SEREN???/ MY MOTHER BELIEVED THAT HER entire Ufe would have some- how been different had she been given piano lessons as a girl. She said this often, with a little sigh that made me feel I had better run through my scales one more time. She had grown up, as she often reminded me, "a sculptor's daughter," which I later learned to translate into "poor." I did not take the piano in our famUy room for granted. My parents had found it at a garage sale, a big brown upright with the face of Ray Charles painted on the frontpiece. I always approached it reverently, with the impression that my piano lessons were going to somehow transform me. In outright rnimicry of my neighbor Ruthie, I had demanded that my piano instructor be Cole Curtin. He would appear at our doorstep chewing his thumbnaU, invariably late, sheet music stuffed into a paper bag. Entering our house, he strained his neck to glimpse my mother chopping vegetables in the kitchen. When demonstrating a technique or correcting an error, he could play a ten-minute cadenza and then look surprised to find me sitting there beside him. After I had struggled
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 2000
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