Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Advent Calendar-Christmas Music

My grandmother could play the piano, and she played with spirit! My mother played the piano even better than that! At Christmastime, my mother drug out all her Christmas sheet music (suffice it to say there was a LOT). Silver Bells, Jingle Bells, Let It Snow, Frosty the Snowman and more. While growing up, I also played, but it wasn't something I enjoyed as much as my mother and grandmother did. But I love the memory I have of them playing this piano.

The piano pictured here was made in 1914 and has been in my family since about 1935. My grandmother, Esther Durfee Fitzwater, could play the piano with passion! The Fitzwater family farm house burned down in the early 1930's and my grandmother lost her piano and of course all the family photos in that fire. They rebuilt, but my grandmother needed another piano, so she bought this 'used' one from one of the neighbors who were having as especially hard time during the depression. She then gave piano lessons to help pay for the piano! Family story has it that my grandfather, David Holten Fitzwater, was none to happy about this purchase! My mother grew up playing this piano. (Her first goal in life was to be a concert pianist, but that didn't work out, so she became a nurse instead.) When my grandfather, David Holten Fitzwater, died, the family lost the farm and my grandmother and mother moved into town to live with my aunt, Francis Agnes Durfee Gassaway. Francis and Esther were sisters, but not friends. These would be hard years on my grandmother, and music was a way to keep herself happy. When my mother, Celia Jane Fitzwater, was settled in her own adult life, she got this piano, and I grew up with it in my childhood home.

After my mother died in 1976, my father banished the piano from the house as he couldn't look at it. It went to a cousins home and sadly saw some abuse after it left our care. It took 25 years and help from an uncle to get the piano back. Because of my mother's brother, David Durfee Fitzwater, I got my piano back! I paid a small fortune to get it here, and an almost equal sum to get the playing mechanism repaired. It is loved and wanted here! The top is filled with family photos of all sizes and eras, and the music is beautiful. My daughter is to receive this piano when I'm done here. She is a music teacher and she too is passionate about the music. I love this piano for the memories it holds in my heart, most especially at Christmastime.

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