Have I told you guys about my quest? I’ve told my mother, I know that, and now she’s reading that this is today’s topic and slamming her laptop shut in disgust. “Get some original material, you damp ham.”
In 1992, when I was 26 for half of it and 27 for the other half, and that’s the problem with a July birthday. Oh, sure, I was always on summer vacation and the weather was always good on my day, but I can’t say, “In 1978, I was 13.” I have to say, “Well, I was 12 for seven and a half months of it and 13 for four and a half months.” I guess everyone has this problem, with the exception of my pal The Poet, who would say, “In blah blah year I was 30, except for the very last day of it, when I was 31.”
She was born on New Year’s Eve, see. Which has to kind of suck since everyone is celebrating … not you.
Still. Your birthday is associated with champagne and streamers if your bday is 12/31. Which is funny since she’s so mild-mannered. She’s not a streamers, shout at midnight kinda gal.
And my birthday is in the dead of summer, associated with lying about with lemonade and watching a dragonfly, which is so not my personality. Well. The lying about part is.
How is it that I get off on these tangents? Oh, right. ADD. Minus the H. Sans H.
So I have a quest. It all began in 1992, when I was 26 and then I was 27. Did you know that part? Perhaps I need to cover that more thoroughly. I was working in my hometown at my first real job in which I had to wear dresses and jackets and so on. And somehow at work I read about how our local symphony was providing grants or scholarships, I forget which, to teach adults piano. And I mean, “adult.” I fit the bill, sort of.
I also remember that my coworkers wanted to start an on-site Weight Watchers meeting and I wanted to join just because everyone else was doing it, but at 127 pounds I either didn’t qualify at all or I just barely did. In either event, I wish to go back in time and punch myself right in the ass.
If I even had one to punch, that is.
So, I applied. For the grant or the scholarship, whatever it was, and I got in. I got to take free piano lessons. And lest you think I was somehow gaming the system, I worked full time, usually more than 40 hours a week because we had events all the time that I had to go to, and I made (are you ready?)
$17,000 a year.
When I think of how that place mistreated me, and never appreciated anything I did. I was managed by two damp hams, I can tell you that. They did not encourage my strengths. We’re doing StrengthsFinder at my current job, where they treat me better.
My point is this. I took the free piano lessons for I think six months or so. I went every week to this woman’s home, and she could always tell if I’d actually practiced or not. And when I did well, she’d say, “VERY GOOD, June!!”
I’m very rewards-based. All I need is a “very good” or a “You’ve advanced to the next level” and I am all set for months. You’d think that wouldn’t be so, what with my people-displeasing personality, but there it is.
I liked her, that teacher. And I went pretty faithfully, practicing on my mother’s keyboard. One song I had to learn went: All day, all night, Marianne. Something something something sifting sand.
…Oh, it’s a real song! As opposed to Bone Sweet Bone, which I learned when I took piano when I was 10. Well. For seven and a half months I was 9. Then I was 10.
The point of me telling you about all day, all night, Marianne was that right after this, I moved to Seattle and met my friend Marianne 47 seconds later. I always thought it was prescient that I learned that song.
But Seattle is why I’m on a quest. Because at the end of 1992, I decided to move to Seattle, sort of on a whim because those bosses at my first real job pissed me off. And at the end, there, as I was wrapping things up and packing and all, I didn’t go to my very last piano lesson. I just didn’t show up. I remember being in my room and making the decision that I just wasn’t gonna go.
And I’ve felt bad about it ever since.
I mean, that teacher was so nice, and I just feel like she probably bought me a goodbye card or something. She was that type. And I just fekking didn’t show. Even if she hadn’t gotten me a card, I still should’ve thanked her for teaching me all day, all night, Marianne.
But of course, that was ages ago and I can’t recall her name. And for years it was just a thing I figured I’d have to feel bad about.
But for some reason, the other day I put on Facebook part of my saga. I asked people from my hometown if they could guess who my teacher would’ve been. And do you know within minutes people had some guesses? I had two names. One person I found on Facebook and I wrote her.
“Yes. I took piano lessons in 1992…” I began.
The teacher wrote me back saying she wasn’t my teacher, and that I’d probably feel better if I just let this go. Well, maybe. But if I can FIND the person and apologize, wouldn’t that be even better?
The other person I spoke to on the phone. She was just a delight, and totally understood. “Oh, those things eat at you,” she said. She wasn’t my teacher, either, but she suggested I call the symphony and see if they can figure out who the teacher would have been. So that’s my next step. Probably I’ll find her and she’ll be all, “WHO are you?” I mean, I know that’s probably the case. But I feel bad anyway and want to apologize.
So that’s my quest. That’s my Nancy Drew moment for the week. Now, where the hell is Hannah Gruen with my luncheon?