Saturday, February 6, 2010
In the olden days, before tapes, cds, mp3, itunes, and even before the easy record was readily available, there was sheet music, and it was played by those proficient on the piano. Like, in every family there was the accomplished pianist and during Holiday time, there was the gathering by piano-side to engage in some of the newest music of the time and some old standards. It seems this way in films and books, that every family contained a child, parent, multi-talented Auntie or Uncle and the Jack-of-all-trades Grandma. Even, I can see now, an autistic young son, who never took a lesson in his life, but can somehow read sheet music and play the balls off the living room piano. I had the good fortune of having a giant box of some of these old sheet music leaflet-books dropped into my eager arms by my Grandma to my Mom to me. Grandma received them from an elderly woman she cared for in her old age. Her name was Selma E Jebsen and she lived her long life on Oak Street in the town of St. James, NY. This was the woman who had the blazing white hair that swept back from her forehead which would wrinkle along with her nose frequently when she spoke with you and looked upon you for the first time, which was every time, as she had Ulzheimers Disease. We visited her not very often, but enough to have the smell memory of her home logged into my brain. Not pleasant, but forgiveable because she was an amazing, sweet lady who cracked us up with her very endearing mannerisms, sayings and sweet, searching, innocent blue eyes. I will come back from this now and say that it is her name printed onto ancient, crusted yellow mailing stickers on the fronts or backs of the rediculous, amazing and beautuful papers. They are falling apart now and I want to discover how to preserve them the right way, also to find out the value. There is another huge box of them mouldering away in a basement, and if they are not rescued, at all may turn to a wet colorful molded paper block that cannot be touched by the hand of any man.