21 June 2011

Getting Grandma to Play the Piano.

My grandmother Rheta is amazing.  She is kind and thoughtful, polite and proper, beautiful and sunny, and musically talented beyond measure.  She has spent her life playing in symphonies and orchestras and teaching violin and piano to eager students but as of late has stopped playing.  "...Too old... too tired... can't find my glasses..."  But recently, she started playing the piano for some of her friends again.  What a treat to be visiting California and convince her to play a little for us.  (Amelia even got a quick lesson while seated next to the master on the bench.)  And, of course, she played beautifully and without a hiccup!
A lot of the trip I had the opportunity to sit at my grandmother's knee with my laptop and record her memories.  She is a hoot!  I'm organizing my notes and will publish them for the family soon.  Here is one of my favorite stories and one that highlights my grandma's sense of humor (in her words):
The Sorensens and we were traveling in Europe - I don't remember what country.  We stayed in a place with lots of rooms.  There were a lot of tourists there.  We had to share a bathroom with another room; it was between the two rooms.  You had to remember to lock the door on the other side.  There was this one day, I went into the bathroom and there, just in front of me, was a naked man.  He'd forgotten to lock the door.  Both of us were in total shock.  We both turned and left.  I saw his back end, too.  The next morning at breakfast, France said, "Who's the guy from last night?"  I said, "How do you expect me to recognize him with his clothes on?"
I couldn't close this post about our trip to California without a mention of Amelia's "nest building".  For whatever reason, Amelia spent every afternoon of our visit collecting the fallen branches of the willow trees in the courtyard and placing them tenderly in a pile to make a nest.  The gardeners even left it alone because they recognized just how dedicated she was to the cause.  What an imagination!