I was sorting some papers, letters, and such today (on my day off) and came across a letter from my piano teacher. It was her birthday a couple of months ago. She turned 96. You didn’t know I had a piano teacher? Well, I am sure I’ve mentioned her before on this blog, but some of you might not recall or are new here and don’t know that I’ve played the piano since I was 12. I begged and pleaded with my parents until they finally bought me a used (and kind of ugly, but working!) piano.
We found my piano teacher through a friend in school. She was already in her late 70’s at that time, but I adored her. The ease with which her fingers were striking the keys, I was beyond admiration and jealously for her musical ability.
I went to my piano lessons all through highschool and college (long after my sister and other piano-playing friends had given up on the lessons and had abandoned their pianos). I think, not only did I extraordinarily enjoy playing the piano, but I also very much enjoyed keeping my piano teacher company. She was funny and interesting and always had some stories to tell. She kept saying that her students keep her young, and I truly believe that.
Even after I moved to the US, almost 8 years ago, which was when I finally had to quit my lessons, I kept in touch with her through letters and the occasional visit when I happened to be in Germany. Sometimes long periods of time, months!, past without any contact and I always feared that my Mom would call me one day and tell me that she read in the obituaries that my piano teacher had passed away. After all, she’s kind of getting there age-wise. But so far, she’s still doing pretty well for her age, still living in her own apartment (though with family close by) and playing the piano every single day! This is at least what I heard last.
I think I’ve seen her last about three years ago and she was doing fantastic at the time. Last year, I bumped into her granddaughter on a visit in Germany and she reassured me that her grandma was still doing fairly well. I received a letter from her earlier this year, which I found today. She had included some photos from ‘back in the days’ and she wrote about how precious the time with her piano students was and that she missed those times. It was really touching.
I am still contemplating if I should share one of the photos with you or not (because it’s highly awkward and embarrassing – but then, awkward and embarrassing is fun, right?! ;) Don’t judge.)
So, here we go:
We often played pieces that were intended to be played four-handed (as we were doing in the picture above, I believe). It was so much fun!
I miss the good ol’ times. And I really have to get in touch with her next time I am visiting my family in Germany. I hope she’s still doing well.