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Another new topic for memories: Music and music lessons

As I’ve been talking about local memories – stores, restaurants, one-room schools, movie theaters, churches and more – I keep thinking that there must be other whole categories of memories that I’m missing.

In this case, I found one, but absolutely all credit for this idea goes to Jo. She sent me the photos of the sheet music above, and as a longtime piano student, I was definitely intrigued!

Of course, you ask for more details, and sometimes you get just what you ask for… Jo was able to provide a ton of info about her musical – or, in her case, not-so-musical, past.

She writes: “I was born into a paternal family of piano players. (Does ‘paternal family’ make sense? It was all on my father’s side.) Every female kid and only a few male ones learned to play the piano, usually taught by a neighborhood lady who may or may not have received any formal learning in music. It was a family requirement and an extension of their education from almost the time the Scotch-Irish began to settle in central Pennsylvania. For me, it lasted about one year, then I wanted no part of it. Music teachers like those at, can usually tell if a student is practicing or not & I stopped early on. Most of the family pianists finished their lessons but only a few ever continued to play, sometimes for lack of a piano on which to regularly play. For others, it was a lack of interest or precedence was given to other interests.”

She continues, “Another cousin, Nancy, taught by a neighborhood lady, carried on the lesson-giving tradition and herself became a neighborhood lady-music teacher. She taught dozens of children for many years. Nancy is the local pianist called upon to play at weddings, card parties, Rotary and Lions Clubs’ luncheons, wakes, choirs, wherever music is wanted or a gathering is held. Additionally, Nancy is well known by the congregation at a local Methodist church where she has been the organist and pianist for most of her seventy-three years.”

“I had two aunts that continued to play until both were too old and feeble. One had a gorgeous baby grand piano that, unfortunately, went belly-up during the flooding caused by hurricane Agnes in 1972 and lost forever. Very sad. Both of these aunts bought sheet music and one, Aunt Rebecca, wrote her name and the date purchased on all of hers. Copies of covers of some of hers are what you received… As you can see most were bought in the 1940s.”

“Aunt Rebecca died several years ago and her daughter, my cousin Lucy, inherited her organ and all her organ and piano sheet music. That both Lucy and I grew up with this wonderful music, we loved browsing thru the sheet music and sometimes would sing a few bars of some of the songs. Not only is it the music and the lyrics, but also the now-historic graphic designs of the 1940s covers, often war-related, that caused me to ask if I could have some of Aunt Rebecca’s signed sheet music. Out of the dozens of sheets, I selected about one dozen to own. The only value of most of old sheet music is sentimental to the owner. I’ve pondered many times what to do with my sheet music. Frame it? But how much wall space would I, a non-musician, want to devote to a musical theme which would not blend with other wall hangings. I’m working on an idea based not on the music, but on the art work and that could contribute to other art pieces.”

She finishes, “June Lloyd and Jim McClure’s love of history and sharing it with others has rubbed onto me and I think how could I share all this wonderful art work and the memories it elicits.”

Well, she found the right place – here on the blog! And while I am interested in the artwork, I am also interested in the local “music lesson” memories as well. I took piano lessons and, later, saxophone lessons from several York County teachers over the years, and I’ve got a ton of interesting memories; I’m curious to hear yours if you also were a student in the area!

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