself again, "Why don't we always have the music playing?" Don't ask me why, but, as usual, I started thinking about my ancestors. 

My mind wandered to two of them who were connected to music. One was my great great grandfather, Charles Carlson, a violin-maker who traveled from Norway to Illinois and eventually to Washington State. The second was Addison Cross, my husband's great great grandfather who was born in New Hampshire, also a violin-maker. (Something CRAZY: we live in the same town Addison lived in in 1880! What are the chances of that happening? We moved here last year and THEN found out about the rich family history in the area.)

How unusual is that? To have two violin-makers in two separate family lines, common only to my children? 

I sat at the pool spacing out, worrying my daughter because of my staring through her to people and times she has yet to be exposed to. 

And wondering.

Is it a coincidence to have generations of right-brainers in your family? And then to marry into one? Both sides are full of musicians, artists, language and dance lovers, and just very creative people. 

 Our children have had to piece together their music lessons. Our oldest daughter is a gifted flutist. She picked that up in school. Her fifth grade teacher clued me in to her spectacular voice (one that is shared with all four girls in the family). But, she had to teach herself to play the piano. Her younger sister plays by ear!

Our oldest son worked to pay for his weekly guitar lessons. He's amazing! Whenever my husband hears him playing his acoustic or electric guitar (electric is preferred!) he ends up sitting beside him until my son politely offers the instrument over, knowing it won't be back in his hands unless I catch my husband before he floats too far away and pull him back down to earth! So sad! I have to remember not to do that.

The two middle boys took up clarinet, and I could see the latent talent. But, teenagerhood was more enticing. So were the drums...another family talent on my husband's side for three generations. I LOVE drums!! These two boys, however, create really interesting piano "shorts" (that's what I call them) 
 that they play in many variations while they wait for their turn in the shower.

The three youngest come alive when the music goes on! Again, pots, pans and utensils galore make simple bands heard from behind closed doors. Usually.

 I smile when first thing in the morning I hear singing from newly-wakened voices, happily crooning from behind bedroom doors or shower curtains.

All of them have rhythm, too! It would be torture for me if they didn't! I love to dance. It's so fun when Kenny grabs my hands and says, "Mommy! Let's dance in the driveway!"

So, why the two pieces of music posted here? Just to make a point.

The first piece, Pachelbel Canon in D, is one of the last that I danced to before I was married.

The second, Bolero, is one of the last I danced to after I was married and had one child. But the version here is from an artist my husband introduced me to years ago, Jeff Beck.

Both link me to the past and move me in the present in very special ways.

 Both inspire me to remember who I am, where I came from, and how simple things like music can influence generations of people in our own families.

My question. Why were Addison and Charles both violin-makers? And what does that have to do with me?

I wondered if their craft, like so many of mine, were developed out of necessity? Wasn't there another way? Couldn't they buy one? What did it take to learn how to make one?

I've always had to figure things out for myself , to develop a skill or talent over long, sometimes tedious periods of time because that was the only way to make what I wanted come to life. I've had a lot of people offer advice and point me in a direction, but the road I've travelled has been by myself more often than not. And that's okay with me.

Could it be that what I see on the surface is really something else? A lesson perhaps.

This much I know. I wasn't thinking about music, Addison, or Charles. Then I was.

Yesterday I remembered. But I had to be reminded.

Maybe, just maybe, Addison and Charles wanted to give a gift to their families, and, like me, found a way, maybe the only way to be heard.

Accident that the CD player turned on?

Just wondering.



1 comment:

  1. Lovely post, Betsy.
    I remember when my youngest sister was married. One of the works that a flutist played as we waited for my sister to walk up the aisle was Pachebel's Canon. What a wonderful piece of music.
    I admire the road you've traveled, Betsy. I'd say you've chosen an admirable path.
    Brava, Betsy.
    Charles

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