The Story of Our Childhood
by the Children of
Donald Graham Dick and Bertha May Neisinger Dick"

      My childhood was filled with music. Mommy liked to sing to us as babies and daddy whistled as he worked. All my life I remember mommy singing and daddy whistling or sometimes playing his harmonica. On a few occasions I remember mommy sitting down and playing a hymn or two. And daddy even had a couple songs he would play on the piano but only if we begged him to.

      We went to church and heard and sang or played music there as far back as I can remember! My older sisters sang and made beautiful harmony together at home and at church. Many evenings when I went to bed, I was lulled to sleep by Judie or Shirley playing "Rustles of Spring". Oh, how I loved that song!

      Another one of my favorites was and still is Beethoven's "Sonata Pathetique". I also remember Sharon playing "Fur Elise". Beethoven is still one of my favorite composers! I also really enjoyed hearing Jeanie play. I think they all played "Spinning Song"!

      Others that come to my mind are:
"The Merry Farmer",
"The Wild Horseman",
Beethoven's "Six Variations" (from the Opera La Molinara)
"Rustic Dance".

      I think they each played at least some from the hymnal, but I especially loved listening to Judie and Shirley play arrangements of their own for various hymns. I was truly inspired by their creativity and expressions of feeling.

      It seemed to me that I would never be big or good enough to play like my big sisters. But all the while, as I was wishing and waiting, I was listening and loving every beautiful thing I heard. When I was finally big enough to have piano lessons I was so excited!

      I think I was half way through 2nd grade at the time. Mrs. Beebe's grand piano seemed so overwhelming to me at first! It seemed particularly big when I had to play at recitals! I would get so nervous at her recitals because there were always so many students that played such advanced music and also because I didn't know most of the people in the room. Sometimes, I worked in my piano teacher's yard to help Daddy pay her for our lessons, but Daddy did most of the hard work, of course. I particularly remember pushing the push-lawn mower in her front ditch. I'm sure I preferred doing that to pulling weeds with my fingers.

      Regretfully, when I was in 8th grade I had to stop taking lessons because our teacher couldn't afford to keep the yard work arrangement for teaching us. I had mixed emotions about this change. Of course, I liked not having to practice the lesson assignment each week, but actually I think I played the piano more after I quit than I did before. It was about this time that I was becoming noticed for my musical ability at school and church. I sure enjoyed using whatever talent I had and my love for music in the church, especially.

      Everyone in my family contributed in one way or another to my musical talent and progress. I have so much to be thankful for. And I truly praise God and my parents for the blessing of music in my life. My childhood dream of playing the piano has really come true!


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