As a child I thought nothing of the fact that my father loved music. He could not read a note but was very musical indeed. He played by ear. My favorite and earliest memories are of him playing tunes on his button box accordion, mouth harp and harmonica. He would also sing and yodel, especially while we were in the car on drives in the country. As I grew older he would rarely sing and yodel because he was a little shy about it. I have no idea why because he had a beautiful voice. If we begged enough he would do it a little and I was always sad that he felt shy about this.
This is the button box that I remember so well. It came from the ranch that he grew up on. I don't know the age or much more than that but when I look at this I only see in my mind his crinkly eyes and smiling face as he played. I now have it in my home and it is one of my most treasured posessions.
My youngest sister has this piano accordion. This is not the actual accordion since I do not have a photo of it but one that is similar. I remember the story behind this accordion. When I was a teenager one Christmas my father spied this in a second hand store window and fell in love with it. He told my mother about it and showed it to her but with Christmas and a large family he felt he really could not justify purchasing it for himself. Later my mother secretly purchased it and hid it away. The next weekend as they were finishing up some Christmas shopping they walked by and he noticed it was gone. He was very disappointed and told my mother that he should have purchased it. I think this is the only time I ever remember him wanting something for himself so much. He always put his family first from clothes and food to gifts. You should have seen his face on Christmas morning when my mother gave this to him. It still makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
This is the piano that each of us learned to play on. It is a beautiful old player piano from the late 1800's with the original German strings. It has a rich beautiful tone and I ended up with it by chance. When our mother was moving into her new home she did not want to take the piano. There were several of us that were interested in it so she put our names in a hat and drew my name. The condition was that the piano will always stay in the family. If I no longer wish to keep it I will need to give it to someone else who would like it. It is a little rough around the edges and could use a refinish on the surface. The old bellows need to be replaced and all the tubing as well so it can once again play the piano rolls. Perhaps one day it will become the priority. I love to play and am now watching my oldest granddaughter learn to play.
This is what the mouth harp looks like. My son plays this as does one of my brothers. I can play it but I am forever knocking my teeth on it.
My father had a harmonica similar to this one that my brother David has along with the mouth harp. I have so many fond memories of my dad playing this and now my son has learned to play as well. My oldest granddaughter, Emma, has a harmonica and her little sister, Lucy, is always stealing it which makes Emma quite upset. Lucy's birthday is in a few days so I think I know what to get her.