My first conscious memory of music in our family was when someone sat down with me at the piano and taught me how to play Jesus Loves Me in chords with both hands. I was only about 5 or 6 then, right about the time my little sister, Judie, was born. But even though I don't remember it, I'm sure I heard our Mother singing many times before that. I do remember times when we'd be driving home late at night from somewhere, like maybe a holiday trip to one of our grandparents' house. Most of us kids would be tired and relaxed in the back while the youngest would be sitting between Mother and Daddy in the front seat or on Mother's lap. (Seatbelts were not heard of in those days.) As we drove along Mother would begin singing songs like "My Wild Irish Rose" or "An Irish Lullaby." It wasn't long before we would all fall asleep to the rocking motion of the car and our mother's lullaby.
Later as we grew older, every one of us 5 girls and Jimmy took piano lessons. Part of the time Daddy did yardwork for our piano teacher in order to pay for the lessons. Daddy also loved music. He loved to hear us play and often would ask us to sit down and play something on the piano for him. I loved to hear him make music too. He could whistle beautifully, and play the harmonica too. One special memory is of waking up to Daddy's harmonica playing on a snowy morning. It seemed he always played while they waited for news on the radio of whether we had to go to school or not. To this day whenever I hear someone playing the harmonica or whistling nicely, I think of Daddy.
It seemed that there was always music in our house, but it was seldom coming from the radio or TV. Usually it was someone playing the piano, or singing. I think it was when I was 16 that Sharon and Judie and I began singing in church. Everyone called us the Dick Sisters. Maybe that's why we enjoyed the Lawrence Welk Show and hearing the Lennon Sisters sing each Saturday night.
One of my favorite times for singing was when we were all riding together in the car. Inevitably someone would start a song, and everyone else would join in. Soon we'd all be singing 3 part harmony. How I enjoyed that singing. In fact, because of that musical beginning, music has been and always will be a very important and enjoyable part of my life.
Shirley Page 2